Sunday, August 1, 2010

We Came to Dance With the Girls With the Stars in Their Eyes

The Gaslight Anthem at Lupos, Providence, RI – July 31, 2010

First up was Tim Barry, a self described old dude with an acoustic. He was amazing. His songs were full of stories and sung with heart and intent. He got out and walked through the crowd while playing and talked with us through out his songs. It was this great, intimate, honest set. The last song he sang was about a man killing his sister’s abusive husband, and I almost cried. I’m not a crier and there were tears in my eyes from how pure the emotion pouring off of that guitar was.

Next up, Chamberlain. They were good rock, but they were not special good rock. They were musically talented and their singer has a great voice, but there was something a little off about it that kept me from connecting.

Finally, after some technical difficulties, The Gaslight Anthem came out to Jay-Z’s “New York.” They went against the trend of playing the current single last, and instead played “American Slang” first.

The Gaslight Anthem consistently puts on the best live show I have ever seen. There is so much emotion and soul and story pouring out of their music. I’m having trouble putting into words the way their music makes me feel. It’s honest and raw and hard working, and it just fills you with someone else’s sentiment while reminding you of your own.

I never love a Gaslight song the first time I hear it, but they work their way into my conscience and my heart and settle there, waiting for the right moment to erupt. That moment is often at their shows. “The Patient Ferris Wheel” never meant anything to me until I saw it live. The first time I heard “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts” was with two drunk girls singing off key in my ear. “The 59 Sound” sends this cascade of energy through a crowd.

They played a lot off of their new album, as well as a cover of “The War" by Lucero with Brian Fallon trading vocals with Tim Barry. Both men sing with full hearts. They played almost all of their big songs, except for "The Navesink Banks" which left me just slightly disappointed, but the rest of my favorites made up for it.

They were pressed for time and so there was little talking to the crowd. The technical difficulties combined with a curfew lead to Brian Fallon telling us he was a little bummed out. They played the encore right after the set, no walk offs, to save us time and play us as many songs as they could. The Lupo's sign now has a Roxy sign above it, and I wonder if the old Roxy Boston has partnered with them? I remember seeing a show at the Roxy and having the same press for time as they had some club night afterwards. I hope this doesn’t destroy one of my favorite venues.

There’s so much more to my Gaslight Anthem story, my discovery of the band and how they’ve grabbed not just my heart but also my soul, but like the show I’m pressed for time and running late. And so that story will have to be continued with my review of Monday night’s show. I’m seeing two nights of the same tour, that’s how good they are live. I’ll leave you with why I first bought tickets to a Gaslight show.

Back before music television officially died, I was a religious watcher of Steven’s Untitled Rock show. I’d tivo it when I went off to college and come back and binge on hours of alternative videos. There are very few people whose musical opinions I trust: Steven Smith is one of them.

So when he told the audience that they had to go and see a Gaslight Anthem show, that they would be severely remiss if they did not, and that it was one of the best live shows of the moment, I took it to heart.

It might just be the best musical advice anyone has ever given me.

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