The Gaslight Anthem: The B-Sides

Once again we are treated to the velvety-toned soothing vocals of Brian Fallon and the band on this compilation album; that offers fans: extra songs which did not make it on to the studio albums, acoustic renditions of various tracks from the band’s records and a handful of covers.

The-Gaslight-Anthem-The-B-Sides-coverThe Gaslight Anthem emerged in 2006 and kicked off their career with their hard-pounding album ‘Sink or Swim’ in 2007, it mixed hard-rock together with an essence of blues. In 2008 they released their second album ‘The 59 Sound’, the album which launched them into the spotlight. They were featured on the cover of Kerrang! Magazine when they released The 59 Sound, making history as the first band to ever do that without being previously featured in the magazine. With this album the band nudged more over to the blues side of things, with the album offering heart-felled calming love songs along with hard-hitting rock tracks. 2010 saw the band release their third album, ‘American Slang’. Although it is their weakest album to date, it was not a bad record. It just focused more on melodic guitar riffs, rather than heavy rock anthems like the previous two. In 2012, their fourth studio album ‘Handwritten’ was released, and it offered all of their best elements; heavy rock, soul-sounding vocals, enchanting lyrics and melodic guitars. Although some fans will always say that The 59 Sound is their best album; Handwritten is not far off.

The acoustic tracks originate from their albums, The 59 Sound and American Slang; except for Antonia Jane which is a cover originally by Lightening Dust. These songs are not just your typical, quick acoustic versions which you might find on a magazine’s podcast; no these are properly studio produced and are quite alternate versions to the original songs. Fallon is not just singing their songs quieter with an acoustic guitar, there are different aspects added, such as backing vocals and other instruments in the background. In a way these tracks seem slightly more intimate, partly because they are more relaxing than the originals, but also because Fallon recording some of them in his own home, and not a studio.

What I have to say did disappoint me quite a bit was the fact that when I read ‘The Gaslight Anthem; The B-Sides’ I assumed that I was getting a few of Gaslight’s own songs which I had not previously heard. Unfortunately there is only one, ‘She Loves You’, which does not feature on any of their albums; the rest are either covers or acoustic songs. The covers were a nice touch, but I’d rather hear their covers live than have them on a CD. Don’t get me wrong I am glad that I purchased it, and I understand that these are the B-Sides from their released singles but more of their own tracks would have made this compilation that little bit extra special.

gaslight-anthemThis album is a must for any avid Gaslight Anthem fans, but I would not recommend it for every-now-and-then listeners.

The Gaslight Anthem are currently writing for their next album, and I am always anxious to hear what they are working on next…here’s looking at you kids.

The full track-listing is as follows:

She Loves You – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

The 59′ Sound (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.

State Of Love And Trust (Live) – Pearl Jam Cover, Recorded Live at Webster Hall. New York.

Tumbling Dice – The Rolling Stones Cover, Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

The Queen Of Lower Chelsea (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.

Songs For Teenagers – Fake Problems Cover, Recorded by Brian Fallon.

Great Expectations (Acoustic) – Recorded at 91.5 Radio New York Studios.

Antonia Jane (Acoustic) – Lightning Dust Cover, Recorded at Cutting Rooms Studios, NYC.

American Slang (Acoustic) – Recorded at The Magic Shop in NYC.

Boxer (Acoustic) – Recorded by Brian Fallon at His House.

Once Upon A Time – Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise Cover, Recorded Sage and Sound Studios and Mad Dog Studios.

The Gaslight Anthem Gig Review

The New Jersey quartet storm the Bristol O2 Academy stage on a wet and cold March evening. The night started off with an explosive performance by the rock ‘n’ roll duo from Canada, ‘Japandroids’, who although only a duo, created an energy which showed they don’t need to be a stereotypical band to break on to the music scene. As they play through their tracks, they show that they have their minds set on bigger stages, however no matter how much they try tonight, the crowd just don’t feel the full impact of their music, as they more or less stand still throughout their set.

