The Gaslight Anthem at Leeds 2010
Listening to a record by The Gaslight Anthem you feel like you are being given a chance to enjoy something that you aren't going to be able to get from anywhere else. One of the most distinct sounding rock acts on the scene at the minute, there isn't any loss of what makes them so special when it comes to performing live.
When they took to the stage early Friday afternoon, it wasn't easy to tell whether it was the product of smoke machines or just a shroud of pure testosterone framing the New Jersey four-piece. Striking visually as well as aurally, I hesitate to say they looked 'very smart' for fear of sounding like a brooding parent... but they did. The fifties theme that is quite intrinsic to all things Gaslight serves them well and becomes one of the mighty pillars of their unique and towering stature. Classic material like 'Great Expectations' and 'Old White Lincoln' did everything they should, bursting forward with gravelly energy and punkiness. New material from 'American Slang' had a fantastic dose of Springsteen written through it like a stick of delicious star-spangled rock. But! And, this is a big but. Note one 't'. The crowd, for some reason, were just not biting.
It was really hard to figure out. It was a scorching set from a band that can hold a stage and perform their music live to the quality of their well produced albums; a band that was charming and polite and did all they could to welcome the crowd to participate. It finally clicked when a young lad amid a gaggle of early teens skipped past me wearing a shirt upon which he had scrawled 'I smoke dick' in pen. It may have just not been the right crowd. Reading and Leeds are well renowned for being youngster-friendly, however the high number of these youngsters in a crowd for The Gaslight Anthem may have left the set to unfortunately fall a little flat. It may have been an audience to suit a poppier-punk band with plenty of opportunities to bounce about, but the raw rock of a band like this may have not captivated them quite so effectively.
A reliably fabulous set from an incredible band that, through no fault of their own, somehow managed to get a little lost.