Monday, September 15, 2014

Concert Review - The Gaslight Anthem, Jimmy Eat World, and Against Me!

On Friday, September 12th, I attended The Gaslight Anthem concert at The Mann Center in Philadelphia. They played with Jimmy Eat World and Against Me! Since their is no Cheap Pop Culture this week, I decided to fill this spot with a review of the concert. This is my first concert review, so *WARNING*, it's gonna suck ass. But I'll give a try.

Note: For every album I mention in the article, I put a link to the album on iTunes. If you can, please support these bands if you like what you hear. Thanks.

The Gaslight Anthem is one of my favorite bands out right now. I have been a huge fan of the band ever since I first heard their 2008 album The 59 Sound  back when it first came out. To see them grow and evolve to where they are now is insane. Also, they are from Jersey, so what's not to love? And even after loving the band for so many years, I had NEVER seen them live. Ever.

So when I heard they were coming to Philadelphia with another one of my favorite bands, Jimmy Eat World, I knew I couldn't miss this. I bought the tickets as soon as they went on sale. I had a feeling for months this would be a night to remember, and boy was I right.

Before I break down all 3 bands that performed and the set lists I want to take this time to praise the venue this was held at. This concert took place at The Mann Center in Philadelphia. The Mann Center has been around awhile but this concert was outside on the "Skyline Stage" which just opened a few years ago. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. From the bar/eating area to the scenery, the whole atmosphere of the place was amazing. On top of that the weather was PERFECT for an outdoor concert. Also, I got there early enough to get close to the stage, since all the seating is GA, which also enhanced the experience being so close. If you ever hear of a favorite band or artist of yours playing The Mann, GO. You won't regret it.

So, lets get into the bands shall we?


Out of the 3 bands that played on this night, Against Me! was the one I was the least familiar with. I had heard a few songs by them before, but never really dove into their catalog. Sad to say, but the most I knew about them was that their front man (at the time) Tom Gabel came out as transgender woman in 2012, after suffering from gender dysphoria since childhood. Gabel, now named Laura Jane Grace, had seen a ton of support from people in the rock community, with one of those people being Brian Fallon, the lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem. So it was only natural that Brian asked them to come on tour with the band. Man, am I glad they did.

I didn't know much about Against Me! before this show, but I wont forget their name now. They were the PERFECT opener. They got the crowd moving, and a shit ton of people knew all the words to their songs. It was a great performance and they really set the tone and atmosphere for the rest of the night. Laura has such a great stage presence, and you can tell she was enjoying every minute up there. The drummer for the band, Atom Willard, was killing it behind the drums, both in this set, and a set later on in the night that I'll get into later.

Overall, These guys made a fan out of me. I already started digging through their discography, starting with Transgender Dysphoria Blues, their most recent release. You should definitely give it a listen, it's really fucking good.

  1. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
  2. New Wave
  3. Walking Is Still Honest
  4. FuckMyLife666
  5. Unconditional Love
  6. Cliché Guevara
  7. Don't Lose Touch
  8. Transgender Dysphoria Blues
  9. I Was a Teenage Anarchist
  10. Thrash Unreal
  11. White Crosses
  12. True Trans Soul Rebel

After Against Me! got the crowd hot, it was time for Jimmy Eat World to take the stage. I have been a fan of these guys even longer than I have been a fan of The Gaslight Anthem. I remember first listening to Bleed American (AKA Self Titled) in full in late 2001/early 2002 and loving it. I can relate to that album a lot these days, and I can still listen to it without skipping a track. To me, it's the best album the band has put out.

Anyway, they took the stage, and man did they not disappoint. They were banging out tracks left and right, playing all of their major hits except "Pain" off of the album Futures, which makes sense, since they will touring for the 10 year anniversary of that album next month, so they will be playing that song a ton. They also played a bunch of deep cuts, as well as some fan favorites. They also played my 2 favorite songs of theirs, Bleed American and Let It Happen! I figured that both those songs would make it into the set, but I still flipped out when I heard them start playing both those songs.

Jimmy Eat World has a stellar set and had some great interaction with the fans as well. They really had their A game on, and I was happy as hell to finally get to see them perform live. Will for sure see them again next time they are around.

 1. A Praise Chorus
 2. Big Casino
 3. My Best Theory
 4. Get It Faster
 5. Lucky Denver Mint
 6. Appreciation
 7. Let It Happen
 8. Work
 9. Futures
10. 23
11. I Will Steal You Back
12. Bleed American
13. Sweetness
14. The Middle


Then, it was time for the grand finale, The Gaslight Anthem. I mentioned in the Against Me! section of the review, Atom Willard, the drummer for Against Me!, played 2 sets night: The Against Me! set and The Gaslight Anthem set. The Gaslight Anthem came on at the beginning of their set and said that their drummer, Benny Horowitz, had a emergency and had to go home so he wouldn't be behind the kit tonight. So Atom from Against Me! filled in for him. He learned 12 songs in only a few hours! He did great for having to learn the songs on such short notice.

The band fucking killed it. They played a great diverse set, taking from all 5 of their albums. They even  played a few songs off of Sink or Swim, the bands debut album. The song "The 59 Sound" was even better live, and the new single currently impacting radio, "Get Hurt" (from the bands great new album Get Hurt) was amazing with everybody in the crowd singing every word.

After the first 12 songs, the band said that Atom had only enough time to learn those songs, and that the band was gonna switch things up a bit to the end the set, by doing the last 8 songs acoustic. This was the best part of the whole show to me. It was great hearing stripped down versions of some of my favorite songs, including "Blue Jeans and White T-shirts", "Navesink Banks", and "Break Your Heart". They even ended with "1930" from their first album, which made the place go absolutely nuts.

Even down a drummer, the band still put on an incredible performance to finish up the night. Atom Willard looked like he had been playing those songs his whole life, and the acoustic set at the end was fucking incredible. The boys in The Gaslight Anthem did not disappoint. If they are coming to your are, go see them. They are definitely worth it.

 1. Stay Vicious
 2. Wooderson
 3. Rollin' And Tumblin' 
 4. The '59 Sound
 5. Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
 6. Get Hurt
 7. Howl
 8. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
 9. American Slang
10. Great Expectations
11. Stray Paper
12. The House of the Rising Sun (Ashley & Foster Cover)
13. Dark Places (acoustic)
14. Have Mercy (acoustic)
15. The Navesink Banks (acoustic)
16. She Loves You (acoustic)
17. Break Your Heart (acoustic)
18. High Lonesome (acoustic)
19. Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts (acoustic)
20. 1930 (acoustic)

Overall, all 3 bands put on an amazing show, and gave me a night I will never forget. I have been to a ton of concerts, but this was the best one I had been to in awhile. If any of these 3 bands come to your area, please go see them. You won't regret it.