The second night of The Gaslight Anthem‘s sold out two-night stand at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club was quite a bit more raucous than the first. A balcony view offered fantastic perspective; numerous crowd surfers and a mosh pit created a swirling vortex of bodies, their intensity echoed on stage as the jackhammer-power drumming of Benny Horowitz led the band’s two-hour barrel race. The set list was familiar to those who also attended night one, but added the early gem “We Came to Dance” and incorporated numerous homages to their influences. To wit: the first verse/chorus of The Beatles’ “Come Together” was spliced into “Old White Lincoln,” a few lines from the chorus of Paul Westerberg’s “Waiting for Somebody” were worked into the bridge of “American Slang,” and they covered Bob Dylan’s “Changing of the Guards” and Robert Bradley’s “Once Upon a Time.” Lead singer/guitarist Brian Fallon was more talkative and familiar with the audience than the night before, telling the masses about his love for The Hives and hatred for “that show with Charlie Sheen and changing guitars.” He spoke of his affection for “Gossip Girl,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “The Gilmore Girls” and told stories about texting with Jon Bon Jovi. While the audience didn’t learn if Fallon was more Team Blair or Team Serena, it did see a band play with an energy level high enough to power a small city. (The 55,000 residents of New Brunswick, New Jersey, perhaps)?
Singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan opened the show. Those who reasonably expect that a solitary guy and his acoustic guitar could not possibly measure up to the power of the five-man Gaslight would be seriously underestimating Ryan’s unique talent. His music spoke artfully about the human condition, and when paired with his raspy voice his songs emote an otherworldly beauty that can tear a heart into pieces. He even joined Fallon towards the end of Gaslight’s set both nights to sing “I Can’t Steal You,” a track from Ryan’s 2003 record, Happiness. For the 45 minutes Ryan’ spent on stage, it was nice to hear what a perfect world sounded like.
Our pictorial review of both artists, after the jump.
The Gaslight Anthem
Additional photos from both sets/both nights can be seen here.