Live Review: The Gaslight Anthem @ Brixton Academy

Sat 26 June

Writing a live review of The Gaslight Anthem is always tricky. They play hard as hell and they have a dedicated fan-base that never fails to show up en-masse and sing their hearts out – so it can be hard to stay objective. That said TG reckons few rock-fans could have failed to enjoy Saturday's (26 June) show at the Brixton Academy.

It was a sold-out show, so when TG arrived at the venue for second support band Twin Atlantic (sorry Sharks – we messed up the timing), the venue was already filling up. T.A. sounded like they grew up listening to At The Drive-In and guitar-wise they're all about nicely overdriven valve amps and stabbing rhythms interwoven with cleaner, melodic parts. They sing in their native Glaswegian accents – a good thing in TG's book – but in such a large venue they lacked the dynamism of their recordings.

The Gaslight Anthem took to the stage to rapturous applause and (throughout the set) seemed genuinely knocked out that they'd managed to fill such a prestigious venue. Opening with the new album's name-sake 'American Slang', the bulk of their main set was made up of recent songs, including (TG fave) 'Queen Of Lower Chelsea', 'Stay Lucky' and 'Bring It On'.

Guitarist Alex Rosamilia used the new songs as a welcome excuse to whip out his new 1968 Gibson ES-355 and Black Beauty Les Paul. Meanwhile, Brian Fallon stayed true to his trusty Goldtop Les Paul throughout. Tight as hell, the band barely dropped a note all night.

As expected, the most ecstatic applause came for their second album hit 'The '59 Sound', which they played only eight songs in. TG's been to a few great gigs at the Brixton Academy, but we have never heard an audience as dedicated and responsive. These were not fans that turned up on a whim, because they "quite liked that song on TV that they did with Springsteen." This audience was the result of years of touring, three great rock 'n' roll records and a hell of a lot of hard work.

Closing with a raucous cover of The Who's 'Baba O'Riley' – a masterstroke, which saw fans old(er) and young arm-in-arm – the band left the stage briefly before returning for a rapturous five-song encore which drew mainly from 'The '59 Sound'. With last year's Glastonbury now a distant memory, TG reckons 2010 will go down as the year The Gaslight Anthem graduated.

Check out Total Guitar issue 203 (on sale now) for a three-page Gaslight Anthem interview

Read (Gaslight Anthem guitarist) Alex Rosamilia's TG guest blog about his top 5 guitar players