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I had been looking forward to seeing The Gaslight Anthem again. I love their New Jersey sound and the music that makes me want to jump and dance and scream along at the top of my lungs. Remembering their last concert in Cologne I was waiting for a night of forgeting all worries. Even though their lyrics are far from “happy-go-lucky” their gigs usually turn into a big party with pogoing, dancing and crowd surfing. All this went on this time around as well and I’m sure most of the audience was happy with it. I personally thought it was good, but it could have been better.
The best part of the evening was Dave Hause’s set . Considering he was the first of two support acts and only got to play for 30 minutes, that’s a bit sad but unfortunately true. When he started playing, I was pleasantly surprised. I had seen him on The Revival Tour last year, but had completely forgotten just how much I liked his music. I thoroughly enjoyed his set, even though I hardly remembered any of the songs he played. It was like discovering him all over again. Most people at the front and center had been touring with The Gaslight Anthem and sang along each of his songs as well. He loved it and commented several times just how much he appreciated their support. The applause he received was well deserved. It was a good start and after Dave Hause left the stage I was ready for The Gaslight Anthem.
Unfortunately they had another support act: Blood Red Shoes, a drummer and (female) guitarist duo and both sang. That did not work for me at all. The drums were too loud, the guitar was too low, the guy screamed into the microphone more than he sang and I didn’t hear much of the woman. The music was punkish and the lyrics somewhat repetitive – it completely failed to move me. A few songs sounded OK and if the mix had been better, I might have liked those, but as it was, I just waited for the set to be over. Therefore all the good vibes that Dave Hause had brought had vanished into thin air by the time Blood Red Shoes ended their 40 minute set. Not to mention that the strobe lights they used, which left me somewhat blinded and were a photographer’s nightmare.
Luckily it only took 20 minutes to change the stage and The Gaslight Anthem started. They were greeted enthusiastically as they walked on stage. Singer Brian Fallon made a remark of being back for the second night in a row: “lets make it three nights next time”. The guys sang and played their hearts out from the beginning, but I had some trouble getting back into the mood. The wait had just been a bit too long for my liking.
They did play a good set, though, and nicely mixed songs from their latest album “Handwritten” with earlier tracks, hits with lesser-known songs. Brian entertained us with comments and stories about other bands, but wasn’t so talkative otherwise. The guys certainly enjoyed playing and the audience loved them. There was a lot of dancing and even some crowd surfing going on. They played some of my favorites too, so I got into the mood about halfway through their main set. It took about an hour and 15 minutes and we called them back after for a few song encore. They ended it all with “Great Expectation”, surely one of the highlights and one of the better-known songs. For the fans it was probably much more fun to hear “Señor and the Queen” from the EP with the same title, or “I´da Called You Woody, Joe”, from the first album.
There was a lot of yelling for more when they left the stage and I was convinced they would come out again, but the lights went on and it was over. While I enjoyed their set, it seemed much too short, especially compared to the two support acts. So overall the show was good and fun, but left me with a touch of disappointment, because it ended way too soon. It was worth seeing, but it didn’t touch me as much as it could have.
+ photos: Stefanie Oepen
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