Four and a half hours of New Jersey sound. For that, I’d like to personally thank The Gaslight Anthem and the 9:30 Club. Rarely do you find a headlining band whose set is over two hours long these days.
The Gaslight Anthem has been together since 2006 and they are originally from New Brunswick, New Jersey. The band is made up of Brian Fallon, lead vocals and guitar; Alex Rosamilia, guitar and background vocals; Alex Levine, bass guitar and background vocals; and Benny Horowitz, drums. They’re known for writing all their own lyrics with a punk, grunge and rhythm and blues influence, often referred to as the New Jersey sound.
Cheap Girls was the opening act. The band is made up of brothers Ian Graham and Ben Graham with Adam Aymor on guitar. I pictured an all-girl rock band when I heard the name Cheap Girls and quickly vetoed the idea of showing up at 7:00pm without using trusty Google, like I should have. So, sadly, I missed most of their set. When I arrived, though, I was impressed and may even give them a download or two.
The Gaslight Anthem sold out their first gig on December 2nd and the 9:30 Club realized quickly that DC was in need of a second night of The Gaslight Anthem, and added the December 3rd show, which sold out as fast as the first.
They opened up with “Mae”, showcased from their fourth album, which dropped in June, and is the first to the major record label, Mercury Records. The album is amply titled, “Handwritten,” proving to faithful fans like me that they’re still writing music their way and sticking to small venues like the 9:30 Club, despite ensuing fortune and their recent fame.
Mid-set they managed to re-mix “Old White Lincoln” from 2008’s 59 Sound album, with a snippet of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Later they paid homage to Lyle Lovett and Bob Dylan, among others, with partial covers during some older songs that included my favorite, “The Queen of Lower Chelsea” from their 2010 album, American Slang.
Think young Springsteen meets the Misfits and you can picture lead singer, Brian Fallon. If it was 1960, he’d be a “Greaser” in The Outsiders. And if the bad-boy look and raspy vocals aren’t enough, his banter with the rowdy crowd made me want to friend request him on Facebook. He was hilarious; back and forth with the mosh pit crew all night.
As I danced and Instagrammed on the balcony of the 9:30 Club with my Jameson and ginger in hand, Fallon argued with a Redskins fan and had the crowd rolling. “You’re giving me the finger for being a Jet’s fan; isn’t my life bad enough? Come on… Tebow needs to pray harder cuz someone can’t throw straight!”
By the way, a mosh pit? Who knew they still existed outside of hardcore metal? Not this girl! But, then again, this is my first concert in DC. Not only did the mosh pit surprise me, but I was also completely shocked by the lack of thick smoke that typically fills the air above our heads at every concert, back home in Colorado. (Hey, it’s legal there!)
I have been a huge fan since I discovered The Gaslight Anthem right before I moved to Washington in May, so I understand that my review is completely biased. But give them five minutes on iTunes and I think you’ll agree with me. The only thing wrong with their concerts here in DC is that I should have attended both shows!