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The Gaslight Anthem, A Death in the Family at The Arthouse (Melbourne), 1-08-08

August 2, 2008

Okay, I admit it has been a while since I attended a proper gig (I don’t think the 20 minutes of Talent Squad I saw last week count) so I was pretty excited about this one. It’s also been even longer since I attended a punk gig and I forgot how fun they can be. The Arthouse is a pretty cool venue as long as your standing in the right spot. It’s small and warm with some cool artwork. I arrived at what I thought was pretty late (10.30) but the headliners didn’t come on till like 11.45 so I wasn’t really. This gave me a chance to have a look around; I forgot that people still have mohawks, wear leather jackets with studs, wear hoodies with the hoods on inside etc; I’ve been going to too many wussy gigs. The lack of cameras being waved in the air was odd to me as well.

Since I arrived apparently early I had the task of watching 3rd opener (I missed the others) A Death in the Family’s set. Pretty boring to be honest, sounding like a cross between Gyroscope and Hot Water Music but without any of the charm that either band posses (espcially the latter). The parts where there wasn’t singing were alright but as soon as the vocals kicked in they just played some mediocre riffs under some lyrics I couldn’t make out except for the occasional ‘razor blade’ and ‘wa oh!’. They did pick up towards the end but I was really bored by then. On the plus side they made The Gaslight Anthem seem even better by comparison.

The Gaslight Anthem were simply awesome. While many bands are energetic in different ways they brought a huge amount of the positive and fun energy that was just amazing. They also played one of the most consistent sets I have seen from any band ever. I forgot just how little of their catalogue is filler and that every song they have written obviously means a lot to them. Their unique blend of punk, blues and soul sounded great live and the vocals were surprisingly fantastic in a live setting. Songs that I was sort of complaining about the other day sounded so much better in a live setting, what were once merely good rock songs became epic sing-alongs such as the rousing rendition of ‘The ’59 Sound’.

Their set just felt like hit after hit and it was testament that a band that has such a (relatively) small catalogue was able to keep the great songs coming for so long. Even songs that aren’t the best thing in their catalogue shone through in a live setting and the crowd was loving it. Brian Fallon’s vocals were passionate and clear which was important for a band who’s sound comes as much from their lyrics as their music. He occasionally changed up lyrics in an attempt seemingly to keep the songs relevant to his life which was a nice touch. The rest of the band were all incredibly tight, the drums were especially impressive; something that I hadn’t noticed on their records sadly.

The Gaslight Anthem also seemed like pretty cool guys and genuinely excited to be playing in a place like The Arthouse which is always nice to see in band. Brian also promised he would buy everyone some funnel cake when they became rich after someone shouted out ‘fuck funnel cake!’ while he was professing his love for it. I could have watched them play for another hour so it was sad end to the set but after many many requests by one dude down the front they obliged and played a second encore with a great version of ‘We’re Getting A Divorce, You Keep The Diner’ with it’s awesome ‘zombie time’ sample included and shout along choruses. One of the most fun gigs I have been to all year and made me realise why I still listen to punk music.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    August 3, 2008 12:12 pm

    Wrong ‘too’, Nick. Too many ‘o’s.

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