The Gaslight Anthem – Brixton Academy – 15/10/12 – Review

Last night my younger Brother and I made the oh so familiar trip to London to head to the Brixton Academy to see The Gaslight Anthem again, having seen them 3 times previously I had a good Idea what to expect and it has to be said I really like Brixton Academy as a venue so was quite happy to be heading there again as it’s been a while.

Support Acts: –

The Gaslight Anthem bought two support acts along with them last night the first of which was Dave Hause, we decided to see the support acts as we had seen Dave Hause before during last years ‘Revival Tour’ and I remember being pleasantly impressed by him at that show, therefore I expected another decent show from him. Performing completely solo, just him and his guitar is quite a brave move for any musician and if i’m honest it didn’t quite seem to pay off as well last night as it did the first time I saw him, I think if I’m honest this is mainly because the Revival Tour show was a completely acoustic affair and it worked well and flowed, last night however he had both the acoustic and a distorted Electric guitar and I couldn’t help but feel everytime he played the latter that it would sound much better with a band to back him and complete the sound, the acoustic stuff however once again I did enjoy.

Up next were Blood Red Shoes, I have to admit I didn’t know much about them before I saw them last night although I had heard a couple of odd songs which I thought were ok, truth be told I thought the performance was pretty tight, the drummer was pretty good and the sound they created as a two piece was mightily impressive, that being said however all their songs just seemed to merge into one another and to be frank sounded exactly the same as each other, all in all didn’t really do it for me.

Main Headliners: –

At about 9:20pm last night The Gaslight Anthem took to the stage for what turned out to be about an hour and forty minute set that was a mixture of hits and a large bulk of new album ‘Handwritten’. The first thing that has to be mentioned though was that the sound was terrible where we were standing for the first 4 or 5 songs it was only after then did they start to rein it in and get the levels right, this was a shame as it meant a couple of the big songs that opened up the set such as ‘The ’59 Sound’ and ‘Old White Lincoln’ didn’t really sound anywhere near as good as they should, the lead guitar was so low down in the mix for those songs that they lost some of the edge. It wasn’t until they played ‘Boomboxes And Dictionaries’ that things started to really improve. I thought the new material sounded even better live than it does on record with the singles ’45’, ‘Handwritten’ and ‘Here Comes My Man’ all coming in a block and sounding particularly great. ‘The Backseat’ was a particular highlight for me that sounded really good and the encore was epic and surprisingly long.

Overall I enjoyed myself last night and the performance was as good as I’ve seen from the band, I have to say though I didn’t enjoy it as much as when I saw them at Bristol on the American Slang tour, I think there are a few reasons for that, firstly the obvious one about the sound, secondly I think the setlist could have been a bit better I knew it was going to be quite new album heavy and that’s fair enough, but I expected more than just two songs from the ‘American Slang’ album for example, also it has to be said I’m not quite sure why they have added the 3rd guitarist live as instead of adding to their sound I think it detracts from it and they lose some of their clarity and often the lead was obstructed by the two rhythm guitars. Finally the last reason has nothing to do with the band at all and that is once again the crowd, at certain points it was brilliant you had sing alongs and dancing for the really big hits, but at times once again it was bordering on damn right disrespectful, at one point when Brian Fallon was telling one of his stories like he does during their sets a couple of pissed up slags (for want of a better term) spent the best part of it shouting at the top of their lungs for him to shut up and play songs, that was until someone turned round and told them to shut up to a certain amount of gratitude from those around him. Also once again the level of talking throughout the set just mystifies me, as I’ve said before in one of my rants (for the Noel Gallagher show) I accept that during support acts people are going to continue conversations as they aren’t the artists they’ve paid to see, when however it continues throughout the headliners it just bugs me rotten, why do people pay the best part of £30 (or more) to talk through the band they are paying to see… I just genuinely Don’t understand it! I remember when I first started going to gigs about 11 or 12 years ago things were so much more respectful you might hear the odd comment here and there during a set but for the most part people used to watch and listen to the acts that they were paying to see and I can’t understand how it’s got to the point it has now, I just hope that all of the scenesters that are mainly responsable move on to other things so that the rest of us that actually want to watch and listen to the bands we pay to see can do it in peace! Rant Over!

Setlist: –

‘Mae’
‘The ’59 Sound’
‘Old White Lincoln’
‘Howl’
‘Boomboxes and Dictionaries’
‘Mulholland Drive’
‘The Patient Ferris Wheel’
‘Film Noir’
‘Here Comes My Man’
’45’
‘Handwritten’
‘Angry Johnny and the Radio’
‘Too Much Blood’
‘The Queen of Lower Chelsea’
‘The Backseat’

Encore:

‘Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts’
‘Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?’
‘Wooderson’
‘Even Cowgirls Get the Blues’
‘American Slang’
Great Expectations’
National Anthem’

PDC

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