On a hot sweaty night in a dank basement, The Gaslight Anthem lit up DC for a scorching preview of what’s going to be the tour for their new LP (due on the 24th, next Tuesday), HANDWRITTEN. NPR still has the album stream up for listening, go hear it here.
The always cool El Jefe Design had both full tour posters and a special one for this night made up. Dave Hause of Philly band The Loved Ones (who played with TGA last time they were in DC) impressed with a set of both TLO songs and tunes from his solo release, Resolutions.
The Gaslight Anthem hit the stage, time constraints making them eschew the usual leave-and-come-back routine regarding an encore, and they told us so upfront. The band ripped through a scorching, non-stop set of tunes that covered all their albums. By the time they got to The Backseat from The ‘59 Sound lp, there was crowd surfing going on. Fortunately the cast and crew from DC’s legendary 9:30 Club were there to keep us all safe.
This was a warmup show (man, it was hot!) in more ways than one for the tour, in a venue (U St Music Hall) about 1/3 the capacity of the 9:30. It was dark, crowded, hot… but TGA led us through their Jersey-meets-the Clash repertoire with an unrelenting passion. I have no idea how their guitar player was able to play in a sweatshirt with the hood pulled up - in a thin shirt and regular pants I was completely drenched 2 songs in.
Through the course of the setlist, musical shout-outs were given. Remember this post? The Hold Steady got referenced directly, with a significant portion of Constructive Summer quoted (“Raise a toast to St. Joe Strummer; I think he might’ve been our only decent teacher”), and even one for U2 (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”). The fans at this show knew all the words to every song in the TGA’s set. Even the songs from the unreleased new album like the single “45” were belted out, arms raised from the crowd. Their live show is highly recommended, and I hope HANDWRITTEN breaks them even bigger.
The supercool show poster is below. Here’s a tip - if you want to stash your merch, tip their Merch Guy nicely and he will keep your posters, etc. until after the show. Very cool option to offer up! Here’s another tip - take a close look at the cracked vinyl on the sleeve for the "45" single in the poster below; you’ll notice something it took me awhile to see. More photos coming up over at Photomixt.