Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Live Review - The Gaslight Anthem @ Webster Hall

As hard working music bloggers in the city that never sleeps, your choices are endless - even on a Tuesday night. I never get personal in doing live reviews or reviews of any kind, but when my choices on a random Tuesday were to see The Killers in a private setting or the record release of The Gaslight Anthem, my pick was clear. Sorry Brandon Flowers, Brian Fallon is in town.

The blue collar New Jersey band were back in New York celebrating the release of their latest record, Handwritten, an album that at this point in time is the strongest contender of "Album of the Year," and the bands finest work since their 2008 sophomore breakthrough, The '59 Sound. Since the release of '59 Sound, Gaslight have developed a devoted following that even put them on stage at Radio City in 2010 and has them packing out every venue they play in. Fans, critics, curious ears keep coming out because the bands hard charging, passionate rock and roll and raucous live shows make them the hottest ticket in any town they play in.

As the house lights dimmed just passed 9p.m., and a haunting blue light caressed the stage, the members of The Gaslight Anthem and touring guitarist Ian Perkins came on stage not like it was time to celebrate their new record, but to go to the office, they were there to do work, put on a show and give the paying customers what they wanted - everything they have. Opening with the somber, "Mae," off the new record it set an interesting mood across the sea of humanity staring in and holding onto every word Brian Fallon sang. It was then into the "The '59 Sound,""45," and "Old White Lincoln," where the band really began giving their one-two punch to the audience. While the band stormed through a set of fan favorites, new tracks, deep cuts and covers that included a blues version of Dave Matthews Band's, "Crash Into Me," and Fake Problems' "Songs for Teenagers," they did it all with the humility of a band that has half their success. "The way we look at it, we're four kids from New Jersey. We're in a band, we quit our jobs and did not go back, and you guys liked it. It means a lot," said Fallon halfway through their set. Fallon, who then would explain his love for Webster Hall and how in 2009, it was a big deal for the band to sell out the venue, and the fact they were back celebrating their new album release meant more to him and his band than any record sold that day. It is this charm, charisma, and passion that fans from all around the world go mad for them, they are regular Joe's that got lucky and sustained their luck with talent and heart. Bottom line, these are real guys making real music and in a day and age where colored wigs, meat dresses, nipple slips, candy bras and manufactured groups from reality programs make up most of pop culture, The Gaslight Anthem are a breath of fresh air.

In the band's two-hour long set that saw them have the whole venue sing "Happy Birthday" to a lucky fan named Laura and had opener and Loved Ones singer, Dave Hause come out and sing "American Slang," and pits breaking out for "Great Expectations,""The Patient Ferris Wheel," "Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts," and the epic closer of the night, "The Backseat," it was a party that could have happened on a weekend, but it was just a random Tuesday in New York.

The Gaslight Anthem 7/24/12 Webster Hall Setlist:
The '59 Sound 
Old White Lincoln 
Casanova, Baby! 
I'da Called You Woody, Joe 
Angry Johnny and the Radio 
Here Comes My Man 
Film Noir 
Mulholland Drive 
The Diamond Church Street Choir 
The Navesink Banks 
Here's Looking at You, Kid 
Too Much Blood 

Songs for Teenagers 
Great Expectations 
SeƱor and the Queen 
The Patient Ferris Wheel 
Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis? 
Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts 
American Slang 
The Backseat