After a half hour wait the crowd finally get what they came here for tonight, the blues-rock ‘n’ roll band, ‘The Gaslight Anthem’. A hall full of cheers as they begin their set with ‘High Lonesome’, the track gets the entire room singing along with fists pumping in the air.the gaslight anthem

The band play through some of their greatest songs from their last three albums, much to the audience’s enjoyment. Songs such as: Handwritten, 45, Orphans and Old White Lincoln get the crowd jumping and at some points a pit is even opened up. Whilst others songs: Great Expectations, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Miles Davis and the Cool create sing-alongs which echo throughout the academy. The crowd also get a special treat with a cover of ‘The Animals’ song ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and ‘Señor and the Queen’, a track from their four-song EP.

Although they did bring a huge show to the stage, the only minor aspects which the band could have improved on was that the interaction with the audience could have been better, and no tracks from their powerful 2005 début album, ‘Sink or Swim’, were played.

These are only slight criticisms though, and it really is hard to complain when the band come back on for an encore of some of their best songs, ending their own tracks with ‘The ’59 Sound’, if there is one fan in the audience who is not singing during this song, then it would seem that they are at the wrong concert.

The night comes to an end with the band playing an anthem which is known throughout the entire crowd, ‘Baba O’Riley’ by ‘The Who’, and the boys pull it off perfectly. Not only with lead singer, Brian Fallon, being on par with Roger Daltrey’s vocals, but also with the explosive outro, which saw Fallon smashing the drums with the rest of the band playing their hearts out, ending an evening of blues-rock ‘n’ roll.

The full setlist for the show is as follows:

High Lonesome

Casanova Baby!

Old White Lincoln

Handwritten

45

Senor and the Queen

Orphans

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

House of the Rising Sun (The Animals cover)

Miles Davis and the Cool

Howl

Biloxi Parish

Blue Dahlia

The Queen of Lower Chelsea

Great Expectations

Keepsake

Encore:

She Loves You

Here Comes My Man

Mulholland Drive

American Slang

The ’59 Sound

Baba O’Riley (The Who cover)

Sunday At Reading Festival

As I prepared myself inside a warm and muggy tent on the last day of the Reading Festival, I wondered how this Sunday could top the last two days, where I saw some of my favourite bands: Young Guns, You Me At Six, We Are The In Crowd, Paramore and Green Day. Little did I know, this would be a day I would remember for a long time.

Unlike the last two days where I had floated around to various stages in the arena to see different bands, today I was only focused on one stage… the main stage. When I arrived there in the early afternoon an energetic rock and roll band had taken to the stage to give the crowd a taste of their music, the Eagles Of Death Metal was their name and although their genre was not actually death metal, their rock and roll riffs and alcohol induced sexual puns really got the crowd off of their feet, I would say that the band will have gained a few more fans after todays show.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5

Full Setlist:

I Only Want You
Cherry Cola
English Girl
I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)

The next band are one which, over the past 4 years have gathered a large following of fans and have released, in my opinion, some of the greatest album ever written. They are the quartet from New Jersey, The Gaslight Anthem, who are praised by the crowd with cheers as they walk on to the stage, and as front man, Brian Fallon, steps up to the mic an energy has been created which is ready to burst, and so it does as the band jump right in to ‘Great Expectations’, the first track on their 2008 album, ‘The ’59 Sound’. The opening song has already got the crowd moving and singing along, and as they play through songs such as: ‘Old White Lincoln’ (The ’59 Sound), ‘The Diamond Church Street Choir’ (American Slang, 2010) and ‘Keepsake’ (Handwritten, 2012) the energy carries on being passed through song to crowd. They also play fan favourites like ‘The ’59 Sound’, ‘American Slang’ and ’45’ which force everyone in the first 10 rows of the crowd to move their feet. The band end their set just as powerfully as they started with ‘The Back Seat’ which is by far one of their most powerful songs, and as they bring their set to a finish it is obvious that the crowd want more, but they will have to wait until next time.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Great Expectations
Old White Lincoln
Mulholland Drive
45
Here Comes My Man
American Slang
Handwritten
The Diamond Church Street Choir
Keepsake
The ’59 Sound
The Back Seat

