Gaslight Anthem

Gaslight Anthem: live in New Brunswicklive in New Brunswick (2008)
Side One Dummy Records

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: TorgoTorgo
(others by this writer | submit your own)

After bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Garden State Parkway, getting lost on the Rutgers campus and stepping into a puddle that was a foot deep, I made it to the show with literally 30 seconds to spare. This wasn't a typical Gaslight Anthem show -- it was semi-under wraps and I'm sure many Rutgers st.

After bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Garden State Parkway, getting lost on the Rutgers campus and stepping into a puddle that was a foot deep, I made it to the show with literally 30 seconds to spare. This wasn't a typical Gaslight Anthem show -- it was semi-under wraps and I'm sure many Rutgers students were there just because some type of rock show was going on. The crowd was sterile during their opening number, "Great Expectations," but came alive during the next song, "Wooderson."

Playing three-fourths of their three major releases, TGA, for lack of a better term, killed. No mistakes were recorded by my ears, and the cafeteria acoustics of this non-musical venue room actually ended up working to their advantage, making the guitars seem more atmospheric. The front-and-center crowd, including yours truly, were singing along enthusiastically to every song, but the more punk songs off Sink or Swim and Señor and the Queen got the crowd moving the most. One comic event was the crowd opening up and moshing for the anticipated end of "Angry Johnny and the Radio," only to be awkwardly thwarted by a minute-long buildup to the gang vocal chorus. Another funny, charming thing to happen was a police radio going off during the pause of "Say I Won't (Recognize)" making the band crack up before they could continue.

The Gaslight Anthem are best appreciated live, though it helps to know their songs. While many people wouldn't consider them "just" a punk band, they have a few things going for them that most live punk bands don't: adding riffs and solos that flow very naturally in and out of the song that aren't on the recorded versions ("I'da Called You Woody, Joe" has a memorable solo stuck in after the first chorus) and the interloping of other lyrics/melodies into bridges (they played a good minute of the quite appropriate "Sweet Soul Music" during "Say I Won't (Recognize)").

But one has to remember they're a relatively new band and have a few edges to smooth out. They haven't quite mastered the Bruce Springsteen signature of taking the instrument volume down while he sings quietly -- many times lead singer Brian Fallon tried to do so and the rest of the band played at the same loudness. Also, Brian needs to stick with his banter that's truthful, honest and funny ("Up the pugs," "Hey, don't boo me for being a Bears fan, it's not like we're winning nothin'" -- classic). Though it was rare, anytime he tried to go into dreamy, Tom Waits territory ("We bought a cat in Albuquerque... named Lester... with three eyes... and seven legs"), it stuck out in an odd way, peeling away the working class humanization they're loved for. Minor kinks, but should be taken into consideration.

Anyway, the all-encompassing "The Backseat" was a great way to end the first set, while the encore-starting "The Patient Ferris Wheel" was perfectly complete because of the Dicky Barrett imitations for the "Fight about it!" parts of the pre-chorus. A nice change of pace, "The Navesink Banks" was given the full band treatment, but the undeniable climax was "I Coulda Been a Contender." An impeccable way to end the night, I completely forgot about the song by that point. The crowd went twice as berserk as they did all night, and the show couldn't have ended on a higher note. What a great send off to their home state, not knowing when they'll return, here's lookin' at you guys.

Set list:

  1. Great Expectations
  2. Wooderson
  3. Casanova, Baby!
  4. We Came to Dance
  5. I'da Called You Woody, Joe
  6. Angry Johnny and the Radio
  7. The ??59 Sound
  8. Film Noir
  9. Señor and the Queen
  10. Old White Lincoln
  11. Miles Davis & the Cool
  12. Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
  13. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  14. 1930
  15. Say I Won't (Recognize)
  16. The Backseat
  17. The Patient Ferris Wheel
  18. The Navesink Banks
  19. Drive
  20. I Coulda Been a Contender


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
facetofacereunion08 (September 26, 2008)

no boomboxes?

skankbook (September 25, 2008)

They played a similar setlist in Wilkes-Barre, I think 20-21 songs all together. Here's them playing "I'da Call You Woody, Joe:"


spoon_of_grimbo (September 25, 2008)

next time they tour the UK, i'm TOTALLY there.

i'm thinking a live album is in order from these guys. maybe a new ep, keepin' up the whole "album ep every year" thing they've had going so far.

