The Gaslight Anthem warmed up a cold and rainy Brixton last night, drawing rapturous applause from a fanbase that seems to keep growing.
Recent song Mae warmed the crowd up, before really stoking the fires with rocking favourites Old White Lincoln and The ’59 Sound. That was followed by a set packed with singles and well worn album tracks, covering the best of the band over the last few years.
The band’s sound has evolved over the last six years, with their punk-rock edges knocked off to be replaced by a more polished sound. However, the instant recognition that comes with being Bruce Springsteen’s protégés has not jaded them, and last night they showed they were still the same guys; in love with girls, guitars, and their own slightly jaded take on the American dream.
Joined on stage by new addition Ian Perkins (long serving guitar tech and one half of the Horrible Crowes), Brian Fallon and Co stomped their way through a solid rock hour, but at times it did appear they were dialling it in just a little. They seemed much more alive on the rockier numbers, the opening notes to Boomboxes and Dictionaries guaranteed to set the pulse racing. Queen of Lower Chelsea demonstrated that they could also get a bit of a groove going, and the extended, bluesy improvised intro to Angry Johnny and the Radio showed a gang still very much in love with their work.
Reappearing to a standing ovation for the encore, frontman Fallon started out with Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts, a song he ‘hasn’t played live for along time’ and Perkins never has. The aura of awe that inspired subdued (most of) the crowd, before they ramped it right back up for Wherefore Art Thou Elvis.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues drew it back down into the blues before American Slang and the anthemic Great Expectations before drawing to a final close with the National Anthem, the Dylanesque closer from new album Handwritten.
The show promises good things for the upcoming European tour, especially considering Fallon woke up ‘in a puddle of blood’ that very morning and still turned in a passionate performance. Gaslight regulars may have missed live hit Baba O’Riley, but for now these five Jersey boys seem to be going from strength to strength.