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Gaslight Anthem bare it all at the Sound Academy

Posted by Ryan Bolton / November 27, 2012

gaslight anthem torontoThe kids are into Gaslight Anthem. It's a fact; they sell out Sound Academy and pack it with a mainly male audience dressed in black, sporting tattoos and their girlfriends in tow (also avec tattoos), and everyone hangs off of every emotive lyric.

gaslight anthem torontoGaslight have a good thing going. They play straight-up blue collar rock (and sure, the Boss influence is definitely there), but they offer their own take on the genre. No synths. No odd get-ups. No distracting light show. Just solid stage presence, an earnest, give-it-all lead singer in Brian Fallon, and straight-up rock with a tinge of punk for good measure. It's just too bad it was at the piss-poor Sound Academy.

gaslight anthem torontoThe opening act of The Joy Formidable, a Welsh trio, deserve a mention. Catching most of their set (I wanted to ensure the Argos had it in the bag; good on you, boys), the one-album-in Brits know how to play their instruments. They jammed out most of their songs--and it got loud. Well, I know it caught the gaggle of Mississauga bros behind me off guard, anyway.

Speaking of which, I understand it was an all-ages show and you're out on a Sunday night, but calm the fuck down. You don't need to be constantly running around at a packed concert. Get your drink, jump around when Fallon gets you excited, and piss when you need to. You don't need, however, to cross the venue sixty times pushing through the crowd to show off your nifty hairdo, or whatever the hell you're doing.

gaslight anthem torontoApologies, I had to get that off my chest. Anyway, The Joy Formidable also have one of the coolest music videos I've seen. Take the three minutes and watch this.

Back to Fallon and Co. Having launched Handwritten, their fourth effort back in the summer, the band has really honed their Jersey rock anthems. It's all a little louder, ever-honest lyrically (Fallon really does lay it bare), and tighter overall. And now being seasoned performers, this all the more pronounced in their live shows.

gaslight anthem torontoFrom opening the nearly two-hour set with the newer "Mae" to following up with arguably their biggest hit, "The '59 Sound," to "Old White Lincoln" right behind it, the crowd was theirs for the taking. They even tossed in a little Misfits (fellow New Jersey boys) with a cover of "Astro Zombies" for good measure.

gaslight anthem torontoAs they barreled through 17 songs, a Gaslight show wouldn't be complete with at least a five-song encore. So they played another six ditties, closing the night with the whole crowd singing along, hands raised above heads, to "Backseat."


The '59 Sound
Old White Lincoln
Here Comes My Man
Miles Davis and the Cool
The Diamond Church Street Choir
American Slang
Too Much Blood
The Queen of Lower Chelsea
Casanova, Baby!
Blue Dahlia
Astro Zombies
Great Expectations


Mulholland Drive
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Here's Looking at You, Kid
The Backseat

Photos by Dylan Leeder



KLF / November 27, 2012 at 09:26 am
I was there and it was awesome!!

Only thing- i'm 37 and female and missed the tattoo trend :)

And my husband was home with our daughter
(Admittedly, he does have a tattoo)

So maybe ease up a bit on the "girls tag along with their boyfriends" bit?

DL / November 27, 2012 at 09:36 am
Good show, and agreed the crowd was a little stir crazy or something. But, good show!
K / November 27, 2012 at 11:03 am
Wonderful show. The crowd was certainly divided between blue-collar urbanites and the mississauga strong-hold. But more power to the band to cross over such a diverse crowd.

I may have shed a tear or two during Casanova, Baby!
Toronto Jim / November 27, 2012 at 09:54 pm
Why do I always see the Sound Academy bashing on this site.
If you were up on the balcony I understand because the sound does suck up there but otherwise it is usually the person mixing that is the problem from what I have seen at this club.
And I have been at a large cross section of shows at this venue.
Pokertoronto replying to a comment from Toronto Jim / November 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm
The Sound Academy is bashed because its a terrible venue in the middle of nowhere. In addition to being inconvenient to get to via public transit, parking is a GOUGE compared to 95% of Toronto venues. You can always count on a lineup or bottleneck down the steps because they ID/patdown most ticket holders, and to make matters worse the staff are rarely courteous/appreciative. On top of all that, its a bleak dark box with poor sightlines and terrible sound.
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