The Gaslight Anthem: Manchester Academy 1
It’s fair to say that we’re not afraid here at BBO to travel into the leftfield of music. We might shy away from reviewing glitchcore wonky-hop housegaze mash-ups (using field recordings of roadworks and cheese rolling), but we don’t mind a bit of something outré. But now and again it’s refreshing to ditch the challenging and cerebral, and go for something that appeals to the primeval instincts of the, ahem, lower regions. In other words, you can’t beat some good old fashioned rock n’ roll now and again. And this is where The Gaslight Anthem come in.
There’s nothing esoteric about this lot. It’s all riffs, undemanding harmonies and verse-chorus-middle-eight. It’s tales of heartbreak, suffering and redemption. It’s white t-shirts and denim Americana. It’s the sound of a dead-end job and the release of a decrepit roller coaster on Coney Island. It’s all these clichés and more besides. It’s fucking great.
As they were at the Academy last week with a set composed mainly of their latest American Slang and the previous The 59’ Sound. Highlights included ‘Old White Lincoln’, ‘Stay Lucky’, ‘Boxer’, ‘The Spirit of Jazz’ (terrible title though) and of course the big tune ‘The 59’ Sound’. I expected the latter as an encore at least, but it was played 5th track into the set. Concerns that this would lead to a pedestrian set from there on in were allayed by the likes of ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘The Backseat’. I’d hoped for ‘High Lonesome’ just so I could yell:
“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 wished I was someone else”
…but it didn’t make an appearance.
So there’ll be people thinking ‘lowest-common-denominator’ when listening to this. Well, yes and fuck off.
And I’ve managed to get through this review without mentioning The Boss and The E-Street band. Gah and darn, no I haven’t. Ok, have this then.
And these. And buy some here.
High Lonesome (from The 59’ Sound)
Boxer (from American Slang)
The Spirit of Jazz (from American Slang)