Call the Office in London Ontario, it’s a treasure in the live music scene, and the only place in my general area known well enough to capture the attention of the bands I love. It was there I sang with The Matches, watched The Weakerthans in awe…twice, almost passed out from the heat during A Streetlight Manifesto show and it was there I won a watch by stripping down to my boxers and running a lap around the bar. It holds a lot of memories for me so what better venue to see The Gaslight Anthem, the newest and best band to come out in a while.
I got to talk to Alex Rosamilia from the band, and it was a great conversation to say the least but here in text I won’t dwell on that too much because you can simply click play on the video above and watch for yourself. Here I’m going to recap the intensity of the live show, which followed about half an hour after I packed up my cameras and lights and went outside to wait in line with the rest of The Gaslight Anthems fans.
After an amazing set by The Saint Alvia Cartel (check them out and do yourselves a favor) The Gaslight Anthem hit the stage. Opening the show like they open their now seminal The ’59 Sound, Great Expectations erupted and so did they crowd. Everyone in the sold out bar started singing along, almost drowning out vocalist Brian Fallon’s vocals. Throughout the night this didn’t die down though, and for their entire set, which lasted well over an hour, the audience committed to the band that they were along for the ride. Word for word, note for note.
The set list contained every song of The ’59 Sound with samplings of Sink or Swim thrown in. We Came to Dance slid into The ’59 Sound which then slipped into Wooderson and so on and as anyone who has seen them live can attest too “sliding” is an appropriate word. The were a straight up performance band never taking a break except for when Fallon compared how great the all Canadian Tim Hortons is, compared to Starbucks. But every song, had its own extended melodic pieces on the beginning and end. These served as tool to slide from song to song and to keep the audience guessing as to which song would soon be possessing their vocal chords.
There were so many aspects to the show things that when watching made me realize how great of a band this really is and how much fun they are truly having performing. The bands smiles, winks and nods to each other told the crowd that they loved what they were doing and every song was performed with the intensity and passion as the one before it. Things like when the band slipped up and stopped playing and let the crowd finish singing out the verse before jumping back in showcased a feeling of mutual respect between band and fans. The subtle stage performance was greater than any flashy theatrics I had ever seen, things like the back to back playing between the two Alex’s at certain points, the smile that never left drummer Benny Horowitz’s face and Fallon twisting his hat to the beat during one part of Casanova Baby.
After leaving the stage and wishing everyone a good night the crowd erupted in a chant of “Bluejeans!” and the band returned to stage to play an encore featuring the previously mentioned Bluejeans and White T-shirts, I’da Called You Woody Joe and Angry Johnny and the Radio. All in all it was truly a concert I will never forget and the best thing is they sold out Call the Office, meaning at some point in the future, they’ll be coming back and I’ll get to relive a fantastic live show. If you ever get the chance to see them don’t hesitate because once there you’ll quickly realize why so many publications named them band of the year.