The Gaslight Anthem - O2 Apollo

The Gaslight Anthem - O2 Apollo

On the edge of Manchester lies The O2 Apollo. Previously a theatre, this grade 2 listed building is now house to a music venue, hosting a variety of big names weekly. Tonight, coming all the way from New Jersey, are American rock band ‘The Gaslight Anthem.' After a long hiatus, the band are back and better than ever; currently riding off the high of last year’s fantastic album ‘History Books.’ 

Supporting tonight, we have Emily Wolfe, an American rock and roll musician from Texas. The first thing to notice about Emily is her guitar playing skills; proving to be extremely talented from the get-go. Tonight’s stage is big. Seeing the band spread out across the middle of the stage makes them look a little small, but they sound far from it. Delivering a true rock and roll set with strong riffs, stomping beats and even a double necked guitar, the crowd are in for a real treat. Following a request from a member of the crowd to play ‘Steady,’ it becomes clear quite how impressive Emily’s vocal range is; having no trouble switching from a softer tone to a much harder-hitting vocal performance for the punchier songs. All in all, Wolfe performs a brilliant opening set. If the crowd weren’t fans before, they definitely are now.

Anticipation is building and, as the lights dim, the crowd lets out an almighty roar. Tonight’s headliner, ‘The Gaslight Anthem,’ are here to bring their Springsteen-esque brand of rock to the stage. First song of the night is ‘Positive Charge,’ bringing with it a burst of energy to an already excited crowd, before heading into anthematic song, ’Handwritten.’ Brian Fallon’s voice is on top form tonight. He also interacts with the crowd frequently; making jokes and telling stories. Fallon announces that they have released a new EP today and thanks his daughter for introducing him to Billie Eilish before breaking into a raw and energetic cover of ‘Ocean Eyes;’ an unexpected cover, but it doesn’t feel out of place amongst their back catalogue. 

‘The History Tour’ feels like a fitting name for this run of shows. Whilst the tour may be in support of history books, it also feels like a look back through the bands discography, as the set is filled with fan favourites from across all 6 albums. Midway through the set, Fallon invites Emily Wolfe out to the stage for a duet performance of ‘Weatherman’ and fan favourite ‘Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts,’ leading into huge crowd sing-alongs throughout each chorus. As the night heads towards the finale, the crowd are treated to a joyful yet punchy performance of ‘American Slang;’ if the influence from a love of Bruce Springsteen wasn’t already clear, then it sure is now. 

The band round the evening off with arguably their most popular songs ’45’ and ‘The ’59 Sound.’ ’45’ whips some fans into a frenzy and a small mosh pit breaks out, whilst other members of the crowd belt out the words and jump around. Finishing things off with ‘The ’59 Sound’ seems like a truly bittersweet moment. It’s the song that gained them notoriety amongst the rock scene and propelled them forward. It’s the song the crowd have been waiting for, and there isn’t a single soul in the room who isn’t singing along.

The O2 Apollo is a truly impressive venue and no band feels more fitting for this stage than ‘The Gaslight Anthem.’ As the crowd begin to filter out, there isn’t a face that isn’t smiling after such a joyous night of heartfelt rock and roll. The band are set to headline 2000 Trees in July this summer. If tonight’s performance is anything to go by, the festival attendees are in for a real treat.

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