Last Wednesday Columbus, Ohio was the place to be if you were looking for an amazing rock show. New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem headlined the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion with special guests Chamberlain and Tim Barry and I must say, all who packed the floor knew well in advance that they were in for a good time. It was a show I had been looking forward to since it was announced in the Spring and luckily I was able to be a part of it.
Even if it down-poured on the way down there and careless drivers kept trying to crash into my vehicle my friends and I made it down to Columbus with some time to kill. Having never been to the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion before I was not sure if it was an indoor or outdoor venue. Turns out it was both but due to a baseball game at the neighboring stadium the show was going to be played inside.
While wasting some time I enjoyed a tall, cheap, and ice cold Natural Light (no I did not get paid to say that) as I conversed with friends and the people around me at the A&R Music Bar that stood left to the concert hall. Turns out we were not the only folk who traveled to see the show. One group of guys, who I swear I knew one of, were from Cleveland and another few came all the way from Indianapolis. I also got word that someone else I knew was traveling from Charleston, WV. When it is a show like the one we all had tickets to, it was worth the drive no matter how far away.
Making way into the indoor section of the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion I was impressed with what I saw. The inside was not only super clean but nicely laid out with a split level floor as well as an upper floor where one could see the stage just about anywhere you hung out. My only vice was that my photo pass only allowed access to the photo pit for Tim Barry, not that I am complaining. I just had never encountered a venue so strict with their press before. Regardless I was beyond pleased to be in the building that was about to host three exciting acts even if it were going to be indoors.
Tim Barry took to the stage with a beer in hand and a baseball cap shut down over his head. While most know Barry as the punk rock lead of Avail there were many who had no idea who he was. There seemed to be a lot in the crowd who were expecting more than a man and his acoustic guitar to fill the opening slot.
That soon changed as the Richmond, Virginian working class hero kept close to the mic stand and strummed his guitar playing “This November”. The punk turned folk rocker told everyone how busy he has been being on the road touring since January and pointed out at one time that he was not afraid of death at all but feared failure and especially being on stage playing a bad show.
I was most impressed to hear Barry not only play “Prosser’s Gabriel” but also state to the crowd before the song that he was planning on playing a free show on the parking lot in Virginia that lies over the burial site of Gabriel Prosser. The punk at heart bad ass was not kidding and even mentioned being told to bring along a lawyer because he knew he would get arrested. By the time the song was over just about everyone in the venue had their eyes on the one man show. Other tracks I enjoyed seeing live were “Avoiding Catatonic Surrender” as well as the end of the set chilling “Dog Bumped”. During that final song I could not help but scream along in approval (queue in Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison applauds) with the crowd during different moments of the track.
Barry might be a tough mother you-know-what, but he is also sincere and genuine as seen when he thanked the crowd for letting him play once it was time for him to exit. While the next act was getting set up Barry was actually walking around amongst the crowd where my two friend’s spotted him and bought him a beer. I was told that Barry said not only thank you to them but also yelled “that’s the biggest damn beer I ever seen!”
Tim Barry Setlist:
Moving on Blue
Church of Level Track
Avoiding Catatonic Surrender
Chamberlain hit the stage next and as much as I thought I was going to enjoy their set I didn’t. I have heard their material and recognized when certain songs were played like “Try For Thunder” and “Mountain Of A Heart” off The Moon My Saddle but just was not impressed. They sounded much rockier than what I am used to on their studio album and not to mention the lead singer was just acting off key. I am not the only one who noticed that either. Luckily for the band my thoughts about them were not shared with the rest of the crowd. They loved them and erupted with approval when the band stated they were happy to be back in Columbus.
The band played through a good set including “Manhattan’s Iron Horses”, “Stars In The Streetlight”, and the impressive live sounding “Raise It High” which I later picked up a 7″ of at their merch table. They were solid and on point but again I just was not feeling it (until the last song). I really need to give these guys another chance live as I love their albums and especially adore their previous act Split Lip.
The rock band of the night, hell -the year, Gaslight Anthem took the stage while Jay-Z’s “Empire State Of Mind” blasted over the PA with all smiles to the packed house. Wasting no time the band jumped into their latest album’s title track “American Slang” followed by “Boxer”. Brian Fallon and crew looked so happy to be on stage and gave the crowd the show they paid for continuing with my favorite track off American Slang “The Diamond Church Street Choir”. During the song I was curious to see if Fallon would be able to sing his Billy Joel-like ending and to my satisfaction he nailed it.
Keeping the momentum the band moved along with “Old White Lincoln”, “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues”, as well as “Mile Davis and The Cool” and “The 59 Sound”. Needless to say the entire crowd helped sing along throughout the set as well as danced, moshed, and just lost all control. After “Film Noir” Fallon spoke to the crowd but be it my bad ears or him strumming his guitar a little too hard, I could barely understand what he was saying. He mentioned to the crowd something along the lines that his Mom loved and shared this band from 1959 that featured a bunch of African-American men playing on an album with some guy named Elvis. The band immediately broke into “Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?” – Again, the place went insane.
After about six more songs including “Blue Jeans and White T-shirts” and “The Queen of Lower Chelsea” the band finished up their set with “Great Expectations”. Knowing that there would be an encore in just a few moments I was already fully satisfied or so I thought. With the crowd cheering in a soccer like chant of ” Gaslight Anthem” followed by claps the band returned to the stage and announced they would be playing a few more songs starting off with a cover of Lucero‘s “The War”. All I could think was how awesome it was going to be to hear their version when all of the sudden Tim Barry came out and sang along. I was speechless.
The encore, which lasted longer than most opening acts I have seen in my day, also included “We Came To Dance”, “Senor and the Queen”, and another cover from a band called The Who. It has been quite some time since I have seen an entire venue participate during a song but the moment “Baba O’Riley” started that all changed. The Gaslight Anthem’s version was exceptional and the moment they finished Fallon screamed “Yeah! So much fun!” He was correct in that statement, it was. I thought the show was over and that was the band’s farewell but they kept playing and I was not complaining one bit. Ending with “The Backseat” it was clear that I was not the only one who had just witnessed an amazing performance by a young and growing talented band.
The band exited the stage, the lights came on, and that was it – the show was over and it was time to go on our separate ways. Immediately the saying “the memories will last a lifetime” rolled thought my mind and I could not agree more. Throughout all of the shows I have seen this year this one will stand out a little more over the others. I was treated to an amazing performance by a band I have been a fan of since they were playing small clubs as well as finally grabbed the chance to see a good man named Tim Barry. That night is what live music is all about to me and I am grateful to have been there.
The Gaslight Anthem Setlist:
The Diamond Church Street Choir
Old White Lincoln
Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
Bring It On
Miles Davis & The Cool
The ’59 Sound
Red In The Morning
Angry Johnny & The Radio
Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
Boomboxes & Dictionaries
The Spirit Of Jazz
The Queen Of Lower Chelsea
The War – Lucero cover w/ Tim Barry lending vocals
We Came To Dance
Senor & The Queen
We’re Getting A Divorce, You Keep The Diner
Boba O’Riley – The Who cover
Here’s Looking At You Kid