The Gaslight Anthem performs at The Anthem in DC on Oct. 5, 2022. (Photo by Alec Pugliese)
The Gaslight Anthem attracts a devoted and passionate fanbase for their fusion of punk and heartland rock. Frontman Brian Fallon is a unique character with a very particular, deeply sarcastic sense of humor, one that people love or hate.
When a fan shouted out that this recent show at The Anthem was their birthday present, he replied, “What a sucky birthday present.”
The music, of course, was tremendous, and, as Brian told the audience, “We tried to make this set a little longer than yesterday because we’re closer to home.” Home, of course, is the great state of New Jersey.) The backdrop on the stage proclaimed this, too, with a map of their home state and a dot indicating, presumably, their hometown.
On Oct. 5, the show was The Gaslight Anthem’s first appearance in the DMV in several years, following a long hiatus. They released their last album, Get Hurt, in 2014. It was their fifth album in seven years; their breakthrough came with their sophomore LP, 2008’s The ’59 Sound. They ended the 21-song set with the title track from that album. During the band’s hiatus, Fallon released four solo albums and an EP. The band returned to full-time status earlier this year.
Stream The ’59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem on Spotify:
Before The Gaslight Anthem took the stage, Jeff Rosenstock and his band put on an electric 45-minute opening set. Rosenstock was exactly what you want in an opener: he had tons of energy and got the crowd warmed up for the main event. I heard compliments on the Californian’s singing voice as well. I have my doubts about just how much sleep he gets, as he seems like a guy whose motor never stops.
The Gaslight Anthem opened their set with “Have Mercy.” A special highlight was the tour debut of “Too Much Debut.” When Brian told the audience he was playing a song for the first time on tour, the crowd cheered and he said, “No! Don’t applaud! You don’t even know what it is! You might hate it.” I suppose he had a point: He could have been preparing to play a really bad song, and we would have all felt very, very silly. But why would you do that, Brian? Why you would you intentionally play a bad song?
Introducing “Queen of Lower Chelsea,” Brian told the audience, “Things change, song change, but, at the end of the day, you get in the shower naked.” Unless, that is you’re drunk, and you’re not naked, in which case you have “a problem.” After “Mulholland Drive,” he mentioned having progressive lenses in his glasses, and how he is “old and close to death.” I didn’t find this encouraging, as he’s about 8 months older than me. Before “Here’s Looking At You, Kid,” he talked about being “impervious to pain,” and mentioned biting Ian. (I hope Ian is okay.)
Other songs in the set included “Old White Lincoln,” “Boomboxes and Dictionaries,” “Biloxi Parish,” “Mae,” “We Came To Dance,” “Get Hurt,” “Blue Dahlia,” “Halloween,” “High Lonesome,” “The Patient Ferris Wheel,” “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “Stay Vicious,” “Great Expectations,” “Keepsake,” and “45.”
The band sounded great, and the crowd was totally alive for the show. Most of it even showed up early for the opener, and The Anthem was packed by the time The Gaslight Anthem took the stage. They may play to a self-selecting audience, but it’s not a small one, and their fans are passionate and dedicated.
Here are some photos of Jeff Rosenstock by Alec Pugliese, courtesy of The Anthem and IMP.
And here are some photos of The Gaslight Anthem by Alec Pugliese, courtesy of The Anthem and IMP.