With tattoos covering both arms, Brian Fallon carries tales on his flesh as colorful as the ones he conveys singing lead for New Jersey rock ‘n’ roll purists The Gaslight Anthem.
At Manhattan’s tiny Irving Plaza on June 15, the band greeted the audience’s roar of welcome with “American Slang,” the title track on its third album, released the day of the show. Many in the crowd sang along word-for-word -- they must have been fast learners.
The quartet’s timeless, no-frills music uses gritty emotional vocals, crafty songwriting and a powerful, crowd- grabbing arena sound. Shades of local hero Bruce Springsteen, yet this young band has its own well-shaped identity.
New songs “Boxer” and “Stay Lucky” had crowd surfers testing their luck. “Bring It On” unfolded into a full-on call and response. The slow number “The Queen of Lower Chelsea” had a Clash feeling that would make Joe Strummer proud.
The band also offered plenty from their vault, with an early rendition of their breakout “The ‘59 Sound” setting the bar high for the night.
“The Navesink Banks” was soft and chilling, “Wooderson” was a hard rocker and “Miles Davis and the Cool” showed the group building up sound -- something for everyone. By the time The Gaslight Anthem wrapped up with “The Backseat,” the quartet had given proof through the night that rock ‘n’ roll was alive and well.
The band is touring this summer in the U.S. and Europe and will return to New York for its largest headlining local show to date at Radio City Music Hall on September 30. No crowd surfing at that one.
Hailing from Perth, Australia, Tame Impala has been the source of much-deserved buzz. The foursome recently released an impressive debut album, “InnerSpeaker,” that champions psychedelic rock arguably better than any other young band out there now.
Fresh from opening for MGMT, the band was in town at Pianos on June 24 for the first of three local sold-out shows. This night’s performance delivered waves of sound and stretched-out jams.
Led by singer and guitarist Kevin Parker, whose bare feet danced over effects pedals, the band started with an instrumental jam that segued into a scorching version of “Desire Be Desire Go.” It had hazy mood-altering moments fit for a ‘60s acid test and aggressive rock elements that were kept in perfect balance.
The instrumental number “Jeremy’s Song,” had the players, all in their early 20s, showing proficiency well beyond their years, as the song was broken apart and rebuilt before finding a groove and winding down to a dark end.
The band’s multidimensional strengths continued as it launched into “Solitude Is Bliss.” With a smooth bass line, a moving drum beat, a catchy guitar riff and John Lennon-like vocals, the band was firing on all cylinders, as was the crowd.
Tame Impala returns to the U.S. later this year. The rooms are sure to be larger but don’t think tickets will be easy to get because the buzz will only build and draw bigger crowds.
Here’s a selection of New York-area shows in July. Please note that opening bands aren’t always listed. Shows marked (SO) are sold out, although online services such as Craigslist often have tickets:
July 2 Faith No More at Williamsburg Waterfront (SO) July 3 Portugal. The Man/Alberta Cross/Hopewell at Governors Island (Free) July 4 She & Him/Oakley Hall at Governors Island (Free) July 5 Beirut at Music Hall of Williamsburg (SO) July 6 Katzenjammer at Mercury Lounge July 7 Stornoway at Union Hall July 8 Phosphorescent/Dawes at Pier 54 (Free) Minus the Bear at Webster Hall July 9 Real Estate/Kurt Vile at Le Poisson Rouge July 10 Lucero at Governors Island (Free) July 11 Jimmy Cliff at Central Park Summerstage (Free) July 12 Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden July 13 Wolf Parade/Zola Jesus at Terminal 5 July 14 Heartless Bastards/Peter Wolf Crier at Music Hall of Williamsburg July 15 Langhorne Slim at Brooklyn Bowl July 16 Caribou/Phantogram/The Chain Gang of 1974 at Governors Island (Free) July 17 Siren Music Festival at Coney Island (Free) July 18 Konono No. 1/Javelin at Le Poisson Rouge July 19 Olof Arnalds at Rockwood Music Hall July 20 Perfume Genius at 92Y Tribeca July 21 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Governors Island July 22 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Webster Hall (SO) The Antlers/Dinosaur Feathers at Pier 54 (free) July 23 Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at Webster Hall (SO) Free Energy/Best Coast at South Street Seaport (Free) July 24 Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti at Irving Plaza July 25 Die Antwoord at Music Hall of Williamsburg July 26 The Flaming Lips/Stardeath and White Dwarfs at Central Park Summerstage (SO) July 27 JBM/Sondre Lerche at Mercury Lounge July 28 Built to Spill at Irving Plaza July 29 The National at Terminal 5 July 30 Spiritualized at Radio City Music Hall July 31 The Big Pink/The Smith Westerns at Maxwell’
(Jaime Widder works in sales for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
To contact the writer on this story: Jaime Widder in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;