Back on Memorial Day, I went on a trip up to the East Coast. The focal point of it was going to see The Gaslight Anthem play the ‘59 Sound in its entirety. They were my favorite band until they broke up...sort of. They mutually went on hiatus. There hasn’t been any new music from this group since then, aside from side projects the drummer has smashed away on and Brian Fallon’s pretty good folksy/Americana songs. I don’t know what that means, but if I had to guess that’s what Americana music would be.
The reason for this tour is simple. This August is the tenth anniversary of the ‘59 Sound. So to celebrate, the band got together again and played the album in its entirety, along with some other hits.
This is my favorite album of all time. It came out in 2008. I fell in love with this band in 2009. I had a friend in high school who loaded up my iPod with, like, 3,000 songs off his computer. At the time I still listened to the same alternative music I grew up listening to on 99.5 KISS. That radio station has been playing the same songs—and still does to this day—that they played in 2002 when I was slaying Code Red Mountain Dew and monsters in my father’s bedroom during his weekend. Bush, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against The Machine...yeah, man...that’s the stuff.
I had no idea at the time there was music out there that wasn’t on the radio that was any good. Sure, I knew it existed. There were thousands of CDs at Half Price Books and CD Exchange I had never heard of. I just assumed it was all terrible because it wasn’t on the radio. Then I went to some parties where they played music I had never heard of; it was jolly and different and fun to sing along to, so refreshing to my wasted frontal lobeless brain. We’re Having a Party is a very fun song to listen to when you’ve had 11 underage Natural Lights.
After that, I started going through this iPod, A-Z. I just chewed through album after album.
The first time I got to ‘G,’ I played Sink or Swim. We Came To Dance came on. I almost drove my 1994 Oldsmobile off the road clicking the wheel and swirling around to see what this song was called. From there, that was it. They have a song about the first time listening to the Clash: I heard it like a bullet from my skull to my brain, I felt my fingertips tingle and it started to rain, I think that’s how the lyrics go, but anyways, that’s what it was like.
The Gaslight Anthem was also the favorite band of a lot of my friends. We would go to parties and come home alone. My roommate would play the guitar and we would scream like a bunch of alley cats, howling like wolves on some crusted ironic t-shirt. So many nights ended like this. When things were miserable, pretty good, or truly beautiful, no matter what, the nights ended with an acoustic guitar and hollering, healing scabs, adding to the jubilation.
When I saw this band play this album last month, the BIG thought that came into my head, was that these aren’t their songs, but our songs. They were professionals playing the hits. Solemn with slight smiles. Hats pulled down over brows. Head down playing solos. We played the same chords. We sang the same words, with some things changed on purpose and some on accident. Everyone else around us screamed the same words while they played our songs for us. These songs were their songs too.
ANYWAYS, if you want to go for a drive, listen to the radio, think about Maria, and how you’ve always wished you were somebody else, here is the link. They even came out with demos of the album week. If you want some more, Robert Mays at the Ringer wrote an oral history on this album as well.
The rest is yours to talk about whatever you want, Texans-related or not. Just remember the standard commenting rules apply.