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