Tom Doyle is a good boy (when he’s not provoking bands into threatening to headbutt him or writing letters about pop music, that is). He recycles. He cleans the dishes after he’s finished eating. And he took his mum out to go see The Gaslight Anthem when they came and played the fancy Troxy here in London.
Six things we learnt when Tom Doyle’s Mum when to see The Gaslight Anthem play in London:
1) The Troxy is a beautiful venue, and the old theatre-come-cinema has a considerably more luxuriant feel than the average dive Thrash Hits normally attend gigs at. Mum really likes the carpet and the fact that the bars are well manned and the queues aren’t very big, and to be honest I agree with her sentiment.
2) Such ostentatious surroundings seem to have drawn a particularly diverse crowd. Mum is pleased that she doesn’t feel like the oldest in attendance but is confused by the widely differing creeds of rock fan on show tonight. We might be stood next to a man in a Converge t-shirt and the stage crew might have Hot Water Music and Teenage Bottle Rocket hoodies on, but there is also a proliferation of men in supermarket denim and extremely well maintained girls who look like they live in Clapham here too. Eclectic.
Watch Japandroids perform ‘Fire’s Highway’ live:
3) Booze in hand we are first treated to Canadian duo Japandroids. “They seem like very energetic lads,” notes mum, although she is less impressed by the vocals. “There’s lots of woah-oh-ing, isn’t there? I’m not sure about all of that.” For my part I think they work hard but ultimately struggle to make their party punk shtick really tell in relatively cavernous surroundings, nevertheless they are a fine hors d’oeuvre for what is to come.
4) Everyone in the room is considerably more amped up by the time Brian Fallon and co hit the stage in their usual check shirt leather jacket regalia and they waste no time in showing everyone what they’re all about. Firing straight into ‘Spirit of the Jazz’, they set about demonstrating the stylistic breadth and quality of songs they have amassed in the last half decade – “he seems like such a nice man and with such a beautiful voice” mum says to me after ‘Even Cowgirls Get The Blues’. She ain’t wrong.
Watch The Gaslight Anthem perform ’45’ live:
5) Halfway through ‘’59 Sound’ she leans over to me again “they’ve played loads of songs I really like already!” and it’s true that but for a mid set one two of ‘Wooderson’ and ‘The Navesink Banks’ it is a setlist comprised of the best of their last three (brilliant) albums. ’45’ has the whole crowd dancing while ‘Blue Dahlia’ has me and the woman who bought me my first pair of shoes arm in arm singing along to the chrous at the top of our voices. There aren’t too many bands who have risen to prominence relatively recently who have the power to induce that.
6) They conclude a 90 minute set with a stirring rendition of ‘Backseat’ and are declared as “excellent value for money” for playing for so long and with such professionalism. What is most apparent from tonight though is that whilst this is a band born in the world of punk, they are building a real legacy for themselves for fans of all ages who are not necessarily aligned to one specific genre. The new Springsteen? Maybe not, but don’t be surprised if The Gaslight Anthem aren’t playing very big venues for a very long time to come. I know one old (not that old, I have been asked to say) lady who will definitely be back for more.