Up next on to the stage are the pop-punkers from Baltimore, All Time Low. Apart from the avid fans in the audience it is hard to know how the rest of the crowd will react to a band like this, as some would just pass them off as emo, and not give them a second thought. This is not the case though as the band’s catchy hooking tracks constantly get the crowd moving and it seems that more people than you would think know the band’s songs, as they play through some of their biggest tracks such as: Lost In Stereo, Damned If I Do Ya, Stella and Forget About It. They also performed a great cover of Blink-182’s Dammit. One of the best things about this band being on the main stage is that they really know how to work a crowd, and although at points when they speak to the crowd it sounds like immature American humour, there is no doubt that this is a band who were made for the main stage, and as they come to the end of their set front man, Alex Gaskarth, asks the crowd if they want them to play “our new song, The Reckless And The Brave or Dear Maria, Count Me In”, cheers and applause beckon them to play the second choice, and with that the band end with a bang.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Lost In Stereo
Stella
Forget About It
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
Dammit (Blink-182 cover)
Jasey Rae
Poppin’ Champagne
Time-Bomb
Weightless
Coffee Shop Soundtrack
Dear Maria, Count Me In

Before the next act enter the stage some of the crowd may feel that they have picked the wrong spot to wait for a band which they want to see later as the band coming on to the stage are one of British metals finest, Bullet For My Valentine. As soon as they kick in to their melodic metal anthem, ‘Your Betrayal’, the crowd are going crazy starting up to 3 mosh pits, which, if any fans waiting to see the Kaiser Chiefs got stuck in, would come out with more than a few bruises. The good thing about Bullet For My Valentine is although many of the crowd here are not metal fans, they can still enjoy the band as their songs have a great deal of catchiness to them. The band play through heavy fan favourites such as Tears Don’t Fall, Scream Aim Fire and All These Things I Hate, however their setlist did not include Hearts Burst In To Fire which I thought was odd because it is a song which would really get the crowd going. Although they did not play Hearts Burst In To Fire, the band ended on one of their most powerful songs, Waking The Demon, in which front man, Matt Tuck, shouts during the breakdown, “let’s see how many people we can get crowd surfing”, and after the breakdown there must have been over 100 hundred people crowd surfing their way to the front and running off to the side, it was a sight which I had never seen before. This performance showed that the band know how to get a crowd going, even if there are not that many metal fans in the audience.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Your Betrayal
Pleasure And Pain
Scream, Aim, Fire
All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)
Four Words (To Choke Upon)
Tears Don’t Fall
The Last Fight
Waking The Demon

Although I was not there for the beginning of the Kaiser Chiefs set, as soon as I got back over to the main stage it was obvious that they were putting on a good show as the crowd were already screaming and dancing when I got there. I’m not much of a Kaiser Chiefs fan, but that didn’t really matter because they have so many well known songs that crowd members who are not fans will know the words too. Lead singer, Ricky Wilson, has clearly played to a crowd of this size before as he really knows how to get them going, and when he stares into the camera during the breakdown of ‘The Angry Mob’ he asks the crowd to scream after he has counted “1234”, which he repeats several times before jumping back into the song, which gets everyone either off their feet or nodding their heads. They play through songs which the whole audience know, such as ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’, the second song being sang right back to them from the crowd whilst jumping in the air. The Kaiser Chiefs have really got the crowd pumped up and ready for what is to come later.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Never Miss A Beat
Everything Is Average Nowadays
Kinda Girl You Are
Everyday I Love You Less And Less
Pinball Wizard (The Who Cover)
I Predict A Riot
Listen To Your Head
Ruby
The Angry Mob
Take My Temperature
Oh My God

Although the next band are very talented and are great at what they do, The Black Keys really should have been on during the day as they are more of a mellow, chill-out band, rather than a dancing around act, they should at least have been on just before the Kaiser Chiefs. With Foo Fighters playing in just over an hour the crowd need an act that gets them in the mood to dance and scream, however it seems The Black Keys are not this band, with some audience members looking tired and restless as they play through their set. I am a fan of the band and love the guitar effects which are used throughout, however by the end I was also getting slightly tired as the band did not really try to interact or communicate with the crowd, the high point of the show was when the duo played ‘Lonely Boy’, as it is one of their more well known songs. The Black Keys are very talented and deserve to be on the main stage, however today it seems they were too far up the bill.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Howlin’ For You
Next Girl
Gold On The Ceiling
Run Right Back
Same Old Thing
Dead And Gone
Little Black Submarines
Money Maker
Strange Times
Nova Baby
Tighten Up
Lonely Boy
I Got Mine

This is what the whole of the Reading Festival has been leading up to, this final act on the Sunday night, Leeds got them on the first day and we get them on the last. The anticipation has been building up all weekend and now it comes to the point where we see if the Foo Fighters will live up to their name. The short answer…yes.

