The Grove Festival: Gaslight Anthem

Occupying in my personal opinion the best time slot for natural light, Gaslight Anthem is one of those successful underground bands who everyone loves and no one has ever heard of at the same time. Proper Indie starlettes, it is so incredibly obvious when you see them live why they have accrued such a loyal cult following. They may not be mainstream, but when lead singer Brian Fallon offered up his microphone, like he did last year at another concert, it was Eddie Vedder who rose to the challenge to sing with the band. So…ya. You should know this band if you don’t already.
Gaslight Anthem has a huge catalogue and generally isn’t one of those bands who really shine in a 45min time slot. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take what I can get, but after such a short set they left the stage and I felt like I was being left in bed just when things were really getting going. Bands like Gaslight Anthem need at least an hour and half for listeners to get their fix. They are just one of those bands; bands that bring you back to that time in your life when music was invigorating for the first time.


It might be easier for people in my age bracket to understand this, as Gaslight Anthem has been true to their sound since their inception in 2007, but their particular brand of rock calls to mind that early millennial punk-easy-rock sound that was equal parts Thrifty’s flare jeans and non-gendered nail polish, and ironically disintegrated most standards of which is socially accepted as cool at the time. Today, in 2013, Gaslight Anthem is the epitome of modern rock. They continue to push the limits of conventional songwriting while still honouring the rock elements that gave the likes of Springsteen and Billy Joel their mass appeal.

They played mostly from their newest release Handwritten, peppering the set with a few oldies but goodies. When ‘45’ started up there was an amazing moment in the crowd when those who knew the song roared, and those who didn’t know who they were watching looked to those who did and nodded emphatically. Crowd synergy. As musicians they are beyond talented. They know who they are, and their the sound seems to come effortless which is amazing because as performers they are quite adept at pulling the heavy single-foot-stomp that we as listeners employ to keep time along with the drummer when the beats are deep and the bass is as responsible for that as the drums.

Like I said, the sunset was tempering into twilight. After writing all of these reviews up today it is becoming increasingly clear that I am obsessed with light. Seriously though, no matter where you’re reading this from, no matter what time of day, make a note to wait for the sunset. Download ‘National Anthem’ from Handwritten, press play, and tell me if the orange light filtering from the West isn’t made better by that song.

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