Gaslight Anthem / Heartless Bastards

Gaslight Anthem / Heartless Bastards: live in New Yorklive in New York (2009)
Side One Dummy Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

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

The last time I saw the Gaslight Anthem headline a show was in August for The â??59 Sound record release show at the Knitting Factory, a venue that holds about 300 people in its main room. Two months after that, I saw them play two nights with Rise Against at the Roseland Ballroom where only a few people were familiar with the band. Needless to say, they probably won over a fair amount of the people who saw them play one of those nights because they sold out Webster Hall. It's been exciting watching their fanbase grow in the two years since Sink or Swim came out and the band seemed bewildered by the feat. It was the first night of the tour and Philadelphia's Good Old War and Cincinnati, Ohio's Heartless Bastards were brought along for the fun.

Good Old War played a brand of folk that didn't seem to engage the audience too much but their catchy songwriting made for an enjoyable set. It was interesting to see the members fluctuate instruments, from drums to accordion; from acoustic guitar to piano; and from acoustic guitar to electric guitar, sometimes within the same song. Their MySpace says they sound like Wilco and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Take with that what you will. Listening to their songs now, I regret not picking up their record.

Heartless Bastards came out at 7:45 instead of 8:00, I suspect to add 15 minutes to their set. They were a standard rock band that the audience got into a little bit more. More people seemed familiar with them, perhaps due to their Pitchfork and New York Times reviews. The singer had a deep voice for a woman. They played their album's title track, "The Mountain," and the power ballad "Hold Your Head High," which seemed to resonate with a few people. At one point, they created a kind of wall of sound that reminded me of Against Me!'s "Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists," but not nearly as powerful. They played about 12 songs total and left the stage at 8:30.

As for Gaslight, it was the first time that I didn't see Brian Fallon smile for the entire set. At times, his facial expression was almost angry as they played. The band played a good portion of The â??59 Sound up front, saving most of the Sink or Swim material for the end of the set proper and encore. While playing Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust," Fallon did an admirable Eddie Vedder impression and said how much he liked the "Singles" soundtrack. My requests for "Left of the Dial" went ignored after he mentioned Paul Westerberg's contribution to that album.

The most poignant moment of the show was towards the end of the set, during the beginning of "Here's Looking at You, Kid," as Brian smiled and shrugged after he sang "I'm famous now for all of these rock and roll songs." Coincidentally, the funniest moment of the show happened just before that, as Brian introduced the song. Two women came up to the front of the stage, asked around for what Alex Levine's name was and then screamed "Alex!" to get his attention. He waved and then one of the women flashed him as he turned around and ignored them for the rest of the night. Their futile attempts to get his attention again by crowd surfing were equally hilarious

All in all, you could tell it was one of Gaslight's first times headlining a big place like Webster Hall in America, but they did their best and the audience sang along to most every word. Time will tell if they get used to playing places of this size or bigger, but I think we can all tell that they're getting there.


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Off with Their Heads - HospitalsThe Hold Steady - Stay PositiveThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundPaint It Black - New LexiconThe Replacements - TimMichael Azerrad - Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie UndergroundHüsker Dü - Candy Apple GreySakes Alive!! - Act I [7 inch]Sunny Day Real Estate - DiaryMetallica - Master of Puppets

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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.
eazyd2 (April 2, 2009)

so did he fuckin smile or not?

IanIsSuperRad (April 2, 2009)

Score is for the show in Cleveland. Brian played "I'm On Fire" by himself for the first song of the encore.

john_boy (April 2, 2009)

set list anyone?

chipsahoycookie (April 1, 2009)

Dunno why this won't get posted on here, but here we go!

