Saturday, October 2, 2010

Live Review - Gaslight Anthem at Radio City

From basements of homes to Radio City, New Jersey's Gaslight Anthem played their biggest gig in the city and proudly took one of New York's most legendary venues by storm. Formed in 2005, these Jersey punks who have been influenced by Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Clash, Social Distortion and The Bouncing Souls to name a few, started out like most Jersey acts in the basement of friends houses playing parties, in just five years time they have released a handful of EP’s and three acclaimed records, 2006's Sink or Swim, 2008's The '59 Sound and this years American Slang. For a band such as this, they have developed a legion of devoted fans, including The Boss - Springsteen himself. Gaslight Anthem, with their rockabilly punk style, playing Radio City is not only a paramount moment in their career, it is a paramount moment for their fans that got them there.

Walking on stage to the Judy Garland staple "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the four men from Gaslight nervously grabbed their instruments took their places and exploded right way. Opening with the bombastic High Lonesome" and kicking right into "Boxer," these Jersey punks came to party on New York's turf. Letting their nerves shake out, the band, which at points were drowned in their own sound due to the venues acoustics (let’s face it, Radio City is not made for a rock and roll gig) still pushed through and their fans screamed back every word. Singer Brian Fallon maybe the most humble rock and roll front man to ever live, despite having as much soul as James Brown, his bravado is not as big. Fallon, who had a smile from ear to ear all night, would just look out into the crowd at the end of each song and needed to be pinched to realize this is happening to him and his band. “It does not matter what we do, it does not matter what we do hear tonight and after, all that matters is that you guys came out, bought tickets, bought records, bought shirts and put us here” Fallon said half way through the band’s 90 minute set. His comment made the crowd feel even prouder to see their hero’s on a stage like this. Fallon later even thanked his parents for buying him his first guitar, I have been to countless concerts and never heard a parent ever thanked, it just shows the type of guy that he is – humble. After playing their hearts out in a set that featured a great mix of songs from all three records, the highlight of the gig would come during the band’s anthems; “Great Expectations,” “The ’59 Sound,” “American Slang” and the show closer “Backstreets.” While these anthems and other tracks from the band’s high octane catalogue are always show stoppers, it was hard for fans to really get into the songs due to the fact that Radio City is a seated venue, however, it was not going to stop anyone from having a good time. It is a far cry from the clubs and $15 tickets the fans are used to having but for everyone involved, it is a moment that will echo for a while. Though these punks may have taken a while to witness this dream, the only thing next for them is the big house down the block at Madison Square Garden and in a few years time, I would not be surprised to see it happen.