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Gaslight Anthem Rocks to Shades of Boss; Tame Impala Acid Test

The Gaslight Anthem
Members of the band The Gaslight Anthem from left, Alex Rosamilla, Brian Fallon, Ben Horowitz, and Alex Levine in New York. The band's third album "American Slang" debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart and number 1 on the Independent Albums Chart. Photographer: Ashley Maile/Big Hassle via Bloomberg

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.

Tame Impala

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.

‘Jeremy’s Song’

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 3
Portugal. The Man/Alberta Cross/Hopewell at Governors Island
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
July 15
Langhorne Slim at Brooklyn Bowl
July 16
Caribou/Phantogram/The Chain Gang of 1974 at Governors Island
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’s

(Jaime Widder works in sales for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

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