Walking down the Costin Street strip is always an intimidating experience. Observing the crowd that varies from young punks in denim jackets to the mature couples still vibing from the electric Springsteen tour that occurred two months before, I feel a thousand pairs of eyes scalding me as though I was late for a sermon.
Having knocked up his frequent flyer points on previous tours with his band, The Loved Ones, and in support of Florida’s Hot Water Music, Dave Hause is no stranger to Australian shores. Skipping the formal niceties, Hause introduces himself through a stateman’s rendition of Heavy Heart, showcasing an honest to guts howl with lyrics to match. Hause’s interactivity channels a younger Billy Bragg, adopting an authoritarian manner which has the crowd under his command, from being berated for their choice in vices to parting the dancefloor ala Sick of it All, for an impassioned singalong. As Hause closes his set and invites any takers to the bar, the theatre has become as warm as this singer’s humble nature, setting the precedent for the night’s headliners.
After witnessing possibly the quickest turn over I’ve seen at a show, the lights see their death and the sounds of whirring feedback and God’s “My Pal” wash over the venue. From the first chord of their opening “Handwritten”, The Gaslight Anthem announce their arrival in full voice, enrapturing a rowdy Brisbane crowd celebrating the weeks end. As singer, Brian Fallon bellows above the roar of Gaslight’s new three-guitar attack, their music has taken on a new fire. Having traded their youthful, nervous energies for their recent forays in stadium swagger, older numbers, The 59 Sound, Senor and The Queen, and Old Haunts sound as if they could burn a building down. I must have been thinking out loud as Fallon, almost as a pre-emptive strike, takes some good natured snipes at Green Day’s stadium show, tongue planted firmly in cheek. The band takes the joke and runs with it, unnecessarily encouraging and enticing an already vocal audience through Patient Ferris Wheel and Great Expectations. Returning to the stage after a breath of fresh tobacco for a five-song encore, there’s an air that your heart will skip a beat before the band does. Concluding with the rolling romantics of The Backseat, the crowd of both young and old is left beaming and elated, having witnessed arguably the most promising rock and roll act that this generation has to offer. From sticking to the floor at Rosies, to a capacity Tivoli theatre, The Gaslight Anthem can only grow from here.