You could make a case for 2008 being the year of The Gaslight Anthem. ‘The ’59 Sound’ seemed to come out of nowhere but was so loaded with glorious tunes it became a lot of people’s favourite record in no time at all. And off the back of it Gaslight are going to do something that would have seemed unthinkable this time last year: support Bruce Springsteen this summer in Hyde Park to roughly 3million people. And this is something rather special: an exclusive heart-breakingly gorgeous rendition of ‘The ’59 Sound’’s opening track ‘Great Expectations’. Click below to download it; I promise, it’s that special kind of wonderful very few bands can manage.
[Pic: Andy Willsher]
Recorded at the Explore Music studio in Toronto, this is the first airing of this special version of 'Great Expectations', and I think it shows why so many people fell in love with them. Tender, understated but still playfully melodic, the original kicked the album off in sterling style. But this naked rendition confirms Brian Fallon's talents as a songwriter: anyone can write a big ol' rock song and get it produced to sound like some kind of drivetime classic, but to go from that right back to just being one dude onstage with a guitar and a whole lot of feelings? That takes some serious guts, and ability.
So here's hoping Gaslight can take their momentum and really do something special with it. The Hyde Park show is their first real attempt to crack the massive stages, but the last three times I've seen them they've played practically the same set every time. Which is ace and all, because those tunes rule, but what I'd really like to see is the beginnings of a third album that delivers on all the promise they've built up thus far. And yeah, it's because they've basically been on tour non-stop for a year, but Gaslight are a band who are not only capable of making the world seem different with a single chord change but one beloved of a LOT of people.
Are you a Gaslight fan? Old- or new-school? Or mid-school (er, you got into them via 'The Senor And The Queen' EP)? Are you looking forward to the new material or do you think their first record's their best?
Download The Gaslight Anthem's special acoustic version of 'Great Expectations' here.