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Gaslight Anthem
W/ Murder By Death, The Loved Ones and Frank Turner
Chain Reaction – Anaheim, CA

Holy fuck. This was the best show I’ve been to in forever. Everything was smooth as silk, except parking. Fuck you, Target. Why would you start towing cars at 11? Eat my ass. Not that I got towed, just that I find it annoying.

Frank Turner started off the night, with just him and a guitar captivating everyone in the crowd, except for us, we had shit to do. We had to find this lycan-looking motherfucker from Murder By Death for an interview. So, while the two minutes of Frank Turner sounded decent, I had to go interrupt Murder By Death’s watching of Metalocalypse to bust out an interview.

With business finally behind us, Caitlin and I went back inside to enjoy the barre chord punk styling’s of The Loved Ones. Why the front man was wearing a hoodie when it was hot as hell inside, no one will ever know. There’s only so much of the same song structure one can stand, so we went out to the little alley/smoking patio and talked shit on Mondo. By the way, Mondo, your lovely lady friend with the purple hair did not have your back when I spent five minutes flipping you off behind your back.

Murder By Death has all the makings of a gimmick band- a chick who plays cello, an ironic band name, and a singer whose mutton chops are nothing short of epic. However, with the word “whiskey” muttered multiple times, and Sara Balliet ripping sounds out of her electric cello that ranged from foreboding movie scene to ska horns, the gimmick goes from gimmicky to simply a signature sound. The only distraction was frontman Adam Turla’s howlin’ at the mic, coupled with the aforementioned chops, made him look like an extra in whatever the hell that new Twilight movie is. Honestly, I have no idea what was old material and what was new, but it all ruled pretty fucking good.

I’m not even going to pretend that I wasn’t there for the Gaslight Anthem. Other bands, you all did well and performed admirably, but seriously, The Gaslight Anthem. They came out to minimal fanfare and continued to rock my ass through jams from their latest album The ’59 Sound, their first LP Sink Or Swim and what I think was off of the Senor and the Queen EP. I was worried that a big fancy tour bus and having played in front of tens of THOUSANDS of people would leave Gaslight Anthem annoyed to be playing to a couple hundred people in a strip mall in the shittiest part of Anaheim. I worried for naught. Brian Fallon was every bit as humble and down to Earth as you could want from a rock star. From talking shit on Katy Perry and praising Lily Allen to the ubiquitous band inside-joke, the stage banter was light hearted, and most importantly, sincere. It’s refreshing to see a band truly ENJOY doing their thing on stage, playing with friends on stage and in the audience.

My only complaint is the encore. Not that they DID an encore, but that they wasted three minutes of kicking ass walking off stage and back on. At least they rocked so hard that they blew a fuse in the backline lighting and in the vocal pre-amp, which IS pretty impressive. Not as impressive as their closer, a cover of the Clash’s “Straight To Hell,” which was ironic, as I felt I just went to audio heaven.

–Jonathan Yost