We’ve been big fans of The Gaslight Anthem for a long time now and we’re big fans of their records here at Already Heard. In our eyes they’re always welcome over here and it’s always a pleasure to watch them live…or is it?
Most people reading will be aware of the Brixton Academy; a typical academy type venue favoured by the larger contemporary rock acts. Legendary gigs happen here, the atmosphere makes it as well as the band. So what happened on the Monday night? Was everyone given sleeping pills free with every drink they purchased?
Starting proceedings tonight is Dave Hause, armed with little more than a guitar and his voice; a brave move indeed. Having witnessed Mr. Hause on last years ‘Revival Tour’ and being pleasantly surprised we were anticipating a similar enjoyment. Sadly said enjoyment did not arrive. Opting to switch between acoustic guitar and an electric, it just didn’t work. The songs played on the acoustic guitar sounded right. The songs played on the electric felt half-finished and lacking. Were they lacking a full band to beef them up a little? Dave Hause certainly knows his way round a song and how to write them. (3/5)
Up next are two-piece Blood Red Shoes. Being honest I were intrigued as to how these noise merchants would fare on a much larger stage than they are used to. Having witnessed them smash smaller club venues over the past few years and being big fans of their output they did us proud. Thankfully they sound massive, the newer tracks from recent album ‘In Time To Voices’ sound like they’re made for stages this size. They play a mixed set-list from their back catalogue and seem to be really buzzing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Blood Red Shoes made a few new fans that night. (4/5)
After what felt like an entirety The Gaslight Anthem take to the stage to seemingly no reaction. What is this? The national accountant convention. Choosing to open with ‘Mae’ taken from new album ‘Handwritten’ certainly not what we were hoping for at all; we expected them to burst on stage and lay waste to Brixton Academy.
The band plays a long and varied set which is enjoyable due to the variety of songs on offer. The band dips into their back catalogue and treats fans to some older material including ‘Film Noir’ from their acclaimed album ‘The 59 Sound.’ As well as going even further back into their catalogue and playing tracks such as ‘Angry Johnny and The Radio’ and ‘Boom Boxes and Dictionaries’ from début album and fan favourite ‘Sink or Swim.’ It’s certainly nice to hear the odd rarity from larger bands with such a vast repertoire to choose from.
It’s worth mentioning the sound is completely shocking; the lead guitar is completely lost in the dreadful mix. As I mentioned at the start the crowd certainly didn’t help matters at all. It’s a far older crowd than your usual gig but surely these people want to let their thinning hair down and enjoy themselves a little bit.
An odd one from our point of view; I hoped for so much more but perhaps The Gaslight Anthem were having “one of those days” Credit for the variety of the set list on offer and it was nice to hear the older songs but we’ve certainly seen them in better venues and give a better performance. (4/5)