The Gaslight Anthem: I finally saw the band that provided the soundtrack to my lockdown perform live in Glasgow

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It’s quarter past nine, on an extremely murky rain-soaked Monday in the depths of March, and yet there’s not a square foot of space available in Glasgow’s famous theatre-like 02 Academy. The Gaslight Anthem strut on stage to a rapturous, almost fairytale-like applause from the sell out, deeply immersed, eager to rock Glasgow crowd.

It would be disingenuous of me to say I had been a lifelong fan of The Gaslight Anthem, however what I can say in truth is that my passion once sparked has never decreased. 

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In the darkest of pandemic lockdown uncertainty and by complete chance - or perhaps fated destiny - I stumbled upon their Springsteen-inspired blend of punk, blues, hard-edged soulful rock and roll, and discovered Brian Fallon, the humble voice of a defiant, outsider-empowered generation.

Opening with I Live In The Room Above Her, one of the many stand-out tracks from the brilliant new album History Books, although a slight surprise, is certainly no disappointment, and beautifully sets the mood for a night of melodic, gravelly, harmonic connection between band and crowd.

It’s simply sheer comforting relief that the band are indeed back together, performing at their peak and creating some of their most infectious blend of rocky-punk-blues to date.

Supporting artist Emily Wolfe, was a stand out performance prior to the band. The Weatherman and deep cut Blue Jeans and White T Shirt, two track duet was a real highlight, songs that genuinely sound as if they’re mined from the shattered memories of broken hopes and dreams.

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Whether you went along knowing only their most recognisable songs, such as 59 Sound and Biloxi Parish, or could draw as if plucking from the air itself, the intro guitar strings from Sink or Swim’s 17-year-old Commandment-like tracks such as I Could Have Been a Contender, 1930 or We’re Getting a Divorce, the band had the crowd in the palm of their hand.

Glasgow is notorious for being a full on boisterous crowd but there was space for intimate, almost candlelight-lit moments. There were, of course, countless instances where, matched perfectly with the captivating on-stage lighting, the group’s silhouettes Exploded into Electric Light.

Mae, Mulholland Drive, and Blue Dahlia were musical moments to remember, and have only further grown in evocative power after seeing them played live.

It’s rare that the expectations created in your mind, especially those built during the most uncertain time of the modern era are wish-fulfilled, and yet The Gaslight Anthem inspired musical dreams into a reality for the Glasgow crowd, whether they were die-hard, dyed in the wool decade-plus long fans or simply those lucky enough to discover their music when it mattered most.

Setlist included below

I Live in The Room Below Her

1,000 years


Biloxi Parish

The Patient Ferris Wheel

Red Violins

Spider Bites

Underneath The Ground

Blue Dahlia

Old Haunts

Spirit of Jazz


The Weatherman with Emily Wolfe


Mulholland Drive


Michigan, 1975


‘59 Sound

The Backseat

We’re Getting a Divorce

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