Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Gaslight Anthem at Brixton Academy

My story from Monday night begins in the same way that so many of my stories seem to – I’m in a packed out Brixton Academy, beer in hand, waiting with anticipation for a band to come on stage. This time it’s The Gaslight Anthem, a band who has graced my iPod for a few years now and who I’ve been lucky enough to see on two previous occasions. (The most recent of which was at a rainy Download in 2011, and put it this way, if a band can make you forget that you’re knee-deep in mud you know you’re onto a winner.)

Hailing from New Jersey, and headed by frontman Brian Fallon, The Gaslight Anthem released their debut album Sink or Swim in 2007. They followed it up in 2008 with The 59 Sound, and the same year made British music history as the first band ever to appear on cover of Kerrang without the magazine having previously written about them. American Slang, released in 2010, took a different approach to song writing according to Fallon, who citied influences such as Rolling Stones and Derek and the Dominoes. (This man has taste.)

The thing that made Monday night so exciting for me was the extent to which I’ve been enjoying their latest album, Handwritten, which was released in July. When a band have four or more records under their belt, you tend to be crossing your fingers and hoping for the old stuff – the songs that made you fall in love with them in the first place. The Gaslight Anthem however, consistently impress me with every new album, and there are songs from each one that I love in equal measures. So although I was hoping to hear earlier songs like 1930 and The Backseat (in fact pretty much anything off The 59 Sound!), I’ve fallen hard for some of the songs on Handwritten and was eager to hear something new.

I got my wish and highlights from the new record included Mulholland Drive, Too Much Blood and Keepsake. Their performance was flawless as ever. There’s no messing around with these guys, they keep the chat to a minimum and just play a damn good set. Their laid-back attitudes and the pure enjoyment of what they do always seems to bring out the best in a crowd, it’s infectious and Brixton was literally a sea of smiles.

I think that what I, and so many others, love most about The Gaslight Anthem is their ability to tell a story. They really paint a picture with their songs and have a beautiful nostalgic quality, and that is what sets them apart from the teenage angst favoured by so many bands. (Although don’t get me wrong, I can still handle a bit of teenage angst too!)

They seamlessly blend folk style and storytelling with a New Jersey punk attitude. Even when they first emerged on the scene, you had a strange feeling that you had been listening to them your whole life. Not because they are in any way boring or predictable, but because they are genuine and exude a certain confidence in what they do that just feels right.

If you have seen them before you will understand why I was so happy on Monday, and how even the nightmare journey home that didn’t see me stumble into my bed until 3am couldn’t ruin my night. I have been told they have been getting some Radio 1 airplay lately, and quite honestly they deserve every bit of success they get (although please god, spare them from the ridiculous Kings of Leon style saturation of the airwaves...).

But if The Gaslight Anthem have managed to escape your radar up until this point, my advice is very simple: go and find Great Expectations and turn it up. Loud. You won’t regret it.


No comments

Post a Comment

© Rock & Runway

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig