Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Gaslights in Brixton

Reviewing a band like The Gaslight Anthem is never an easy one to call, with a dedicated fan base that churn out the bands lyrics in perfect harmony it’s hard not to get sucked in purely by the atmosphere. Rocking into the Academy just in time to see the Sharks exit the stage I arrived with enough time to buy a nice pint of Tuborg (O2’s Draught of choice) and find myself a nice position within the crowd. When the second support band ‘Twin Atlantic’ stumbled onto the stage the venue was already filling up. It was a sold-out show, so Rock fans were bound to be disappointed to be hearing from a band that were seemingly influenced by bands such as ‘At The Drive-In’. The band sings in their native Glaswegian accents, not necessarily a bad thing, but in such a large venue they lacked the dynamism of their recordings and seemed somewhat lost on the stage, it being one of the biggest in the country.

The Gaslight Anthem took to the stage to deafening applause, seeming somewhat overwhelmed by the masses of fans they had managed to entice to the South London venue. Opening with a single from the new album's 'American Slang', the bulk of their main set was made up of recent songs, starting with the self titled ‘American Slang’, moving on to 'Queen Of Lower Chelsea', 'Stay Lucky' and 'Bring It On' and it’s safe to say the band didn’t play out of purpose throughout the entire set. Obviously, the crowd erupted into ecstatic applause when the band played 'The '59 Sound' from their second album, which they played only eight songs of. Having been to most of the gigs at the Brixton Academy (a lot of people will be aware that I also work there) I don’t think I have ever come across a crowd that were quite so responsive as this one. No encouragement was needed from vocalist Brian Fallon for the crowd to pipe up and chant the chorus of ‘No Surrender; back at the band, or should I say idols they had paid to see, for these were not fans who turn up on a whim, because they....

‘liked that song on TV that they did with Springsteen"

.... which they did play fantastically well and was received with all the cheers and yelps it deserved (pretty much every member of the audiencesang along with the band in a beautiful four minutes of synchronicity) NO, this audience was the result of years of touring, three great rock 'n' roll records and a hell of a lot of hard work.

Closing with a raucous cover of The Who's 'Baba O'Riley' was a masterstroke. It saw fans covering the scatter graph of ages come together, arm-in-arm. It’s going to be a big year for the Gaslight Anthem and they ended the night with a rapturous five-song encore, drawing mainly from 'The '59 Sound'. Absolutely brilliant.


  1. I was at the Gig and I was blown away!
    Great review though, it sums the show up perfectly!

  2. The '59 Sound is the BEST song in the world.
    I was worried they wouldn't pull Brixton off, Twin Peaks and Shark didn't but Anthem defo did.