The Gaslight Anthem at The Olympia, Dublin, June 17 2013
Following an appearance at Donnigton Park’s Download Festival, The Gaslight Anthem headed to The Olympia Theatre for the first of a two night stand. Stacked with a four album back catalogue, New Jersey’s finest were out to get their Dublin stay off to a flying start.
First up was Jogging. The three piece played songs from their debut and 2012’s Take Courage and while they were were giving it their all, the crowd seems a little subdued, perhaps because their brand of post hardcore was a little heavier than The Gaslight Anthem fans expected. Throughout the set though, the band make the most of their guitar, bass and drums set up. A solid driving rhythm section, alongside great guitar lines and the shared vocals of Darren Craig and Ronan Jackson, slowly win over the crowd and by the end of their set, they receive a well deserve positive response.
The Olympia lights lowered and Led Zepplin’s Rock and Roll, ushers the band onstage. From the first notes of Handwritten, the audience are in full voice. On tour, The Gaslight Anthem work with an extra guitarist and this fills out their sound beautifully. Without stopping for breath they go straight into High Lonesome. There’s no chatting to the crowd through what is a blistering four song start, with 59 Sound and American Slang. The crowd are loving this, singing along with frontman Brian Fallon, hands in the air, there’s no need for prompting to clap in time to the beat.
With influences from punk and rock, including Springsteen, which can be heard throughout the set, The Gaslight Anthem are a fantastic rock band for our age. Classic songwriting, storytelling lyrics and choruses to sing your heart out to are a recipe for success. Add how they are still an accessible band to the mix and you’re on a winner. The amount of people waiting at the Stage Door to meet the band after the show are testament to this. The only niggle is that, in parts, Fallon’s vocals could have been higher in the mix.
The Gaslight Anthem made a daring move, playing arguably their best songs at the start of their set. They, however, have no problem, holding the audience’s attention for the remainder. Boombox and Dictionaries and ‘Film Noir’ keeps the audience on their toes. While musically, the three pronged guitar attack of Fallon, Alex Rosamilia and touring guitarist, Ian Perkins, balance the guitar parts beautifully. The rhythm section of Benny Horowitz on drums and bassist Alex Levine, never miss a beat, in all, remarkably a tight outfit.
Fallon addresses the assembled a couple of time, throughout the night adn shows himself to have a wicked sense of humour. He tells a story of how in the studio, producer Brendan O’Brien suggested him changing keys mid song, but not in a Bon Jovi way. He has the audience in stitches as he mentions that Jon Bon Jovi may not be able to hit the high notes any more as he always hands the mic over to the crowd during Living on a Prayer and Always. He quickly sings the parts of each song to make sure we know what he’s talking about.
On a day when the Obama ladies are in town, he also jokes about how everyone hates whichever President is in power, gives a nod to The Dixie Chicks for the amount of heat they for their anti- Bush remarks before telling the crowd that if he gets in trouble for saying something he shouldn’t, ‘Eddie Vedder will come rescue’ him. The Olympia audience love the remarks.
One of the highlights of the night has to be recent single ’45’ which keeps the audience on their toes. Before the last chorus, the instrumentation lowers in volume, Fallon’s vocals become a whisper until it’s so quiet in the auditorium, no one is making a sound. Then the sound kicks in the venue erupts with rock n’ roll.
As the set continues, the standard is kept up with Too Much Blood, Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts before Keepsake ends the main set. The four song encore doesn’t disappoint with Mulholland Drive and The Backseat ending the night and leaving many satisfied.
This was a pure rock n’ roll show, compassing all the things that make a rock show great. A tight band, anthemic songs to raise your hands and your voices and a brilliant sense of comradary, everyone is there, including the band, to have a great time. Going on this performance, The Gaslight Anthem should be everybody’s favourite rock band.