Live Report: The Gaslight Anthem at the Hollywood Palladium (Sept 17, 2022)

For their triumphant return to Hollywood after a multiyear hiatus, The Gaslight Anthem came equipped with Jersey pride (as could be seen from their backing banner), Brian Fallon‘s signature goofy, non-sequitur banter, and barrage of fiery rock songs to work the sold out Hollywood Palladium crowd into a fury.

Tigers Jaw

Joining TGA on their tour was Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Tigers Jaw. The group meshes the sounds of early aughts emo, twee alt-pop and indie rock, and clearly had some very endeared fans at the show who would hold their hands to their hearts as they sang along to every lyric. While not a band I strongly gravitate towards, I could definitely appreciate the moments when they let their guitars wale into chugging, head banging riffs, as well as the male/female harmonizing. Their drummer was also A+, showing off a versatility with timing and tempo changes. Songs like their new single “Old Clothes” showed their knack for pensive pop hooks with math-rock guitar noodling, and their streaming hit “Plane vs Tank vs Submarine” rode a folky acoustic melody into a complex instrumental.

A group near me were taking audience bets as to what song The Gaslight Anthem would open with. My money was on “Great Expectations”, but the reward went to the couple that chose “Get Hurt”, the slow-burning title track from the band’s last album of the same name. It certainly warmed up the audience for the rest of the night, where singing along was almost a requirement. If that song was meant to warm up the audience’s vocals, it was the next song “Handwritten” which really got the blood pumping in the room. That anthemic track, with it’s many “whoaas” and needle-drop moments is a pure example of what the band does so well.

It wouldn’t be a Gaslight show without the in-between banter that Fallon does so well. During his first audience address of the night, Fallon greatly expressed his love for California and the audience, saying he would kiss us all on the lips if not for the germs. Throughout the evening, he would have a number of goofy interactions with his band (having all of them rate The Strokes) and the audience, arguing with them over requests (he clearly stated on twitter he would only take requests from well-made signs), and had a very cute dialogue with an eight year old on a guardian’s shoulders about sweat words.

The Gaslight Anthem

The band still managed to find time for some songs too. While there were a surprising amount of deep cuts from Handwritten and Get Hurt, they made sure to sprinkle in songs from their entire catalogue. After “Mae”, the band broke out the bluesy “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and then drove into the high-velocity punk oldie “Drive”. The soaring “1,000 Years” was a welcome cut from Get Hurt, but I had trouble recognizing “Underneath the Ground” from the same album. As I said – they went deep.

One of the things I love about TGA is their songwriting range, being able to go from the fast punk of “Drive” to the soul and gospel-tinged “The Diamond Church Street Choir”, which they snapped into next. They also have mastered the heartfelt acoustic song (shown off with excellent versions of “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” and later with “National Anthem”, which Fallon admitted was inspired by a photo of Lana Del Rey) and heavy grunge (“Stay Vicious”, which appropriately followed a tribute to the Singles soundtrack with TGA covering Mother Love Bone‘s “Chloe Dancer” and Pearl Jam‘s “State of Love and Trust”).

After another welcome oldie “Wooderson”, Fallon told a story about their producer Ted Hutt teaching the band about super-tuning, and for the first time on this tour played “Miles Davis & The Cool”, dedicating it to Hutt and “Yasi” (I’m guessing Yasi Salek of Bandsplain). As the show entered its final act, the band played only one other song from American Slang (and surprisingly it wasn’t the title track), crushing the nostalgia-trashing “Old Haunts”. I love American Slang, so was a little disappointed not to get 1-2 more tracks from that album, but that is how it goes.

I certainly didn’t mind hearing the Handwritten b-side “Blue Dahlia” next, before the group closed with a series of favorites; “Great Expectations” got a circle pit started, but that hushed down for the elegiac “National Anthem”. Things got roaring again though with the one-two punch of “45” and “The ’59 Sound”, two of the band’s most epic and memorable songs. As the group waved their goodbyes to the audience, Fallon could be seen hugging each band member before leaving the show himself.

Following the show, I could barely talk, having used up my vocal power singing along to the final songs. Needless to say, the group’s new album will be one of my most anticipated of 2023. If you aren’t familiar with the group, you can get started by listening to them here!

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