Cox_Attack (September 25, 2008)

Damn it, I meant to give it a 8

Cox_Attack (September 25, 2008)

I was there(New Brunswick native here). It was a pretty good show. If Polar Bear Club played, then I definitely missed them. I know I missed Let Me Run too which I was bummed about. The band that went on before Gaslight were pretty lame. Anyway, pretty good show!

Allular (September 25, 2008)

All the complaining about the reverb on the vocals cracks me up. Good luck trying to appreciate any music from the '60s and before.

danperrone (September 25, 2008)

i ALMOST went to this. i was about a mile away on another part of campus. i decided to go out and celebrate a friend's birthday instead. oh well.

also, you forgot to mention that polar bear club and let me run (great upcoming new brunswick group) played.

GSP, not the way to go. should've taken the turnpike! lets you out a minute from the cook campus center.

inagreendase (September 24, 2008)

I don't know, dudes. A couple listens in and the reverb vocals don't bother me at all.

IanIsSuperRad (September 24, 2008)

I don't have the exact setlist, but just from looking at it I know the Columbus show was better. They played "Here's Looking At You, Kid" as the first song of the encore for us and then finished with "The Patient Farris Wheel". It was magical.

Score is for that show.

icapped2pac (September 24, 2008)

I don't see how everyone seems to think this band is so great. Some of the music is really good, but jesus christ that Elvis-echo voice effect gets on my nerves after a couple songs.

damnitsderek (September 24, 2008)

That is a HUGE setlist. I hope if they ever come back up to Seattle again, we get a night like that.

dev (September 24, 2008)

I thought the lyric in Patient Ferris Wheel was "We were fine about it." Hope these guys decide to do a full tour of the Great White North someday.

Boulder (September 24, 2008)

I'm pretty jealous of all you lucky enough to be graced with a show from these guys.
I can't stop listening to their entire catalogue.
Can someone convince them to come to Halifax already.
Patiently waiting, hoping.

ddb43 (September 24, 2008)

Can't wait to see them w/ Alk3, Rise Against, & thrice in MB. Looking forward to them the most. I first saw them on the Against Me! tour. They didn't get a very pumped crowd, but I expect more this time around.

shark-e (September 24, 2008)

I went to this... Drove from Philadelphia in horrible horrible rain with my friend urging me to go faster the whole time... God dammit, it's not safe!!
Anyway, I was surprised at how tame the crowd was, considering the setting. Overall, it was probably the cleanest and tightest set of theirs that I've seen.

lostandclowned (September 23, 2008)

who is Gaslight Anthem?

Wesley_Snipes (September 23, 2008)

A s s t i g h t R e c t u m

BarleyPat (September 23, 2008)

The show in Richmond was too short? Huh? Does not compute. But seriously, what didn't they play?

Film Noir
Elvis, Wherefore Art Thou?
We're getting a Divorce, You Keep the Diner

I can't remember what other songs they didn't play, but it wasn't too many.

damo (September 23, 2008)

overrated band

eazyd2 (September 23, 2008)

needs more cowbell.

hayman (September 23, 2008)

Saw the band in Australia and they were excellent. Can't wait to see them again but can bet there will be a lot more people next time.

Holy_Balls (September 23, 2008)

it's empty in here. i can fart and no one would blame it on me.

mikexdude (September 23, 2008)

These guys are really great live, though, they played way longer than I would have liked when I saw them in Richmond. Also, they didn't play Film Noir which is lame shit.

jake358 (September 23, 2008)

definitely a different show than their record release show in nyc

everyone was going apeshit straight from the first song (Great expectations, also)

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