Show Review: The Gaslight Anthem with Dave Hause at The Independent, 7/5/2012

by Gordon Elgart on July 10, 2012

On this first night of a completely sold out tour, New Jersey’s Gaslight Anthem showed that they are ready for the big time that’s around the corner for them. They didn’t do this by focusing on material from their forthcoming album, Handwritten, but by blowing through nearly two hours of their infectious combination of punk, pop, “New Jersey,” new wave and Americana. And the crowd sang along, every word.

But before they had a chance to do that, we were treated to an engaging opening set by Dave Hause of The Loved Ones. I remembered seeing them before, opening for Gaslight Anthem a few years back, and said some not-so-nice things about their set. I was really surprised by my former distaste, because Dave Hause is a terrific solo performer. He successfully got the crowd to join in, even though we were an “over 21” crowd. (We old people can be such bores.) I found him to be both plaintive and in-your-face at the same time: how does one do that?

Dave Hause surveys the crowd.

Soon enough, though, the arm hugging, high fives and singing along began. I was up front, and people were belting out every word, including those for songs that are on the not-yet-released album. (Like that matter anymore. Am I right, Internet?) You can easily figure out what the fan favorites are based on the crowd volume: “45,” “We Came to Dance,” “Great Expectations” and “’59 Sound” are the obvious choices, and yes, they were met with raucous energy. But I’d dare you to figure out which song isn’t a crowd favorite. This was the best crowd I’ve been a part of in quite some time. It was tremendous.

No, he’s not smoking; it’s incense burning.

I mentioned in my previous review of the band how much I enjoy Brian Fallon’s between-song banter, but apparently there are those who don’t. A few vocal individuals would yell out song titles, or even rudely request that he “shut up and play!” Whatever. I love this part, and his reaction, explaining that he couldn’t hear anything from the stage, was priceless, and probably true. (He wears in-ear monitors.) An entertaining moment was when he told the cocktail waitress that if she could make it to the stage with a Coke, Alex Rosamila would give her $40. She eventually made it, got paid, and inspired a funny conversation between lead singer and guitarist that our aforementioned vocal rudeness attempted to cut short. I like this sort of unscripted material, though, but I wasn’t exactly disappointed when they started playing again.

Four albums in, The Gaslight Anthem continue to show that they have a seemingly endless supply of rip-roaring rock songs that strike a nerve with those that hear them. Opener Dave Hause said that this was “the last time you’ll see them in a place this size,” and although I’ve heard that said a thousand times about bands that I ended up seeing in places exactly that size again, this time it rings true. The Gaslight Anthem aren’t the next big thing: they’re a big thing.

 

The Gaslight Anthem setlist from 7/5/2012, although “45” and Casanova Baby were flip flopped in the order when actually played.

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All Photographs, including the setlist, by Emily Anderson

Gordon Elgart

A music nerd who probably uses that term too much. I have a deep love for bombastic, quirky and dynamic music.

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