Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: The Gaslight Anthem at Wonder Ballroom 4/16 - The Sons of Springsteen

And Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand
Always kinda sorta wished I looked like Elvis
And in my head there's all these classic cars
And outlaw cowboy bands
I always kinda sorta wish I'm someone else

- High Lonesome

After a last minute flakeout this was to be the first show I ever attended by myself. That changed when minutes after entering the venue I ran into an old friend of mine from high school who I hadn't seen in years. We ended up hanging out for the remainder of the evening, trading stories of late-twenties disillusionment, it made for a perfect evening when you consider just how many of the Gaslight Anthem's best tracks are about the pain and longing that accompany age. If you've never seen The Gaslight Anthem live, you need to. This show was on the short side, and in stark contrast to the show I saw them play at the Crystal in 2010 when their spirits were obviously still buoyed by the breakout success of American Slang.

Speaking of American Slang, it was nowhere to be found on Tuesday night, aside from a somber performance of "Queen of Lower Chelsea". This show immediately joined the set of concerts I've seen this year that had perplexing and frustrating setlists. While I love The 59 Sound and was treated to some transcendent performances of "Great Expectations" and "Film Noir" (a top live music moment of the year, for me) I missed many of the American Slang tracks that made that show back in 2010 such a great one. 

New Jerseyan, Earnest, Street Romantic, the comparisons between The Gaslight Anthem and Bruce Springsteen are numerous and fitting. Tuesday night's show was obviously just a typical show for these guys and they still played with focus and energy. Its that workmanlike nature, the love of the show, that ultimately becomes the most fitting Springsteenian quality to affix The Gaslight Anthem with - and one that makes them a must-see band for me.

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