INDIO, CA - APRIL 14: Musician Brian Fallon of the band The Gaslight Anthem perform onstage during day 3 of the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 14, 2013 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)
The Gaslight Anthem, besides being a great rootsy punk band, have become known for occasional cool cover songs and amazing special guest performances.
'Occasional' is the operative word here, because we can infer from frontman Brian Fallon's post to the band's tumblr that audience demands are somewhat less occasional. Here's an excerpt:
Tonight we played the third show of a three night stand in NYC. It was a beautiful venue at Pier 26 and we played with one of my favorite bands the Hold Steady. But tonight, after the show, I found myself with some things I feel I need to say that have been a long time coming…
I play music because something stirs inside of my heart and it needs to be expelled. I have found from a young age that music is the avenue which relieves me. It allows me to say words and choose notes that speak to my own soul. It comforts me. There are people who have found something in my band’s songs that speak to them as well. I’ve met some of them, they come to our shows and have purchased our records because they’ve found something that speaks to them somewhere in the things we have created. That, to me, is amazing.
However, I feel it necessary to address that we are The Gaslight Anthem. We play Gaslight Anthem songs. We’re not the band you think we may be akin to. My name isn’t Bruce, It’s not Eddie, or Joe, or Paul either. If you’d like to hear their songs they are readily available and the former two tour quite often. You should go see them, they put on great shows. They play long sets over two hours sometimes. It’s truly amazing to watch them at their craft. But again, we’re not them. We have a different set of rules. We’re on a different course, because we aren’t them and can’t be them. We have to find our path, because that’s the only honest thing we can do. Which is where I find myself now, proud of what we’ve done, and where we’ve come from, but it’s time to find the next thing. Time to create a new sound, time to create the next Gaslight Anthem. We will always play those songs, but we will never be that band again.
When I was 27 years old we wrote a record called the ‘59 Sound. It was our first break. We got to work with a wonderful man named Ted Hutt who taught us things we never would’ve known without him.
I was a kid pouring his heart out about what moved him inside and what I loved. Now I have to be a man pouring my heart out about what moves me inside.
Bands who have long careers change. Drastically. That doesn’t mean they no longer like what they did in the past or what got them where they are. It means they have to create and be true to who they are RIGHT NOW, not be true to what people want them to be.
To say that bands don’t owe their fans anything is wrong. They owe them the truth of their art. They owe them a performance of songs they’ve written at that specific show as they are that evening. The ticket doesn’t promise what happened at a show three years ago, or five years ago, or ten years from now. Live music is beautiful that way, because it’s that night only. It’ll never be that show again.
Although Fallon comes off as a bit of a wiener in his lengthy, heartflet screed, he has a point. Request-shouting at any time other than when a singer asks, "What do you want to hear?" remains an almost universal pet peeve among concertgoers.
And there's a special place in hell reserved for the "FREEBIRD!" guy.