matt harvey and his mustache

baseball: unc @ duke, game two

In honor of Matt Harvey’s excellent MLB debut last night, Mets fans, let’s all take a moment for honoring another contributor to Matt Harvey’s career path to this debut: Matt Harvey’s mustache. It was kind of patchy, and it was with us only briefly, but it was there, once. And so, let us stand with our hands over our hearts, saluting Matt Harvey’s patchy mustache of 2010 and its contribution to the Harv’s MLB debut.

Sadly, I cannot find any photographic evidence of the brief but amazing 2009 ACC tournament Mohawk, and gratefully there is no photographic evidence of the time I drunkenly poured a beer on him in Zebulon.

Congrats, Matthew John Harvey, you jerk. You were great last night.

gratitude

dave hause @ cat's cradle

I bought a plane ticket to Minneapolis yesterday, and booked a hotel room, and emailed some Carls to tell them I was coming and could we eat Thai food. Thanks to the generosity, kindness, and big hearts of friends, family, strangers, blog readers, Grant Hart fans, Minnesotans — I will be spending three days in the Cities in August, hanging out with Grant and the What We Were Thinking? crew, taking photos while they work and hopefully maybe even taking on a special project for the film, which I’ll reveal at a later date.

I am wordlessly grateful to all of you, whether you donated, shared my link, sent me a Go Team Aggie! email, anything — if you’ve put up with me shooting at shows for years with no tangible reward, all of it, I am grateful to you, because you are making this amazing opportunity possible.

You are all fabulous, and I would not be nearly the person I am without y’all. Thank you.

If you donated and have not received an email thanking you, please keep an eye out for that. If you have donated, also please keep an eye out for your first reward via email next week.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

the gaslight anthem @ the cat’s cradle

the gaslight anthem @ cat's cradle

the gaslight anthem @ cat's cradle

the gaslight anthem @ cat's cradle

the gaslight anthem @ cat's cradle

the gaslight anthem @ cat's cradle

Great Expectations / 45 / Old White Lincoln / Even Cowgirls Get The Blues / Howl / Casanova, Baby! / The Diamond Street Church Choir / Here Comes My Man / I’da Called You Woody, Joe / Angry Johnny And The Radio / Blue Jeans & White T Shirts / Film Noir / American Slang / The Queen Of Lower Chelsea / Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid / The Backseat — > Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

She Loves You / Changing Of The Guards (Bob Dylan cover) / Senor And The Queen / Boomboxes and Dictionaries / We Came To Dance / ’59 Sound

Full set, including a whole bunch of shots of opener Dave Hause, is here.

Check out Songwriters on Process’s interview with Brian from last year here. I missed it the first time around and, whoa, boy, is it a great one.

(Also, just as a polite warning: if you steal my photos and repost them anywhere without my full name and a link to my website, you will find yourself in a polite world of unpleasant but polite legal pain. Link here, link to Flickr, that’s great, but do not repost my images without my permission. Kisses!)

photo preview: the gaslight anthem @ cat’s cradle

the gaslight anthem @ cat's cradle

I’ll have photos up tomorrow and a full write-up on SIC on Monday, but this photo really says it all: my heart is aching and singing in a way that transcends words, and if you have never loved a band that much, so much that it makes you ache with longing and want and joy and gratitude, well. Well.

The Gaslight Anthem makes me feel all those ways; I will not see a better show this year*.

Because people are searching for it, the setlist from last night:

Great Expectations / 45 / Old White Lincoln / Even Cowgirls Get The Blues / Howl / Casanova, Baby! / The Diamond Street Church Choir / Here Comes My Man / I’da Called You Woody, Joe / Angry Johnny And The Radio / Blue Jeans & White T Shirts / Film Noir / American Slang / The Queen Of Lower Chelsea / Here’s Lookin’ At You Kid / The Backseat — > Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

She Loves You / Changing Of The Guards (Bob Dylan cover) / Senor And The Queen / Boomboxes and Dictionaries / We Came To Dance / ’59 Sound

It took me forever to identify “Film Noir” in my scribbled on a receipt set list, because it mostly appeared as “Lit Film Would Noomie”, which is what I get for writing in the dark.

* Okay, except for Josh Ritter with shep. in two weeks. Because Josh Ritter is pure joy in human form. Gaslight and Josh. And Two Cow Garage on July 31. I mean. If I could get a Mason Jennings show in between tonight and July 31, I could die happy on August 2. I don’t want to! But I could, I’m just saying.

album review: the gaslight anthem – handwritten

the gaslight anthem @ cat's cradle

if i put too much blood on the page

If you’re already a fan of swaggering Jersey rockers the Gaslight Anthem, then you already know what Handwritten, the band’s fourth full-length and major label debut, sounds like: it sounds like the Gaslight Anthem, and it’s merely a matter of where it ends up falling on your own personal Gaslight album ranking scale. If you don’t know the band, on the other hand — and what have you been doing since 2008, living under a rock? — then Handwritten is as good a Gaslight album as any to introduce you to the clever word play of frontman Brian Fallon’s lyrics and the bombast of the straight up guitar rock that, yes, obviously, draws conclusions to the band’s openly-admitted influences Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones.

