Gaslight Anthem Show Review

Posted October 8, 2007 in
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The Gaslight Anthem
July 18, 2007
Kilby Court
with Signal to Noise

Salt Lake City, I'm mighty disappointed in you. At the Gaslight Anthem's first ever show in our fine city, they were greeted by a grand total of 10 people, four of whom were members of opening band Signal to Noise. I'm sure we've all been to shows where only a handful of people show up, but it always bums me out when a really good touring band (such as the Gaslight Anthem) doesn't get the kind of turnout they deserve. I won't dwell on the negative too much, since the Gaslight Anthem are a fucking incredible band with a promising future, and they put on a good show for all ten of us at Kilby Court that night.

I showed up a little bit late, catching only the last song from the second local band. Normally, I would feel bad about not seeing the local openers, but they usually suck anyway and they didn't stick around for the touring bands, so fuck them. The already sparsely populated room thinned out a bit as Signal to Noise began to set up. As the band started to play, the crowd mostly stuck to the back of the room, showing little interest in them. The bassist/vocalist broke a string on the second song, and it seemed to spell certain doom for Signal to Noise, but luckily for the band, their long-haired freak of a guitarist kept the crowd entertained as he heckled us and we heckled him back. When the band finally got going again, the crowd moved forward and the energy of the room went up a lot. I'd never heard of these guys before, but they put on a solid set of Jimmy-Eat-World-meets-Hot-Water-Music rock. Who cares if the room wasn't full? We were having a good time, dammit!

There were twice as many people hanging out outside than there were watching the band, and no one in the room when the Gaslight Anthem was ready to take the stage. Someone stuck their head out the door and told us that the band was about to start if anyone wanted to watch. Most of the people didn't care, but I sure as hell wasn't gonna miss this band. Their new album, Sink or Swim, has been constantly in my rotation since it came out in May, and it's already a strong contender for my favorite album of the year. The raw and honest songwriting recalls bands like Lucero and Against Me!, but the Gaslight Anthem are already better than those bands were in their early stages. If Bruce Springsteen fronted a punk band, it would be the Gaslight Anthem. I walked into the room as the band tore into their first song, “I Coulda Been a Contender."

If the band was disappointed by the turnout, they didn't show it. Vocalist Brian Fallon poured his soul into that room as he furiously strummed his guitar and shuffled his feet throughout the set. Guitarist Alex Rosamilla thrashed about the tiny Kilby stage as he and the other members of the band sang along. Highlights from the set included “I'da Called You Woody, Joe”, a killer song about Joe Strummer and how punk rock can change our lives, and “Drive”, a good ol' fashioned friendship song. Set closer “We're Getting a Divorce, You Keep the Diner” was also particularly good. As the song reached its climax, the band stepped away from their mics, clapped their hands and sang the outro a capella, dripping with sweat and full of passion. Yeah, you guys all missed out.

So, Salt Lake City, here's what I want you to do: Go buy the Gaslight Anthem's awesome new album Sink or Swim. Play it non-fucking stop, so when these guys come back this fall with The Draft and Dead To Me, you can sing along with me and give the Gaslight Anthem the kind of reception they deserve. And when these guys get all hugely popular, you can say you knew about 'em before anyone else.

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