As the quintet enter the stage screams ring out all over Reading which can most likely be heard in London. The band jump straight in to ‘White Limo’, and get the crowd moving, if they weren’t already. Following that they play fan favourite, All My Life, which throughout the whole song is sung by the entire crowd. When the band stop for a breather between songs, front man, Dave Grohl explains “we’re going to make tonight very special” and I’m sure that any member of the audience that night would say that the band did not disappoint. Throughout the 2 ½ hour set that the band played they gave the crowd what they had been waiting for, playing tracks from their earlier records, from their more recent albums and the songs which everyone can sing along to such as: Walk, Monkey Wrench, Learn To Fly, Arlandria and Breakout, the last making the audience go crazy.

When the band, finished off with Taylor Hawkins (drums), Chris Shiflett (guitar), Pat Smear (guitar) and Nate Mendel (bass), said that this show was going to be special, they were right, as throughout the performance the three rows of stage lights hanging above the band begin to move and change shape along with the backdrop, which reads ‘Foo Fighters’, occasionally lighting up. Every song which the band play, whether it be an anthem or a song which is not as well known, they put their heart and soul in to them, playing extended breakdowns and outros.

Not only is this an explosive and energetic show, but it is also a very moving performance for many reasons; when Grohl dedicates ‘Walk’ to his daughter and then brings her out to sit on the stage throughout the song, when he gets the entire crowd to sing happy birthday to his mum who is sitting side stage and when Taylor Hawkins explains that he can’t believe he’s sharing the stage with “the greatest musician” of his time. However the most moving part has to be when Grohl dedicates the song, These Days, to two people who couldn’t be there, “this is for Krist and this is Kurt”, screams fill Reading and a massive sing-a-long begins.

After ‘Best Of You’ finishes the band casually place down their instruments and walk off the stage, but the crowd already know that the show is not over yet, the Foo Fighters will always end a show like this with a bang. Knowing this, cheers to the tune of ‘Best Of You’ begin to grow from the crowd’s lungs and fill the night, there seems to be an electricity in the air as the audience wait for the band to return.

Grohl strolls onto the stage, guitar in hand strumming through various chords, and begins to tell a story to the crowd of how he started out as a drummer and then Nirvana found him, the start of the Foo Fighters and their gigs at Reading, he ends his story by dedicating the next song to all of the fans, the rest of the band then appear, cheers greet them as they play ‘Times Like These’. Now I have seen bands do two-song encores, and I have heard of bands doing three-song encores, but never have I experienced a six-song encore which the Foos delivered, and I think I can speak for every fan there when I say, every second of it was amazing.

The band end their 27 song set with my favourite and the world famous ‘Everlong’, the anthem creates one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the night, and on it’s ending fireworks are launched from the top of the main stage into the sky…a truly spectacular ending to a weekend of great music, and who better to sign it off than one of the greatest bands in the world today…The Foo Fighters.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

Full Setlist:

White Limo
All My Life
Rope
The Pretender
My Hero
Learn To Fly
Arlandria
Breakout
I’m The One (Van Halen cover)
Cold Day In The Sun
I’ll Stick Around
Walk
Generator
These Days
Monkey Wrench
Hey, Johnny Park!
Alone + East Target
Bridge Burning
This Is A Call
In The Flesh? (Pink Floyd cover)
Best Of You

Encore:
Times Like These
Winnebago (Late! Cover)
Watershed
For All The Cows
Exhausted
Everlong

Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem deliver another blues rock masterpiece.

This album’s release date has definitely been one of the most anticipated days on my calendar this year, and now that it has come I can safely say it was worth the wait.

Handwritten kicks in with recently released single ’45’, which is definitely one of the most powerful songs on the album, it combines everything that is ‘The Gaslight Anthem’; the energy of ‘Sink or Swim’ (2007), the mournful lyrics of ‘The 59 Sound’ (2008) and the melodic blues guitar of ‘American Slang’ (2009). From the opening guitar riff and front man Brian Fallon screaming whoa, through the meaningful hooking choruses, to the energetic ending, this track, about not being with the one you love, will leave you wanting more.

