If Bruce Springsteen and The Clash had a love child, The Gaslight Anthem would be its evil twin. Personally, I’m a fan of all three. But Gaslight, in particular, has held a solid place in my dark little heart since I discovered their Sink or Swim album four years ago.
There’s an awesome venue in Nashville called Marathon Music Works. It’s an old factory that gives off a laid-back, yet still energetic vibe, and one of the few venues in Nashville that isn’t completely miserable to find parking at, which makes it a great venue for a rock show. So when I heard that such a killer band like The Gaslight Anthem was performing there, I was psyched.. for them coming to this particular venue, and because Handwritten was one of my favorite albums of 2012. And because if there’s any town that can hang late on a Wednesday night for a good rock show, it’s Nashville.
I came in near the beginning of the show and the venue was already 2/3 full. With a solid opening lineup including Cory Branan(another favorite) and Matrimony, the crowd quickly became louder and more restless as Gaslight’s set time approached. With a crowd ranging in age from barely getting through the door to senior citizen status, we knew we were in for an interesting show. Fans in their sixties started rocking out with the kids still getting their lives together in the front row, and in that moment I realized how much particularly good music brings people together. Screaming and clapping welcomed the band onto the stage, with lead singer Brian Fallon kicking off the show by declaring his love for Music City and telling stories of girls who lost their dreadlocks. The remaining members of the band walked out and quickly injected energy into their audience by the first chorus of the first song. Lead guitarist Alex Rosamilia effortlessly kicked off the set with clean solos and crunching, grungy choruses, while people instantly began clapping to the beat of Benny Horowitz’s kick.. the way it should be. Alex Levine powerfully shaking and punk-driven bass lines charged the right side of the crowd and had that same group of teens pushing the barriers alongside the retirees. Gaslight continued to play every single song off of Handwritten, as well as old fan favorites from The ’59 Sound and American Slang, giving a more than fair show to everyone who came out.
The band decided to close out the show with an acoustic version of “The Backseat,” the final iconic track on their 2008 album The ’59 Sound. After being called back out for more, they continued the show by playing “American Slang” – one of four more songs and other crowd favorites(because every Gaslight song is a favorite) including “Keepsake,” “Here Comes My Man,” and “High Lonesome,” in which Nashville (of course) sang along to every word.
Handwritten was a project The Gaslight Anthem worked on while freshly signed to Mercury Records, a division of Universal. The album was written to be similar in taste to The ’59 Sound, another one of my favorite records, so this was an album I identified with and highly anticipated prior to the release. Influenced by bands from The Replacements to Pearl Jam to The Misfits, The Gaslight Anthem could be described as taste of American rock soaked in Jersey’s grungy punk scene – comfortably pushing the expressive walls of three chords and the truth.
These guys were incredible, completely killed it, and put on a MUST-SEE show. Entertaining, hilarious between songs, engaged and connected with their fans, and on the edge of breaking through a fresh phase of even more success as a band. Their next tour dates cover Europe, then have them returning to play Coachella and a long list of stops out west, which you can view here.