Last Night: Gaslight Anthem at House of Blues

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Photos by Groovehouse
Gaslight Anthem
House of Blues
April 25, 2013

At 10 p.m. sharp Thursday night, as Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight" blared on the speakers overheard, the Jersey-born and -bred, punk rock five-piece The Gaslight Anthem sauntered out onto the stage at House of Blues. Fans cheered, and the band began its set with "High Lonesome," an uptempo ballad that addresses the clash between dreams and reality.

It was a fitting opener for a band that, by all accounts, is living the dream and is arguably near the height of its career, though its members are surely working their hardest to balance their stage personas with with the day-to-day struggles of being brothers, husbands and fathers.

Though it can't be easy, The Gaslight Anthem may be the very band to pull it off.

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Led by vocalist Brian Fallon, the band's songs, heavily influenced (and endorsed) by the one and only Bruce Springsteen, create a paradox of accessible rhythms and beats, laced with complex lyricism. The themes are easy enough to follow, but Fallon must be the only contemporary vocalist who can write a song, pleading with the crowd to let him keep some of his life private ("Too Much Blood"), then convincingly sing another from a woman's perspective ("Here Comes My Man").

He writes of heartbreak, both romantic and familial; he sings of friends who have died, paying homage to their memories; he manages to reference Elvis, The Counting Crows and Tom Petty in a single song; and he speaks of a mother so strong than neither she, nor he, needs that deadbeat's approval or attention.

"It's been 31 years since she's been in your arms," Fallon crooned, near the end of Thursday night's performance. "But don't worry 'bout Mama; Mama's got a good heart. And I'm not looking for your love; I'm only sniffing out blood. Just a little taste of where I came from."

Though he may not be looking for affirmation from his father, Fallon and the rest of Gaslight were notably put off by House of Blues' chatty crowd Thursday night, seamlessly transitioning from one song to the next, performing nearly 25 songs in barely over 90 minutes.


Location Info

Venue

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House of Blues

1204 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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12 comments
davidsabala92
davidsabala92

/wait wait never mind, it was We Came to Dance!!!!!

davidsabala92
davidsabala92

i may have been too drunk, but did they play "i coulda been a contender" or boomboxes and dictionaries???? cause i recall hearing the opening line for the latter

godzilla8tokyo
godzilla8tokyo like.author.displayName 1 Like

The crowd was pretty horrible. I couldnt help but be distracted by the two couples in front of me who it seems had never heard of the band, never once clapped and seemed intent to simply drink their overpriced drinks and make fun of everyone who WAS enjoying themselves.  People like that were a total bummer all night. They were more intent on checking their cellphones every 5 minutes then paying attention. Dude, you're killing the vibe.

Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee

Another thing, Did some one in th drowd really ask the lead singer of the opening act to show his dick? To which he replied, afer repeating the question, It's always a dude, not that there is anything wrong with that...

Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee

I think the whole Springsteen comparison is just lazy. Just parroting back what you've heard before. Really only similarity is that they are both from NJ. In concert the comparison is even lamer, they are a punk bad at heart, more in common with Dropkick Murphy's than Bruce. Sure they touch on similar themes of love and loss and the redemptive power of music. But that could describe lots of bands. Another quibble, I detect a note of  derision in your height of their career comment. While it's true, I think they are on an upward arc. Headlining, playing festivals bigger crowds. Anyway decent review otherwise, great show. Matt Mays was one of the better opening acts.

mbkeever
mbkeever

@Chrisfgee If Fallon considers being compared with The Boss a badge of honor, I wouldn't call it parroting; I'd call it an affirmation of their musical influence thus far in their career.

http://www.spinner.com/2010/05/07/gaslight-anthem-bruce-springsteen-american-slang/

But you're correct that the band's live performance is more in line with punk acts like Dropkick Muphys than with Springsteen. But Bruce is a living legend, and The Gaslight Anthem are still a young group, so we'll have to wait and see what's in store for them.

And any hint of contempt that you think you detected is misconceived. I love these guys' music, and I hope they continue writing songs for years and years.

Chrisfgee
Chrisfgee like.author.displayName 1 Like

@mbkeever Thanks. Great link. I was thinking about the Bruce/Dylan comparisons back in the day. If Fallon's OK with it then I am too. Although I was al ittle pissed when I read a Coachella quote from a band that was playing in the same slot something to the effect "the Boss sounds pretty good..." Speaking of the crowd the couple in front of me was actively surfing the web on their smart phones during the show. And I thought that people making Iphone video OF THE BAND were annoying.

Nickel
Nickel

Saw them in San Diego (SolanaBeach) on Monday night and Brian was talking like a mad man.  I didn't expect him to be so funny.  It s a pleasant surse.  Bummer he didn't interact with the crowd much.  We laughed asmuch as we sang!

gnslgr
gnslgr

He said that he could throw a football farther than Mark Sanchez, in the course of saying that his family wanted him to root for the Jets, and he hated the Jets.  Matt Schaub was not mentioned.

gmzb2000
gmzb2000 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Really good show last night.  Thought it was a little strange that they only played one song from American Slang, but that's a minor quibble.  The crowd was terrible.  People in the audience seem to think they're the show at concerts now.

Selena.Dieringer
Selena.Dieringer

Excellent review. Makes me want to listen to more of them immediately. I only have caught them on iHeart through other stations.

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