Concert Review: The Gaslight Anthem, May 27, 9:30 Club


It’s often a mystery why bands are paired together on tour. Is it because they have similar styles of music? Or totally different? Because their clothing complements? Because they happen to be free that night? Because they own the nicest van and fill it with snacks?

The Gaslight Anthem‘s Brian Fallon cleared that up yesterday at 9:30 Club when he announced about his openers, “I love Tim Barry because he looks like he could crush my head with his hands but he’s still just a really comforting presence. And I’m just attracted to Matt Mays.”

Although I think van snacks would be the best way to choose your openers, burly teddy bearness and physical attractiveness are also great metrics.

The night started with soft and cuddly head crushing Tim Barry. Playing from his albums “High on 95″ and “Rivanna Junction,” the American singer-songwriter crooned his narrative folk tunes, each telling an entirely American story. Barry drew the audience into tales inspired by friends or folks he met on the road; “Dog Bumped” tells the story of a brother dealing with his sister’s abusive relationship, and “South Hill” takes you on the winding path and false promises surrounding one man’s entry into the military. If you want to experience some bone crushingly beautiful Americana that will linger, dive into his discography, but do it somewhere private where you can quietly sob.

Next up was beautiful Nova Scotian Matt Mays. Taking the stage in denim and a long brim hat, he started things off with “Tall Trees” from his 2008 album “Terminal Romance”, filling 9:30 with a full and rich indie rock sound. He worked his way through tunes from his new 2017 album Once Upon a Hell of a Time…, including “Faint of Heart” and “Station out of Range”, and oldies from Coyote. Just a note, at one point I thought he introduced himself and his band as “Matt Mays and the Haze” but after doing a lot of Googling, that doesn’t seem to be a thing, But I think it’s a great name, so if anyone knows Mays pass the word along.

Finally, to palpable excitement, and a stage rush, Brian Fallon took the stage. To the sound of sweaty men moshing, Fallon launched into a celebration for the 10th year anniversary of The ’59 Sound by playing the album in its entirety. The audience was a great mix of young and old, kids and parents, generations of fans coming together to celebrate a band they still love. Fallon mostly played straight through, but he had some fun insights for the fans. Apparently the band gets questioned for their copious diner references in their songs, “We’re from New Jersey” Fallon explained, “And we didn’t have a car, so we couldn’t get anywhere cool like DC” (kudos to Fallon for the city love, DC needs it) “so we just went to diners. And people ask what our favorite diners were, but that’s not a question you can ask, because all diners are equally terrible. And that’s the nuts and bolts of why we sing about diners, it’s just kind of what happened. People read too much into it. Like, I mean I bet someone just said to Glenn Frey “Hey man take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.” And then he wrote it down. It’s that easy.” Fallon also explained to the crowd, lifting up his baseball cap, “I’m actually not going bald guys. I just wanted to wear a hat.” The man made grown men mosh, while also making me laugh out loud all in the same night – that’s impressive. There’s a level of comfort that Fallon clearly feels with his fan base that’s been around for a decade, and it’s palpable during the show, “You guys know the drill” Fallon said as the mosh pit assembled, “Pick each other up when you fall”, it made the night feel like a reunion of friends who hadn’t seen each other in a couple years, catching up and hanging out, the best kind of atmosphere a show can have.

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts

One Response to Concert Review: The Gaslight Anthem, May 27, 9:30 Club

  1. B

    Solid review, was a really fun show

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