(And, my God, if you haven’t heard last year’s startling, note-perfect cover of “Tumbling Dice”, put Handwritten down slowly and back away until you run into it. Then listen to it ten times in a row. Then come back.)

Handwritten opens with ’45’, the first single from the record and Fallon’s overt love song to music, a theme that’s always run through his music but comes to forefront in the chorus here: hey hey, turn the record over. It’s a great opener, but the album roars into full gear with the title track afterwards, guitars that crash into agreement with no introduction, and the wailing Whoa-oh of the vocals before backing off into Fallon’s growl — “Handwritten”, as its own song and as the title track to the record, confirms the subject here is the universality of song, of lyrics painstakingly copied as a declaration of love. It’s a new guitar sound for them, as well, clear like a bell under the verses, and pealing off after the final verse: I’m in love with the way you’re in love with the moonlight.

The whoa-ohs of “Handwritten” segue into the oh sha la las of “Here Comes Your Man”; there’s a sense of a deeper delving into what came before them in this record. If The ’59 Sound sounded like Bruce Springsteen, then Handwritten pulls as much from the pop songs of the late ’60s, even with the line I’ll grow my hair back out as a nod to the ’70s that came after the era of harmonized choruses and syllables where words can’t fill the void of too much feeling: not one moment will I stand for it.

It isn’t all gems — “Mulholland Drive” and “Keepsake” are run of the mill middle of the road Gaslight tracks; good but not outstanding — but when Handwritten picks back up, it backs back up with a resounding crash and, well, “Howl”. Everyone is raving about this track, and it’s all correct: it’s a two minute shot straight to the veins, old pop songs on scratchy records and Brian roaring over the guitars and drums and bass. It’s the most punk song they’ve released in years, it’s the fiercest driver on this album, and it’s in the perfect place, an album turner, a song that should rattle into your bones live, raising goosebumps on your whole body and bringing tears to your eyes and the desire to dance without caring what anyone thinks. The lyrics, oh, they burn and shift and drive: does anything still move you since you’re educated now and I love the country movement and the way your dress would wave on your hips and do you believe there’s still some magic left inside our souls. It is a perfect two minute punk song, and it reminds me that Gaslight started out as punks, and it reminds me that their hearts still are.

Handwritten rolls out to its conclusion with the catchy “Biloxi Parish”, featuring a scorching Alex Rosamilia guitar solo, the ’50s pop chorus of “Desire”, the Gaslight heroine anthem “Mae”, and the quietly bombastic “National Anthem”. “Biloxi Parish” is an ear wormer, and “Desire” sounds like it would be a gorgeous stripped down acoustic as it does with the thumping drums that hold its center together. It peaks at “Howl”, this record, but that song as a central point is worth it. It makes everything else around it better, it pulls back the curtain and illuminates the way the band has grown since the early days, even if the record feels “familiar”.

And if this record does feels familiar or derivative, as detractors will say it does, well, perhaps that’s the point: Brian Fallon writes ineffably human songs, about love and fast cars and vinyl records, and that’s always been what Gaslight does best. Fallon and the band take things that everyone feels, loneliness and a song that feels written only for you — he’s penned a few of those for me, in fact — and turn it into a summer windows down stereo up sort of song. It’s more punk than American Slang, it’s more polished that Sink or Swim, it’s fiercer than The ’59 Sound, which for all its genius is still a kind of elegy. It probably isn’t Gaslight’s best — likely they’ll never surpass the 12 song perfection of ’59 Sound which as I said when I wrote about American Slang is fine because shit, wouldn’t you love to have made one this as perfect as that record — but it’s them, right there open-hearted, and it’s great.

The Gaslight Anthem plays a totally completely sold out show at the Cradle tonight, with my beloved Dave Hause opening, but if you’re really desperate — and you should be, as this is likely the last gasp of club tours for the band before they move up to arenas and sell that shit out, too — somebody in the parking lot or on Craigslist will probably sell you a ticket for three times face value, not that either I or the Cradle endorses that, I’m just saying. Twice would be worth it if you can negotiate. Cat’s Cradle, doors 7PM show 8PM. (PS If you have tickets, make sure you don’t miss Dave. I promise you’ll walk out in love and ready to spread my Everything Needs More Dave Hause theory to the world.)