The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Live: The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem deliver a second night of New Jersey lovin’ to their fanatic Manchester faithful.


March 28th, 2013

Manchester Academy 1


It’s fairly remarkable to think that The Gaslight Anthem only formed in 2006, since then they’ve exploded onto the rock scene with their pounding heartland rock and Springsteen-esque lyrics. Although occasionally bundled in a bit too tightly with the New Jersey Boss (not Tony Soprano), Gaslight are by no means a cheap imitation; crafting one of the best punk records in a long time with The ’59 Sound.

Witnessing the second night of their residence at Manchester’s Academy 1, I was first struck by the sheer mix of dudes and dudesses present; everything from Top Gear shirt fests to sweaty leather clad youths. The diversity is a result of Gaslights ability to connect with angst-ridden teenagers whilst also allowing middle aged rockers to wear sun glasses indoors.

The previous night saw the band open with four tracks from The ’59 Sound; in an attempt to satisfy all the hard core ‘two-nighter’ fans they hit us with four from 2010’s American Slang. Tracks like ‘The Spirit of Jazz’ and ‘Orphans’ set the pace; despite being the most ‘classic rock’ of all The Gaslight Anthem’s offerings, it’s still frantic and poetic enough to hit home.

Perhaps unexpectedly it was the Handwritten material  garnering the most enthusiasm as regards crowd movement. ‘45’ and ‘Here Comes My Man’ sent most into pandemonium. Having said that the ‘The ’59 sound’ probably takes it in terms of going ‘bat-shit crazy’ – no surprises there really.

The Gaslight Anthem can rock like the best of them but it’s their ability to bring it right down which often gets those goose bumps going. ‘Here’s Looking At You Kid’ and ‘Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts’ put me into a state of trance with the beautiful man that is Brian Fallon, even if he was wearing a hat that would make most mere mortals look like a bit of a ‘top hat’. The night was almost put into jeopardy with a pretty forgettable cover of Stone Temple Pilots ‘Interstate Love Song’, if the night was going to end on a cover we were hoping for the epic ‘Baba O’Reily’. But low and behold the band finished in style, blasting out ‘The Backseat’ – surely their finest moment.

Looking somewhat reluctant to leave, the lads finally called it a day after a seven song encore. And after a night of heart wrenching  ballads and uplifting tales of exuberant youth I left wondering why we haven’t already proclaimed these guys the saviours of rock n roll.

  • Guy Incognito

    I was there too. It was a great night, the amount of stuff they played off their first album was really surprising. I noticed a very diverse crowd too – a lot of brahs in Hollister t-shirts. You wouldn’t have seen that a few years ago.

    Apologies though, there’s a few discrepancies in spelling and grammar here – the editor(s) did a fairly shoddy job of not correcting things.

    • Tom Ingham

      Yeah the setlist was excellent, although I would have like to have heard ‘National Anthem’.

      And yes, duly noted – my bad.