Concert Review: Jack’s Mannequin, Eagles of Death Metal, Anberlin and Gaslight Anthem. Wednesday, December 10, at the Midland.

Anberlin brought the hair, Eagles of Death Metal brought the guitar, Jack’s Mannequin brought the vocals, Airborne Toxic Event brought the set that was too early in the evening for me to see, and the Gaslight Anthem — they brought the songs.

Jack’s Mannequin. Photos by Scott Spychalski

I spent about 50 bucks at the Midland Theatre last night at 96.5 FM’s the Buzz Ganked Christmas Show, but I feel like a rich man because now, right now, friends, I am listening to sweet marbled-aquamarine slab of vinyl that’s playing me song’s off the Gaslight Anthem‘s first album, Sink or Swim. (Sorry, by the way, that I have no photos of ’em — didn’t think I was gonna write about the opener so much! now with photos!) Anyway, it’s not quite as epic, awesome and tuneful as their latest release, the deservedly lauded The ’59 Sound, but it does have a picture on the back of the Anthem playing in a bar called the Court Tavern in their hometown of New Brunswick, New Jersey. I visited a friend in NB this past Thanksgiving, and our go-to place was the Court, and not because of its connection to the band, but man, the bartender there fuckin’ loves Gaslight Anthem.

I bought the record straight from the drummer, Benny, a couple hours after his band rattled the plaster filigrees of the beautiful, restored Midland in downtown KC. Benny, who, despite these past months of solid buzz, lives on his brother’s floor, he told me that throwing up in the parking lot outside the Court is nothing to be ashamed of. He told me that the city of New Brunswick has been trying to push that bar off the landscape for years now, vomiting up big new buildings and parking garages all around it, trying to squeeze it out.

The Court Tavern won’t go. Neither will true, triumphant, youth-dreaming, working-class rock and roll.

Gaslight singer Brian Fallon.

Most of the kids at last night’s show didn’t own Springsteen album one, but that didn’t keep their arms down or their legs still during Gaslight’s too-short, fucking-starting-at-6-40-fucking-pm but fucking awesome set. Yeah, the sound could’ve been a lot better. The bass was too loud and bright and the guitars too soft, but the band came right out played like the tireless, hungry, young mongrels they are and left you feeling like you didn’t wanna stay for the rest of the show but instead hop in their van and hit the next town with them, roaming the streets of Saginaw or wherever, passing out flyers and grabbing kids and saying, “Have you heard of these guys?” Before the band’s last song, someone in the audience must’ve shouted something about the band being in Missouri, because the lead singer said, “Thanks, but we’ve been to Missouri before.” Then he shouted “Joplin!” right before the band kicked into the jam. Joplin! You know they’re real.

You know who they remind me of locally? The Architects. If the Phillips brothers had a bit more tunefulness and a little less sheer open-chord guitar fury, they and the Gaslight would be, like, kissing cousins. Sexy naked ho photos after the jump, though!

Categories: Music