Live (Sept. 26th, 2009)
Edmonton Event Centre- Edmonton, Alberta
It may not have been one of the biggest shows of the year, but with a lineup of Gaslight Anthem, Murder By Death, The Loved Ones and Frank Turner, Saturday’s show at the Edmonton Event Centre was easily one of the most anticipated shows of the year for the energetic crowd in attendance.
English acoustic folk/punk singer Frank Turner kicked off the evening with a selection of songs from his steadily crowing catalogue. Focusing mainly on tracks from Love Ire and Song and The Poetry of the Deed, Turner pulled out his acoustic guitar and started with I Know Prufrock Before He Was Famousand hit on tracks like Try This At Home, The Road,Long Live the Queen, Dan’s Song and The Ballad of Me and My Friends. While only a few dozen people there knew the words, Turner‘s performance easily captured the crowd’s attention thanks to his powerful lyrics and strong vocals and by the time he played Photosynthesis he was able to teach the whole crowd the chorus to help sing along. By the steady line of people at his merch table afterward, it was clear that he had converted quite a few new fans and will have more people singing along when he comes back next year if the rumours that he’ll be doing another North American tour in early 2010 are true.
After a speedy set change – after all, all of their stuff was already ready on stage – Philly’s The Loved Ones hit the stage and from the opening beat of Sickening it was clear they hadn’t garnered any rust in their year off from the road. Front man Dave Hause was energetic and comical, throwing some Billie Joe Armstrong-like moves and dragging the microphone all around the stage (including right up to the barrier in front of the crowd for their rousing closer of Louisiana).
The band rarely took a moment’s rest as they pushed through The Bridge, The Inquirer, Pretty Good Year, Distracted, Jane, 100k, Living Well (Gets You Dead) and more; and in a scene reminiscent of their video for Jane, Hause even confiscated someone’s cell phone for texting during their set saying “you’re in rock class now, no phones allowed!”. While the highlight was Hause’s constant energy on stage, the guest appearance from Murder By Death‘s cellist Sarah Balliet on one track was a nice little addition.
Indiana’s Murder By Death were next and like they were six months ago, they seemed a little out of place in the giant mall. They still put on a solid set which included tracks like Sometimes The Line Walks You, Shiola, Brother, Ball and Chain, and 52 Ford. Adam Turla’s vocals, low and gravelly like always, sounded great and for some reason, the drumming really seemed to stand out more than ever before; but it was still Balliet’s stage presence that stole the show as she ebbed and flowed with the music. Sadly, Murder By Death were unable to fully follow the intensity and excitement of The Loved Ones, mix that with the anticipation to see Gaslight Anthem and Murder by Death easily became an after thought of the evening.
And as for Gaslight Anthem? Well, they were the main dish of the evening and were enjoying every minute of it. Brian Fallon was light hearted and in an extremely jubilant mood as he joked around and mocked the crowd much more than the last time they were here. It was a side not shown in their music but helped make their set more personal and intimate as Fallon sounded more akin to someone goofing around with friends than addressing a packed venue full of fans.
Playing every single song on their highly successful 59 Sound album except for Meet Me By The River’s Edge, the band kept it fresh by adding extended intros and outros to the songs and changing the lyrics around occasionally. Nothing was more surprising than the splicing of The Hold Steady‘s You Can Make Him Like You‘s chorus right smack in the middle of Old White Lincoln and while many people had no idea what was going on, anyone who saw The Hold Steady the Monday prior couldn’t help but smile and sing along with Fallon.
Throwing in a few older cuts like 1930, I’da Call You Woody Joe, We Came To Dance, Angry Johnny and the Radio, Blue Jeans and White T-shirts and Senor and the Queen, the New Jersey quartet showed exactly why it is that they’re zooming up in popularity.