After a short (it felt like forever!) hiatus, THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM are back. Following a couple of shows in Washington, DC to kick things off – the band is touring in support of The ’59 Sound’s Tenth Anniversary, The first NYC-area show in almost three years came at the sold-out, dimly lit Bowery Ballroom. Along with the aforementioned DC shows, the three kick-off club gigs come in sharp contrast to what was their next show: Governor’s Ball Music Festival in NYC on June 2, 2018 – which had over 100,000 attendees over the course of the weekend.
Seeing a band that has sold out venues across the globe perform in such an intimate setting is definitely surreal. While the band may look a bit different – shout out to that sick beard on Alex Levine – they haven’t missed a beat during their time apart. Set opener “Stay Vicious”, the gritty rocker off Get Hurt, kicked off the night for the group. Hearing those opening chords gave this photographer chills, and surely set the tone for the night ahead. After mixing in a few fan favorites, they brought out special guest Laurie Vincent, front man and guitarist of bluesy Brit-rock punk band SLAVES, for “Boomboxes and Dictionaries”.
Instead of running through what some (even Brian agrees!) may consider the band’s best release start to finish, a happy medium was found by splitting up the performance of The ’59 Sound into Side-A & Side-B. Ripping into “Great Expectation” to kick off Side-A, the band crushed through the first half of the album in the blink of an eye. During this time, it felt as if someone flipped a switch with the crowd. Mosh-pits broke out left and right – a clear testament to how long everyone had been waiting to hear these songs. Closing out Side-A with “Miles Davis and the Cool” gave everyone a reprieve from the high intensity which came over the place.
After a handful of hits, the second half of the record kicked off with “The Patient Ferris Wheel” and ran through the remaining Side-B tracks, wrapping up with “The Backseat”. If fans hadn’t lost their voice yet, THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM made sure they would soon with a trio of scream-at-the-top-of-your lungs anthems “45”, followed by NJ Devils’ goal song “Howl”, & “Wooderson”.
Instead of the typical encore routine, the band took no break wrapping up the show with “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” from Señor and the Queen, “American Slang”, and another throwback to their first release Sink or Swim’s “We’re Getting a Divorce, You Keep the Diner”. After a non-stop 90-minute concert jammed with 25 of their best cuts, it is clear that the boys from New Jersey are back.
When more dates are announced for The ’59 Sound Tenth Anniversary Tour, it has my vote for 2018’s must-see reunion. You will be hard pressed to find another night of rock that will blow you away like these gents do, time and time again. Taking a page out of songwriter Brian Fallon’s hand, I leave you with a quote from my favorite song from THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM, “Drive”: “It felt good to be alive again, my friend.”
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: CMZ PHOTOGRAPHY