The venue was Sydney’s iconic Enmore Theatre and the band is one of New Jersey’s finest The Gaslight Anthem.
Marrying this venue and band was always going to be a perfect combination.
First up on stage was Chris Farren a Florida based musician and front man for the band Fake Problems. With just himself a microphone and guitar he was able to captivate the venue that was starting to fill up. A lone spotlight adorned him as he recited his angsty depressing yet beautiful tunes looking like Orlando Bloom’s hipster love child.
Fake Problems have been around since 2005 so Chris is no stranger to the stage. His songs were full of descriptive relatable storytelling and it looked as though he was gaining a lot of new fans from the intrigued respectful crowd.
Chris let the audience know it was his first time in Australia and how grateful he was to be here. Although explaining a drunk lady approached him after the Brisbane show asking why must all of his songs be to do with misery. Laughing it off he told her “lady no one wants to hear me sing happy songs”. Chris played for close to half an hour and seemed to thoroughly enjoy every minute along with his new fans.
After a short break and once many more punters had entered the venue the time had come for The Gaslight Anthem to grace the stage. The Gaslight Anthem are no strangers to Australian shores having visited many times since their first time back in 2008. Their crowd numbers have kept growing with every visit due to them producing solid albums and building a reputation for memorable live shows.
The band wasted no time getting to what the do best starting out with “59th sound” which is an instant crowd favourite and what better way to kick off the set. Then seamlessly flowing into “handwritten” another classic Gaslight track. The crowd was at full voice singing every word.
They then touched on tracks from their ever growing catalogue with some standout tracks being “old white Lincoln” and “old haunts”. The crowd didn’t let up continuing to provide backing vocals for every track. Brian Fallon and band mates smiled throughout feeding off the crowds energy.
After “old haunts” Brian Fallon spotted Chris Farren side of stage and called him over. Arm in arm he told the crowd how Chris was a great friend and actually booked The Gaslight Anthem on their very first real gig. Telling the crowd that Chris was very social media savvy.
Brian then asked Chris to tell the crowd of how he once was able to get free clothes by using twitter. Chris laughs then explains he simply tweeted years ago asking Columbia to send him some clothes and they did. Except the free clothes he kept getting were to large. Brian then told of his own attempt to use social media by trying to get Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to stock his favourite flavour in America. His favourite flavour Baked Alaska is only stoked in England but the rock front man’s wishes were only met with a obligatory put it in our suggestion box response. Chris then left the stage saying he is going to send some more tweets Ben & Jerry’s way. Then Brian commented on people getting their phones out to tweet saying Jack White hates phones at concerts but I don’t care at all.
Next up was the rocking track “stay lucky” which through the help of drummer Benny helped to pick up the pace. As soon as the song finished Brian spotted a young kid in the crowd telling him he looked like a cool kid. The young boys father then yelled out he is a drummer. The band then all looked at each other with smiles on their faces as they let the boy on stage. Benny handed him a pair of sticks as the young boy showed his skills on the kit whilst the band looked on. The boy left the stage to huge cheers from the crowd and I’m sure it’s a moment he will never forget.
Brian explained that The Gaslight Anthem don’t do encores so instead kept trucking through more tunes including “here comes my man” and “great expectations” which transported the crowd to a Jersey diner from decades ago.
Chris Farren joined Gaslight onstage for a cover of “songs for teenagers” originally done by Fake Problems. This was something pretty special to witness as bringing Chris to Australia and playing one of his song seemed like welcome payback for him helping their career early on.
The Gaslight Anthem finished their set with “backseats” which is a fast moving crowd favourite and sent the crowd out of the Enmore Theatre on a Gaslight high. The only thing that seemed out of place was that they hardly touched on the new album Get Hurt that they were promoting. After witnessing a two hour set by a band as on point as The Gaslight Anthem realistically at this stage in their career they can play whatever they like. I’m sure the crowd will be continuing their Gaslight punk rock love affair.
The Gaslight Anthem are not to be missed! Here’s the remaining Australian dates –
SUNDAY 1 FEBRUARY – SYDNEY, THE FACTORY – ‘By Request’
TUESDAY 3 FEBRUARY – MELBOURNE, THE FORUM
WEDNESDAY 4 FEBRUARY – MELBOURNE, PRINCE OF WALES ‘By Request’
THURSDAY 5 FEBRUARY – ADELAIDE, HQ
Here’s the set list from the night –
The ‘59 Sound
Old White Lincoln
Spirit of Jazz
Here Comes My Man
I’da Called You Woody, Joe
The Patient Ferris Wheel
She Loves You
Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
I Coulda Been A Contender
Songs For Teenageers
Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
photos by Christian Ross