There’s a line in Even Cowgirls Get The Blues which says, “tell your pappa you’ll be home when the good feeling dies,” and if that was the case here The Gaslight Anthem would still be playing now, for they create a feelgood, positive energy at their shows like no other.
Pooling from a setist which spanned their four record career to date the band treated the raucous Glasgow audience to a night which went by faster than an Alex Rosamilia chord. Whether it’s the influence of alcohol, a greater fanaticism for the band or a generally better ability to enjoy themselves – or a bit of each – there’s nothing quite like a Glasgow crowd on a night like this. The band evidently fed off the energy coming from the stalls and it produced emphatic results.
Brian Fallon was in a playful mood with a rant against Justin Bieber; demonstrating his love of the way Scottish people pronounce the letter ‘o’ – as in “Little Monsters” becoming “Little Moonsters” – and offering some film critique: The Notebook good but sad; I Spit On Your Grave nasty. But it’s with their music that he and his band excel and this was another fine performance of room-shaking, sweat-inducing rock.
Sink or Swim had a greater presence here than in Manchester, with the addition of Boomboxes and Dictionaries and particularly Drive adding to the ferocity of the set, which already packed a powerful punch with the intensity of the likes of Biloxi Parish, Great Expectations and The ’59 Sound.
But The Gaslight Anthem can mix it up and show a softer side too. Here’s Looking At You, Kid is performed under an almost hushed reverence and the likes of opener Mae and She Loves You display the wide range of talent in the band.
What is perhaps most impressive about this model of The Gaslight Anthem is the way that certain lyrics seem to act as dramatic signposts throughout the set. The part during The ’59 Sound before the line “ain’t supposed to die on a Saturday night” rouses the audience even more, while the word “defeat” in Handwritten provokes a reaction. The closing line of Here’s Looking At You, Kid, the mid-section of Angry Johnny And The Radio and the abforementioned line from Even Cowgirls Get The Blues all act as moments of drama.
The Gaslight Anthem have everything going for them. A charismatic frontman, a group who have been together and recorded together long enough to fine-tune an excellent stage performance, a back catalogue of great songs into which the recently released Handwritten fits comfortably and a loyal and enthusiastic fanbase. With live shows of this quality complimenting the high standard of their released, there is no limit to what these boys from New Jersey can achieve.