I went to see The Gaslight Anthem, Murder By Death, and The Loved Ones in Philly last night at the Trocadero. It was an all around great show.
The Loved Ones played what was probably the best set I’ve ever seen them play. I can’t really describe why it was so great, but they just felt really on and didn’t talk too much compared to other times that I’ve seen them. Their set list was well chosen and leaning way more to the Keep Your Heart side of things than Build & Burn, which works out great for me since I think Keep Your Heart is a much better record.
Murder By Death was slightly worse than the last time I saw them, but that was also about five years ago. They played well and sounded good, but I think I miss them being a five piece. Having a dedicated keyboardist made them able to keep more of their recorded sound when playing live. Sarah did a great job switching between cello and keyboards, but it wasn’t quite the same. The last time I saw them was before their last two albums came out so they had fewer songs to play. This gave them time to rock out and jam a little more. I’m not into jam bands, but I love when bands that I like just jam out for a little bit during some of the instrumental parts of songs. It adds something extra to the live set that you don’t get from a record. This is something that they seemed to do a lot in the past and it was one of my favorite things about seeing them, but now with all the extra songs that they have, there is a lot less time to do it. Still, they sounded great and picked a good selection of songs to play. I think they covered everything that I wanted to hear.
And then there was Gaslight Anthem. They sounded amazing and were tight as hell with a great stage presence. It may have been the tightest that I’ve ever seen them play out of the six or seven times that I’ve seen them. But the selection of songs that they played was a bit disappointing. The ’59 Sound is a really great record, one of the best to come out in 2008. However, it lost a lot over the last year for me. Most of my interest in it waned. Sink Or Swim has stuck with me though. That’s what I wanted to hear. I didn’t expect a lot, but the entire first half of their set was from The ’59 Sound. By the end, we only got a couple Sink Or Swim songs in total. I guess normally it would be expected to hear only a few songs from a band’s first album…if they have more than two, but with only two of them, it’d be nice it at least a third of the set was from the first album. Oh well. At least everything they played sounded great.
Even accepting the fact that I’ll never get to hear them play much from Sink Or Swim again, I don’t know that I’ll ever want to see them live again. I’m not sure how to describe it, but they felt very rock starry last night. It was a little too much. They stopped feeling like this band from New Brunswick that used to play basement shows and the Court Tavern to small crowds and more like a band that has their eyes set on stages set in front of thousands and thousands of people. It wasn’t to the point where it was terribly upsetting and bothersome and a lot of it was subtle, but it was enough that I feel as though my love for them will start to decline if I keep on seeing them.
Last night was also the first time that I’ve been to the Troc in about seven years. I’ve generally avoided it as I was never a fan of the place and I was reminded 100% of this last night. The sound is terrible. It might be the worst sounding venue I’ve ever been to. Ugh.