Tucson, AZ's Club Congress is doing a weekly, free Punk Rock Happy Hour. The event is 21 . Punk Rock Happy Hour starts Tuesday, April 7th from 5-9 pm. A DJ will play punk rock music throughout the event. For more information, please check out the following sites:

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PtvnSux94 (April 1, 2009)

I find setlists on reviews aesthetically displeasing, so here's for all you other jerks:
everything on '59 except The Patient Ferris Wheel, everything on Senor except the title track; boomboxes, navesink, johnny, woody joe, dance, pearl jam cover. and a little "Stand By Me"

I was thinking about this, why would they not play the Patient Ferris Wheel. It is kinda strange to leave out just one song. Also I would have loved to hear Contender.

punckass (April 1, 2009)

i've noticed the same angry/happy brian fallon in the 3 times i've seen them. i guess its all part of his tortured soul thing he has going on, which i have no doubt is honest. the first time i saw them he was delirously happy about playing in england for the first time and the 2nd time he came out looking pissed off but really warmed up to the crowd by the end. the 3rd time was in a much bigger venue, and although they were still great it seemed like he found it really difficult to connect with the audience in a bigger venue.

INDW (April 1, 2009)

having seen these guys a few times there is definitely a huge variability in Fallon's attitude and I have to say I think that's really cool. It's honest music and he acts honestly. He changes, the set changes; its all good and it rewards repeated visits which, given how much this band tours, nearly everyone has the ability to do.

I would also say that the last time I saw them was comfortably the biggest show (2,500 sell out) and they sounded way better than any of the other times. I'm expecting them to blow the house down when they open for springsteen this summer for just that reason.

xote (April 1, 2009)

In my bad opinion... it kinda bothers me to see punk bands smile during their entire sets...

But i'm more into the angrier side of punk... so I should have just kept my mouth shut. This is not the kind of band I have any credit to judge.

jumptheshark (April 1, 2009)

Sweetbabyjesus I can't wait to see these guys in Minneapolis on Saturday night. I've loved these guys since I first heard Sink Or Swim and I haven't been able to see them headlining yet.

mikexdude (April 1, 2009)

"I thought they played loose but well"

You would say that, pervert.

telegraphrocks (March 31, 2009)

I like Gaslight Anthem a lot, but I'm glad I'm not seeing them in Chicago this Friday... I don't feel like standing around with a bunch of crying men.

thus_spoke_sean (March 31, 2009)

i was up on the balcony for this show, i enjoyed it. I thought they played loose but well.

upon leaving several people mistook me for brian. ha.

splendidtune (March 31, 2009)

Saw the Columbus show. Gaslight is HUGE now, they sold out a 1,650 person venue! I saw them in Sept. and there weren't more than 300 kids.

mashole (March 31, 2009)

ill be seeing them for the first time in jersey in may....cant fucking wait

shrapnel (March 31, 2009)

did they do the "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted" bit during Angry Johnny?

lostandclowned (March 31, 2009)

Meant it, like, he didn't smile the ENTIRE set, only sometimes. Before, he never stopped.

TommyPickles (March 31, 2009)

I had fun.

Torgo (March 31, 2009)

He didn't smile during the whole set but still smiled??

lostandclowned (March 31, 2009)

I find setlists on reviews aesthetically displeasing, so here's for all you other jerks:
everything on '59 except The Patient Ferris Wheel, everything on Senor except the title track; boomboxes, navesink, johnny, woody joe, dance, pearl jam cover. and a little "Stand By Me"

scientistrock (March 31, 2009)

Score's for no not 21 show in Boston.

mevsall (March 31, 2009)

I just saw this tour in Columbus, Ohio, last night. It's right on OSU campus and the show was full of bros and hipsters. The band put on a real good show, though. It just didn't have the energy of a punk show.

hooverstreet (March 31, 2009)

What room was this in?

preston (March 31, 2009)

I had a lot of fun. They sounded good. It would have been better in a smaller venue...and one that didn't charge 8-fucking-dollars for a Budweiser!

inagreendase (March 31, 2009)

Crowd at this was so annoying. Several dozen crowd surfing attempts with no barrier in place only being part of it.

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