Live on Pier 26: The Gaslight Anthem & The Hold Steady

If it’s raining, the Gaslight Anthem is probably playing.

I’ve seen the Gaslight Anthem two and half times, and yet I feel like I need to still listen to more of their music. I went through a phase where I listened to American Slang through for a bit, but then I got lazy and didn’t bother to really get into the ’59 Sound.

You have those bands where you listen to and you go “man, they’re really, really good,” but then you get distracted by something. Not really anything in particular, but you’ll be sitting doing homework and you’re in the library and about to pack up, and all of a sudden you’ll go Hmm, I should have listened to the Gaslight Anthem. I need to listen to more of them.

Sort of random, but it happens.

Fortunately, these sort of thoughts are the precursor to an intense devotion to a band (or even other things like television shows or a type of food like cupcakes. Watch out if it’s cupcakes).

Anyway, despite the fact that I need to become more familiar with the Gaslight Anthem, I have a special place in my heart for them because they were the first band that I ever saw at Lollapalooza with my family, and it was raining then as well.

I remember it well – we walked into the park, and there were stages EVERYWHERE! It was calm in the park at this point, and there people milling about at this point. It was just after noon, and a little chilly and cloudy. The rain started as we were walking up to the stage and Gaslight was already playing.

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I don’t remember ever having a bigger or more carefree smile – this was the coolest thing ever, seeing the Gaslight Anthem play, being with my family listening, and knowing that this was just the beginning!

The second time I saw the Gaslight Anthem was also at Lolla, but it was in between sets and at one of the side stages. Personally, I think Gaslight is better with a big stage and a large, sprawling audience that they can croon to. Putting them off to the side in the trees is a disservice to their brawn as a band.

(I have to admit – during that set, it wasn’t raining).

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This past weekend, at Hudson River Park, was the best that I’ve ever seen them. (My only complaint was Brian Fallon throwing a hissy fit that the crowd wanted him to sing Bruce. You’re right next to Jersey, dude, and you’re a Jersey band. The comparison is going to be made, and is going to be made for a long, long time). Fallon’s vocals were amazing in the large venue. Along the water, the city lit up as night began to fall and a warm breeze came into the pier area, and the songs seemed to fit the scene so well.

The Hold Steady was also a ton of fun to watch. My favorite part – watching Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles sing as a “birthday present.”

My goal? To actually give the Gaslight Anthem the attention it deserves. And be able to watch them for a full set without it raining.

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