Gaslight-Anthem-HandwrittenThey have created a song which contains all their great aspects, and it is only the first track on the album, therefore if your ears aren’t enjoying themselves yet, they soon will be with the rest of the record.

Chants of “whoa, whoa” start off second track ‘Handwritten’, the song is a tribute to the process by which a song is written “out here in the dark, I cherish the moonlight, I’m in love with the way you’re in love with the night, and it travels from heart to limb to pen”, to when it is heard by the listener “let it out, let me in take a hold of my hand, there’s nothing like another soul who’s been cut up the same” and then is passed down to another listener “pull it out, turn it up what’s your favourite song? That’s mine, I’ve been crying to it since I was young”. The song is also related to the fact that the whole of the album ‘Handwritten’, was in fact handwritten, and no computers were used.

Too Much Blood is an amazing track, it captures something which isn’t seen a lot in The Gaslight Anthem songs, the song sounds like a homage to classic 50s rock and roll with a smooth riff and an unusual solo, something which I have not heard in a ‘Gaslight’ song before. You would think that through the last three albums we have heard everything Brian Fallon’s voice could do, soothing on ‘The 59 Sound’ and incredibly high on ‘American Slang’, now he’s trying to go to the deeper end of the scale in this song, and although new, it works really well. Fallon may be one of the greatest voices of this generation.

Since the release of The 59 Sound in 2008, The Gaslight Anthem fans have been waiting for another record with an impact of the same magnitude, unfortunately American Slang was not the album they were waiting for; although an amazing record all round, it just didn’t give you the same feeling as the first time The 59 sound rushed through your ears. Handwritten also doesn’t hit this mark, but it is not far from it, the album feels like a slower version of The 59 Sound, it also has an essence of ‘The Horrible Crowes’; the duet which Brian Fallon played in with Ian Perkins, with the dark lyrics and vocals on some tracks.

As soon as the guitar and gang vocals come in to ‘Howl’, it is obvious that this is going to be a fun and exciting song, and it does not disappoint, although short, it is two minutes and six seconds of pure energy, a track that will get you out of your seat and moving.

The song ‘Desire’ gives you the feel of a punk rock bands song with the background rhythm guitar, the opening sounds as though you are listening to Rise Against – if they started playing blues as well.

‘Mae’ the tenth track on the album is a song about trying to be with the girl you love, and once again Brian Fallon takes us on a journey using his soothing country voice; as tracks such as ‘Here’s Looking At You Kid’ from The 59 Sound and ‘We Did It When We Were Young’ from American Slang did.

‘National Anthem’, a song which Fallon claims was written in 20 minutes on a night in Nashville, takes us through Fallon’s memories and mind when looking at the world today,“what’s left for god to teach from his throne? And who will forgive us when he is gone?” It is an acoustic thought-provoking anthem and is a great way to close an amazing fourth album.

gaslightThe Gaslight Anthem is made up of Brian Fallon (vocals and guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar and backing vocals), Alex Levine (bass and backing vocals) and Benny Horowitz (drums). They formed in 2006 and originate from New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Maybe handwritten is not a better album than ‘The 59 Sound’, the record which thrust them into the public’s eye, but the band have taken risks by combining genres. This album has it all, including aspects from their previous albums, and it shows their progression from 2007.

If you bought the deluxe edition of the album, you will have gotten three bonus songs which aren’t on the normal album, two of which, ‘Sliver’ and ‘You Got Lucky’, are Nirvana and Tom Petty covers. The other is ‘Blue Dahlia’, a song which I believe is powerful enough to be on the album.

So there you have it, an album with some rock and roll, some punk and a hell of a lot of blues rock. If you see this album, I advise you to buy it along with the band’s back catalogue. If The Gaslight Anthem are not in your life…you need them.

Listen to: 45, Mulholland Drive and Howl.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

“45”

Handwritten

Here Comes My Man

Mulholland Drive

Keepsake

Too Much Blood

Howl

Biloxi Parish

Desire

Mae

National Anthem

– Deluxe Edition –

Blue Dhalia

Sliver (Nirvana Cover)

You Got Lucky (Tom Petty Cover)