Alter The Press!


Review: The Gaslight Anthem - Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms - 07/02/09

Despite being snowed off nearly a week earlier, the rescheduled date of this tour finally went ahead on the second time of asking, albeit without opening support act Polar Bear Club.

In light of PBC's absence, local favourite Frank Turner was given an extended set, taking his stage time up to nearly an hour.

Perhaps its something about the sentiment he holds to Portsmouth, at a venue he frequented throughout his youth, or the passion he conveys through lyrics close to his heart, but tonight, Turner really is superb. In an ultra stripped down performance (featuring just Frank and his guitar) he plays a mixture of old songs, and also throws in two from his forthcoming album.

To put it bluntly, on tonight's evidence, Frank is one of the country's top singer songwriters. His lyrics are personal, and by throwing in a joke or two, he's a born entertainer. Whether his usual full band shows can live up to the intimate feel of his acoustic performances remains to be seen. What is clear however, is that Frank Turner is a national treasure.

The Gaslight Anthem are currently riding high, on a sea of hype. The new NME darlings are receiving airplay on top radio stations, and the band show no signs of slowing down.

Their rapid rise to fame though, has caused an apparent resentment among older fans unhappy with the band The Gaslight Anthem have become. Perhaps they have a point, as many in attendance appeared to only show vague knowledge of the critically acclaimed album 'The '59 Sound,' and, material from the band's first album appeared completely alien. Having said that, the singles went down a storm.

Through no fault of their own, TGA find themselves in an awkward situation. They play flawlessly, and the media attention they have received is justly deserved. With influences ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Charles Dickens, its hard to dislike The Gaslight Anthem, and Brian Fallon has emerged as revered lyricist in his own right.

A perfect live performance is a great addition to the band's CV, and in the coming months, they will continue to rise and rise. For their sakes though, hopefully the begrudging 'older fans' will swallow humble pie, and accept that when music as good as this is being played to masses, the world will be a better place for it.

Chris Powers

Alter The Press!