As featured on Amps & Green Screens.
NEW YORK, NY (MAY 31, 2018) – After a short (it felt like forever!) hiatus, The Gaslight Anthem are back. After a couple shows in Washington, DC to kick things off – the band is touring in support of The 59 Sound’s 10th Anniversary. The band’s first NYC-area show in almost 3 years came at the sold-out, dimly lit Bowery Ballroom. Along with the aforementioned DC shows, the three kick-off club-gigs come in sharp contrast to their next show: Governor’s Ball Music Festival in NYC on June 2nd, 2018 – which will have over 100,000 attendees over the course of the weekend.
Seeing a band that has sold out venues across the globe perform in such an intimate setting is definitely surreal. While the band may look a bit different – shout out to that sick beard on Alex Levine – they haven’t missed a beat during their time apart.
Set opener “Stay Vicious” – the gritty rocker off Get Hurt – kicked off the night for the New Jersey-based group. Hearing those opening chords gave this photographer chills, and surely set the tone for the night ahead. After mixing in a few fan favorites, the band brought out special guest Laurie Vincent, front man and guitarist of bluesy Brit-rock punk band Slaves, for “Boomboxes and Dictionaries”.
Instead of running through what some (even Brian agrees!) may consider the bands best release start to finish, a happy medium was found by splitting up the performance of The 59 Sounds into Side-A & Side-B. After ripping into “Great Expectation” to kick off Side-A, the band crushed through the first half of the album in a blink of an eye. During this time, it felt as if someone flipped a switch with the crowd. Mosh-pits broke out left and right – a clear testament to how long everyone had been waiting to hear these songs. Closing out Side-A with “Miles Davis and the Cool” gave everyone a reprieve from the high intensity which came over the Bowery Ballroom.
After a handful of hits, the second half of The 59 Sound kicked off with “The Patient Ferris Wheel” and ran through the remaining Side-B tracks, wrapping up with “The Backseat”. If fans hadn’t lost their voice yet, The Gaslight Anthem made sure they would be soon with a trio of scream-at-the-top-of-your lungs anthems “45”, followed by NJ Devils’ goal song “Howl”, & “Wooderson”.
Instead of the typical encore routine, the band took no break wrapping up the show with “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” from Senor and the Queen, “American Slang”, and another throwback to their first release Sink or Swim’s “We’re Getting a Divorce, You Keep the Diner”. After a non-stop 90-minute concert jammed with 25 of their best cuts – it is clear that The Gaslight Anthem is back.
When more dates are announced for The 59 Sound 10th Anniversary Tour, it has my vote for 2018’s must-see reunion. You will be hard pressed to find another night of rock that will blow you away like these gents do, time and time again. Taking a page out of songwriter Brian Fallon’s hand, I leave you with a quote from my favorite The Gaslight Anthem song “Drive”: “It felt good to be alive again, my friend.”