The Gaslight Anthem – Tickets – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC – December 2nd, 2012

The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem

Matthew Ryan, Cheap Girls

Sun 12/2/12

7:00 pm

The Gaslight Anthem - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
The Gaslight Anthem


Brian Fallon - vocals/guitar
Alex Rosamilia - guitar/backing vocals
Alex Levine - bass/backing vocals
Benny Horowitz - drums/percussion

New Album, HANDWRITTEN, released July 24, 2012 on Mercury Records

The late Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard famously defined the ingredients of a great song as "three chords and the truth". Every songwriter knows three chords, but laying bare the truth? Now that can be an altogether trickier affair...

On January 18, 2012, The Gaslight Anthem piled into their old tour van and headed across the New Jersey state line for a 14-hour road trip to Nashville on their own quest for the truth. Their destination was 2806 Azalea Place, Nashville, Blackbird Studio, where the New Brunswick quartet had booked five weeks recording time with producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, AC/DC). Their mission: to reconnect with rock 'n' roll in its most feral, pure, stripped-raw form.

Brian Fallon was thirteen years old when he discovered The Clash's self-titled debut album in the racks of Sound Effects Records in Hackettstown, New Jersey: the owner of the store promised the young teenager that the record would change his life. He wasn't wrong.

But there was a time, not so very long ago, when The Gaslight's Anthem frontman had grown weary of the sound of electric guitars. After three albums of soulful, impassioned, hearts-on-fire punk rock -- 2007?s "Sink Or Swim," 2008?s "The '59 Sound" and 2010?s "American Slang" -- Fallon needed a change of pace, a change of scenery. And so, in January 2011, together with TGA guitar tech Ian Perkins, he formed The Horrible Crowes, a darkly melancholic side-project inspired by his love of The Afghan Whigs, Tom Waits and PJ Harvey. After the band's acclaimed debut album "Elsie" dropped in September, Fallon joined fellow punk rock troubadours Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio) and Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) on the acoustic Revival Tour, airing stripped-down versions of Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes songs to packed rooms across Europe. And then he returned home to New Jersey and Gaslight, re-energised, renewed and ready to make a full-tilt rock 'n' roll record again.

"After six weeks of that there's nothing you want to hear more than a Marshall stack turned all the way up," he says with a laugh.

The result is "Handwritten," the most committed, affecting and compelling album of The Gaslight Anthem's career to date. Introduced by muscular lead-off single "45," which received its world premiere on BBC Radio 1 as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record In The World on April 30, it finds the Jersey boys in inspired form, decanting '60?s soul, '70?s stadium rock, '80s hardcore and '90?s grunge into eleven white-knuckle, blue-collar everyman anthems. Brian Fallon likens its incandescent electrical storms to "Tom Petty songs [being] played by Pearl Jam." Put more simply, it's a supercharged American rock 'n' roll classic.

"We've taken everything we do and gone to 10 with it," says the singer. "This is definitely the Gaslight Anthem record I would want next, if I were a fan. 'American Slang' was cool, but this sounds like a band who has plugged back into the electric socket again."

"I think these songs are the closest thing to what we should have always sounded like," adds guitarist Alex Rosamilia. "We just hadn't figured out yet how to play it right."

Fallon credits Brendan O'Brien for capturing the raw, live-off-the-floor feel of Handwritten. Fine-tuned in the living room of the small rental house the band shared in Nashville, its eleven tracks were recorded with the whole band eyeball-to-eyeball in one room at Blackbird, vibing off one another's energy. The electricity in the recordings is tangible.

"Brendan taught us a ton about songwriting and recording as a band," Fallon notes. "The whole experience was amazing. That's the guy that recorded Pearl Jam, that's the guy that recorded Bruce Springsteen, that's the guy that did Rage Against The Machine; and that's the guy you want to say 'It's good', because when he says it's good, that's when it's good."

The purity of O'Brien's stark, unadorned recording process served to inspire Fallon's approach to the lyrical themes on "Handwritten" too. Where previous Gaslight Anthem albums evoked deathless images of Americana -- all Cadillacs, jukeboxes, Ferris wheels and wistful, romanticised vignettes of star-struck lovers disappearing into the great wide open -- "Handwritten" is rooted in Fallon's own experiences, lending the record a more immediate, emotional edge. "Now I am no angel but I got nothing to hide," the singer rasps on the brooding grunge-noir of "Too Much Blood." "Can you say the same thing for yourself tonight?"

"It's supposed to be a letter to whoever is listening," says Fallon. "Like, this is what we got beat up by and maybe you did too. There's so many things that I just never wrote about, real personal stuff that I just wasn't ready to talk about yet. Now I think being an adult I have some reflection on it."

"We wanted to look back on the music that we first found when we were in high school. The truth is, if you're my age, you were listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Soundgarden. When that music came out these were guys that we could relate to. They weren't the biggest bands in the world by accident."

And it's no accident either that with "Handwritten," the Gaslight Anthem themselves sound built to take on the world. After years paying their dues in the punk rock underground, their major label debut is assuredly the work of a young band who know their time is now. And their laidback, charismatic frontman is ready...

"I've always been ready for arenas," Brian Fallon smiles. "I've just been waiting for them to catch up to me. I want to play Giants Stadium, I always wanted to be a major label, major league band. If I can be the kid that's on the cover of Time magazine, I'll take it. And I'll buy you a drink while I'm at it..."
Matthew Ryan - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
Matthew Ryan
Singer/songwriter Matthew Ryan is a working-class man, already pegged in the press as another passionate lyricist compared to the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen. Such heavy parallels, however, do not overshadow the Chester, PA, native. He signed with A&M in 1996 and released May Day a year later. Ryan's expressive personal convictions continued on his sophomore effort, East Autumn Grin, which was released in September 2000
Cheap Girls - (Set time: 8:20 PM)
Cheap Girls
Cheap Girls was formed in 2007, the result of three musicians who’d grown up playing in bands around their hometown coming together to create music. Consisting of brothers Ben and Ian Graham (drums and vocals/bass respectively) and guitarist Adam Aymor, the Lansing, Michigan band has released three full-lengths since 2008. “We just wanted to start a simple rock band and just play all the time,” Ian says. “This was fun right off the bat. It was a simple format. I’d write songs, we’d learn them the next day and we’d move on. That’s still what we do.”

The band’s first album, Find Me A Drink Home was initially self-released in 2008 and was quickly followed by the release of their 2009 sophomore full-length My Roaring 20s which was released on Paper + Plastick who subsequently reissued Find Me A Drink Home. Their third full-length, Giant Orange, was released on Rise Records in early 2012. Recorded and produced by Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace in her Total Treble Studio in Elkton, Florida, she was the first producer Cheap Girls worked with and Cheap Girls were the first band Laura produced. This ended up working out for everyone. “It was casual, but we were all really serious about making a good record,” explains Ian.

Though it’s hard to compare Cheap Girls to other bands, Laura thinks they sound like some pretty damn good acts. “With Cheap Girls you not only have an authentic Midwestern rock band in the vein of the Replacements, Soul Asylum, Sugar and early Smoking Popes but you also have an incredibly talented lyricist and songwriter in Ian Graham,” Laura says. “I’m lucky to have gotten the chance to work with them.”
Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
http://930.com