The Gaslight Anthem get their groove back in the middle of a three-night run at London's Roundhouse

Reunited New Jersey soul punks The Gaslight Anthem rediscover their voice in Camden Town

The Gaslight Anthem
(Image: © Burak Cingi/Redferns)

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So it turns out that American lives don't just have second acts, but third ones as well. If The Gaslight Anthem's first three albums chartered their ascendancy, the two that followed soundtracked the years where they flirted with establishing themselves as an arena rock band. The title of their fifth studio effort, Get Hurt, proved unfortunately prophetic. The critical bashing it received seemed to combine with internal frictions to largely put them on hiatus from 2015 until now, when last year's History Books signalled a full return to action. 

Live, Gaslight's third era finds them getting back into the groove with a three-night run at London's Roundhouse, a sure sign that their audience hasn't deserted them. Their classic material is still, well, classic, while the newer tunes are, to misquote a lyric, "pretty good songs, baby, you know the rest." 

While tonight's show, the second of the three, at times feels like the final tune-up for tomorrow evening's grandstand, it takes little time for Great Expectations and American Slang to utilise the Roundhouse's vast circumference to lasso us into singalongs. Very few casuals get suckered into the false endings of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Blue Dahlia, confirming that this is a safe-space for aficionados. 

Here to entertain without the pressure to impress, there's an ease and confidence to their performance that was absent from their last London showing in 2022. It's something you suspect was always bound to return once their reunion gathered momentum. 

In addition to giving the people what they want in terms of a setlist packed with hits, their generosity extends to inviting support act Blue Violet to join them for a rendition of Here's Looking at You, Kid. A constellation of smartphones duly light up to film the "content", but their glare can't take the shine off an almost choral accompaniment from the floor. Later it will be the turn of the other support, Emily Wolfe, to add a fourth guitar and vocals to new track The Weathermen and then Blue Jeans and White T-shirts, which transports us back into singalong territory.

A closing triptych of 45, The '59 Sound and The Backseat takes us home. For too long some critics have baited the band's perceived intransigence with the Handwritten single's "I can't move on and I can't stay the same" lyric, but tonight what resonates is the gang chant that its following line, "…and all my friends say" tees up, and the beaming smile it plants on Brian Fallon's face. 

A long-time contributor to Kerrang! and feature writer for Noisey, Fightland and more, punk rock lifer Alistair Lawrence wrote the acclaimed Abbey Road: The Best Studio in the World in 2012. Hopefully Ridley Scott will forgive him for accidentally blanking him in one of the studio’s hallways, should they ever meet again.