The Gaslight Anthem & Japandroids: Troxy, London – live review

The Gaslight Anthem & Japandroids
London Troxy
29th March 2013

Back at the tail end of March Louder Than War managed to catch the London leg of what, on paper, looked to us like a double headlining tour but in actuality was The Gaslight Anthem being ably supported by Louder Than War favourites Japandroids.

Having never attended London’s Troxy venue before I was immediately reassured upon entering it. Large enough to create a “big” atmosphere but not so large that it seems you’re a million miles from the band when they’re on stage it appeared, like Brixton’s O2 Academy, to be a perfectly sized venue for rock.

First on stage were Canadian rock duo Japandriods. They had been recommended to me by a friend & I was exceptionally impressed by their sophomore album Celebration Rock. By dint of heir rough, classic rock sound they appeared to be the perfect choice to open for The Gaslight Anthem. Bursting immediately into “Fire’s Highway” they played with a fervent energy and relentless pace that I have seen in too few live bands. They barraged seamlessly through a set comprising mostly of songs from Celebration Rock, including “Evil’s Way” and single “The House That Heaven Built”. Ending with a cover of The Gun Club’s “For the Love of Ivy,” Japandroids showcased their immense talent throughout an impressive supporting set, one that’s sure to be a springboard to a future headlining tour in the UK.

Whilst The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten was my favourite album of 2012, I was pretty disappointed after seeing them play the main stage at Reading Festival that year. I felt that their sound got lost on such a large stage and as such they struggled to connect with a crowd so far away. Fortunately there were no such problems at the Troxy. Opening a pretty long 22 song set with “High Lonesome” they powered through a continually growing catalogue of hits like “American Slang,” “45,” “Here Comes My Man” and “The ’59 Sound”. Their brand of soulful, heartfelt rock frequently draws comparisons with Bruce Springsteen, and it is easy to see why, but Brian Fallon’s compelling songwriting does enough to set him apart from his idol.

All band members were perfectly on song, particularly Alex Rosamilia on guitar, but of course the real star of the show is Brian Fallon. His stunning, gravelly vocals fill the venue with ease and are at their absolute best during “The Diamond Church Street Choir” and “Mulholland Drive”. Ending the night as they usually do, with a powerful rendition of “The Backseat” The Gaslight Anthem successfully proved why they’ve garnered such a large following of fans over the last 7 years or so. Hopefully this following will only continue to get bigger.

All words by Tom Eldred. More writing by Tom on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.

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