Full disclosure: I went along to this gig not knowing any of The Gaslight Anthem’s back catalogue. Despite their 5 previous albums and an entirely sold out Edinburgh Corn Exchange, I had never listened to them and was attending musically ‘blind’. Turns out, this wasn’t even an issue – the New Jersey rockers put on a dynamic show that even a complete newbie could enjoy.
Before they hit the stage, Gaslight had 2 support sets to get the crowd warmed up and ready to rock. First up was Bayside, a punk rock four piece from Queens. The band have a really solid live set up, and the vocals from lead singer Anthony Raneri were outstanding. As a first time listener, however, I found their songs didn’t stick with me long after listening. The second support came in the form of Rhode Island based band Deer Tick, who’s funky toe tapping blues vibe got more engagement from the audience. Their only slight let down was the drawn out, ten minute instrumental closer, which for me left a bit of a sour note on an otherwise great set.
Then it was time for The Gaslight Anthem to hit the stage – and they oddly chose ‘Have Mercy’ as their opening track, a mellow and low key ballad which didn’t really fuse with the palpable excitement of the audience. They soon fixed it, and from the 2nd track onwards the energy was non – stop. The boys barely stopped for water breaks as they barrelled through their set relentlessly. Their vitality was reflected in the audience, most of whom knew every word to songs both old and new. Despite not recognising a single song, I felt swept up in the energy, and the set totally flew by.
The closing song – which I discovered later is called ‘The Backseat’ – was one of my favourites, with great sing-a-long potential. I left the gig on a high, motivated to seek out more material from The Gaslight Anthem; definitely the sign of a great live act!
For more info and future live dates, check out The Gaslight Anthem’s website.
See Calum Woodger’s previous #TBT to The Gaslight Anthem’s album The 59 Sound here.
Cover photo taken by Stacey Auld @ Music Box Unwinds.