The Gaslight Anthem
The Soft White Sixties
Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012
Fox Theater, Oakland
Better than: What's going down at the Fox Theater on Oct. 2.
After quickly throwing on their instruments, the band used the epic pause in the Fugazi song to make a thrilling transition right into the title track of their LP, American Slang, thus opening their set.
Singer Brian Fallon's vocals were on point tonight, filling the room and captivating the audience. Behind him, the band sounded as good, if not better, than it does on records. But just about all the members of the Gaslight Anthem did was play their songs really well. There was no pageantry or flare here, just some dudes making good ol' fashioned rock 'n' roll with storytelling lyrics. With incense burning on the amps and the band members casually joking among themselves onstage about mutual friends the crowd doesn't know, the show felt like an intimate look at the band -- almost like an episode of Behind the Music.
Brian Fallon didn't say anything to the crowd until the band was done rocking through the first chunk of six or so songs. After he did introduce himself and the band, he spoke to the crowd -- which spent the majority of night singing along, pogoing, and throwing their hands in the air -- like we were old friends. He joked about their drummer having to obscure his political banter in between songs by hitting his drums because the group has been "playing a lot of red states." But he said he doesn't have to around us, because "You guys know what I am."
If you haven't heard, The Gaslight Anthem really love Bruce Springsteen. And it makes sense why -- they're both just a couple of New Jersey workin' class Ameri-rockers.
You get the sense of Fallon that he really wishes he was Springsteen. There is nothing wrong with that (who doesn't look in the mirror from time to time and wish they were The Boss?). The New York Times even wrote that Springsteen may see Fallon as his "heir apparent" after singing on stage with him, so it's not like Fallon is totally overreaching his legitimacy.
But Springsteen is 63 years old, and he still slides on his knees across the stage and slams his crotch into the camera. He grabs the mic stand and bends backwards all the way to the ground. The Boss goes hard. He gives you a show. Fallon? Not so much.
Next: A predictable encore and stage-diving disaster.