August 11, 2015 The Gaslight Anthem Welcomed Back To The Paramount Huntington, NY 7-21-15 w/ Matthew Ryan
New Brunswick, New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem came together back in 2005 blending the sounds of Punk, Pop-Punk, and Alternative Rock for their own unique style all their own. Releasing their debut album Sink or Swim in 2007, the band has gone on to release four chart-topping records, including their most recent from 2014, Get Hurt. Comprised of Brian Fallon (vocals, guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar), Alex Levine (bass), and Benny Horowitz (drums), the band has spent the last two years touring extensively and captivating audiences in the process. Completing a successful early 2015 run of shows in February and March, the band hit Europe in June, but returned back to The States in July for select shows. Making a special appearance at The Paramount in Huntington, NY on Tuesday July 21st, The Gaslight Anthem had support from Matthew Ryan. It would mark the band’s first visit to the venue since their appearance in September of 2013, and The Gaslight Anthem brought their gritty, high energy brand of Rock-n-Roll for a night of unabashed revelry.
Based in Pittsburgh, PA, Ryan is a prolific recording artist with fifteen studio albums under his belt since 1997 and opened the show with a strong set of Pop tinged Rock-Roll. Releasing Boxers in 2014, the singer-songwriter has been busy playing shows in the album’s support solo, as well as with his band, the Northern Wires, who are Brian Bequette (lead guitar), Midnight Oil’s Bones Hillman (bass), and Agent Orange’s Steve Latanation on (drums). Now he would be on stage with the Northern Wires for the first time at The Paramount to engage a whole new audience.
Ryan began the show with the title-track off his latest album Boxer. The song was a straight-ahead rocker with a propulsive and haunting riff as Ryan’s scratchy delivery was able to perfectly portray feelings of angst and hope simultaneously. Then there was “First Heartbreak,” which sounded like the best of ’80s college Rock radio that had the audience’s attention. Taking the audience back to the beginning of his career, “The Dead Girl” showed Ryan’s penchant for sneaking in Country elements into his Pop-Rock, and gave less familiar audience members a glimpse into his past. Other songs like “Railroaded” possessed the best of Alt-Country Rock-n-Roll as it echoed Uncle Tupelo, Drive-By Truckers, and the Jayhawks. Sounding full and heartfelt, Ryan and his band put on an excellent show that was a great primer for headliner The Gaslight Anthem. Ryan has a hand full of shows in the coming months and will be performing three nights in a row in Garwood, New Jersey along with Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem, so be sure to check him out.
After a brief intermission and a time to grab a beverage or two, fans packed the floor of The Paramount awaiting the start of The Gaslight Anthem’s set. For many, it would be revisiting the band for the first time since the aforementioned show held two years prior at the venue. For others, it would be the second show in a year, having made the trip to Terminal 5 in New York City back in February to see them live. Whatever it may be, it was a night the audience was ready to kick back and enjoy a setlist of their favorite tunes from The Gaslight Anthem.
Getting the crowd moving right away, the heavy intro of “Handwritten” with its “Whoa-Oh” was a fitting beginning with a Pop-Punk perfect melody on guitar accompanying Fallon’s gritty vocals and Horowitz’ rapid fire drumming. Then“High Lonesome” did not break the pace as the band tore through another high energy tune to the crowds delight. Changing up the vibe a bit with the Heavy Metal intro of staccato power chord “Biloxi Parish,” the song never let up as the verses were driven along with plenty of intricate guitar work coupled with the powerful foundation.
Keeping the energy coming, “Meet Me by the River’s Edge” made it evident why the band often draws comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, and for this number the band gives a sly nod to the Boss as they sang, “No surrender, my Bobby Jean.” Being the titles of the first two songs on side two of Springsteen’s immortal 1984 Born in the U.S.A. album, The Gaslight Anthem track moved along quickly, with purpose and conviction in a fitting homage to Springsteen. Bringing on a lighter style, Honky-Tonk number “Film Noir” showed the band’s versatility as the lively tune was played with flagrant optimism and elegant joy. Mixing things up a bit, Fallon and company played a slowed down rendition of 2010’s “Boxer.” Making it a lesson in Pop-Punk mastery, loud, crunchy guitars, rapid-fire drumming, and non-stop agitated singing brought the song together seamlessly.
A run through Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ “Refugee” was an interesting break from the band’s catalog as they turned up the distortion for a heavy take on the classic Rock stalwart. Clearly having fun, The Gaslight Anthem was treated by the audience singing along to the chorus. Turning back to their original material, and leaning on their Alternative sound, “1,000 Years” was a neat slice of Rock-n-Roll with a funky bass line, followed by a break later in the song with a repetitive guitar run over quiet drumming as well as more subdued bass. Emanating from the stage, music flowed into listeners eardrums sounding like a band that had been in the game for well over twenty years as opposed to being less than ten years removed from their debut.
About midway through the show they went into newer track “Have Mercy,” which was a dark dirge that despite hinting at taking off, stayed true to the melancholy, Velvet Underground feel from beginning to end. Simple strumming on guitar, brilliantly muffled vocals, and a sense of despair and dread persisted throughout the nearly five minute track. Proving once again that The Gaslight Anthem are not a one-trick pony, they ditched the Pop aspects and went into “1930,” a straight-up Punk powerhouse. Careening along at an insane pace with blaring guitars and dangerously fast drumming, the tune came in at a little under four minutes, but it felt like four seconds. Going back into their extensive list of influences, they jammed out a truly deep cover in “Once Upon a Time” by Robert Bradford’s Blackwater Surprise, providing excellent yin to the yang of “1930” with its Roots-Rock feel and gentle melody. Aching vocals were pushed along by breezy guitars and unhurried drumming. Despite its shadowy feel, it was a potent take on a tune probably only a handful of folks recognized.
Bringing the volume back up, “Howl” saw the band tear through another Pop-Punk gem and keep the crowds intrigue. Keeping up the pace was “American Slang,” which turned down the angst a few notches as the band delivered another choice Alternative Rock cut, while 2008’s album title-track “The 59 Sound” circled right back into more frenzied Punk music as the band’s sound echoed the best of the late ’90s Punk revival sound that swept the nation. Without taking a break, the band went right into The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” to close out the show. Despite this being the last song of the night, the band’s energy was hard to believe. The crowd reciprocated by jumping up and down from start to finish and drowning out the band for the “Teenage Wasteland” refrain. Putting a stamp on the show, Fallon handed his guitar off to a roadie and hopped on drums for the extended outro playing along with Horowitz and having the audience roaring in approval.
Those looking for a night loaded with a variety of sounds, unbridled passion, large doses of Punk and Pop-Punk, and an all-around good time, The Gaslight Anthem is the perfect fix. The band is long on talent, steeped in fun, battle-tested, and completely devoid of pretense. With the recent announcement of an indefinite hiatus following their European tour, which ends on August 30th at Reading and Leeds Festival in England, fans can only hope they are back sooner rather than later.