The Gaslight Anthem Bring The ’59 Sound Back To New Jersey
When it comes to musical talent New Jersey is an often overlooked birthplace to some of the best musicians the world has seen. That’s right I said it… “best”. Let me fill you in on some musical geography. Greats like Bon Jovi, George Clinton, David Cassidy, Debbie Harry, Whitney Houston, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, and Frankie Valli have all called the Garden State home.
A lot of that history all leads back to the shore town of Asbury Park. Throughout the years Asbury has welcomed the music and arts community with open arms. Venues like Wonder Bar, Asbury Lanes, The Paramount Theatre, and of course the iconic Stone Pony have all housed some of the biggest names in all genres both legends and newcomers alike. It’s a community; always has been and always will be.
So when word got out that New Brunswick’s The Gaslight Anthem would be celebrating the tenth anniversary of their iconic record The ‘59 Sound, New Jersey-ites went nuts!
Nearly more than a decade ago in the New Brunswick punk scene, The Gaslight Anthem became increasingly aware of a record’s ability to warm one’s heart, save a life, or just simply implant an everlasting memory into the brain. That record was and still is 2008’s The ‘59 Sound.
Ten years ago, an upcoming punk rock band from NJ ventured off to Los Angeles. It was there where they worked on their second album. Little did Gaslight know, they had created a masterpiece that both defined the band and drastically changed their career forever.
The ’59 Sound is an album filled with influences ones that only make sense when you truly listen to it, all of it. An album that, even 10 years later, is a record that easily stands the test of time and stands out among all others from the period.
Lead singer and guitarist Brian Fallon constructed narratives of long memorable Jersey nights, lyrics similar to the likes of Sam Cooke and Bruce Springsteen. The rest of the band constructed timeless and punk-infused modern classic rock like nobody had before. It was a sound capable of tidal wave-like mosh pits at one moment and weightless crowd-surfing the next. So it’s only fitting that for the current reunion tour, the band’s first time playing together since their hiatus was announced back in 2015, the Gaslight Anthem is paying tribute to their own legacy.
Sunday night I made my way down to Asbury Park’s The Stone Pony, a town I’ve spent many summers in my youth and a venue I’ve seen some of my favorite bands at. This show marked the third and final show of not only the homecoming but also the end to the current reunion tour, something that quite frankly we may never see again.
This night at the Stone Pony, it was incredibly touching to see how much these songs still mean and how much these musicians have grown and experienced life over the last decade. GTA would take the stage one more time for now and deliver the entire album. Just like the band’s Friday and Saturday show’s, Sunday was also packed front to back in the Pony’s outdoor Summer Stage. On a breezy cool night Asbury would celebrate with the Jersey born and bred one more time.
The unforgettable guitar intro of “Great Expectations” came in with a cool breeze off the ocean that grazed over the crowd. Followed by the memorable “Old White Lincoln”. But possibly the evenings overtly nostalgic moment came in the form of the deep-cut “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.”
Most notably during song’s chorus vocalist Fallon sang the lyrics “I still love Tom Petty songs and driving old men crazy.” While Fallon professing his love for Petty is nothing new, those lyrics now have taken on a new meaning since the legends death last year. The 2018 version of “Cowgirls,” Fallon has now includes some of Petty’s classic ballad “Wildflowers.”
Sunday’s show was also a realization that The Gaslight Anthem have become the classic rockers they’ve been referencing since the beginning. The current tour brings clarity to the bands longevity and also marks The ’59 Sound’s place in one of New Jersey’s many contributions to the rock ‘n’ roll genre. The show aside from being the complete sophomore record also featured selections from a wide span the band’s career. Tunes like “Stay Vicious”, “1930”, and “Handwritten” had fans singing and crowd surfing their way to the front.
Three shows and three epic sets, lead to an unknown future for The Gaslight Anthem, However these shows proved just how much Jersey missed the band and even a decade later how much staying power this band actually has. What we do know is the band’s vocalist Brian Fallon released his solo album Sleepwalkers in February.
He will be promoting that album via an acoustic co-headlining tour with Craig Finn of the Hold Steady beginning Tuesday, October 2nd at the Royale in Boston. Fallon will also be returning to play the Asbury Park Press Stage at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank on Friday, October 5th.
Fallon and Finn’s other dates include the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 6th, and the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on October 7th and 8th. The tour officially wraps up October 27th in Denver. Mercy Union which is Jersey based band featuring Gaslight’s Benny Horowitz on drums, will release its debut album The Quarry on October 19th and will play in Garwood, NJ at Crossroads the day before. So if you’re as bummed as me and missing The Gaslight Anthem already at least you can kind of get your fix and support the members other projects and hey… while you do, you can gently nudge them for a new Gaslight album as well.
You can also pick up the bands special release titled The ‘59 Sound Sessions Here.