There aren't many newer musical artists who elicit such a fervent response from their fans as The Gaslight Anthem.
A packed Egyptian Room greeted the New Jersey band Saturday night by singing along to virtually every song in their 90-minute set. It's easy to understand why. The Gaslight Anthem's lyrics are very heart-on-sleeve descriptive, full of tales of youthful indiscretions and working class eunni.
From opening number "Boomboxes and Dictionaries" to closer "The Backseat," the crowd was in it for every refrain. New anthems like "Handwritten" and "45" hew with Gaslight's classics including "The '59 Sound" and "Old White Lincoln." Slowing it down, as on quietly weighty open letters like "Here's Looking At You, Kid," only prompts the audience to sing louder.
The Gaslight Anthem may get constantly compared to a certain other Jersey native, and with their lyrics it's understandable. But their music is more punk/'80s garage revival than The Boss has ever doled out. And other than stopping to tune, switch guitars and remark on the Egyptian Room's ambience and seeing someone crowd-surf in high heels for the first time, singer/guitarist Brian Fallon kept the proceedings at a brisk pace.
Same with fellow Jerseyites The Bouncing Souls. Legends in their own right, the band is celebrating nearly a quarter-century together. They blew through a 45-minute set mixing classics with cuts from last year's Comet. Having such an effortless, anthemic style of punk rock, it's odd the quartet has never moved beyond the Warped Tour scene to greener pastures. But it's obvious they've influenced a generation of punks, including Gaslight. On this night, Indianapolis got a killer dose of the Jersey Shore that was welcome.