I burst into tears during Backseat “and if you never let me go // then I will never let you down.”
It was the culmination of 7 years following this band and the realisation this could be the last. How transient bands are, but how permanent the music is. They came into my life filling a hole I didn’t realise was there. Their music captured something about life and love and living that hadn’t been done before. And they made me so happy, they still do.
Kara and I first saw them live on their first trip to the UK in 2008 when they played Reading’s Lock Up Stage - they were great. Funny and full of energy and soul and stories about hats and The Mighty Boosh. Over the next few years Kara and I, soon to be joined by Lauren and Ella, traveled all over England to see them. We even went to Madrid. We saw them in Bristol where we had the greatest performance of Old White Lincoln I ever saw and we saw them at Koko where Brian’s smile bounced off the walls. At the Forum with my fingers outstretched towards them “let it out, let it out, let it out, you’re doing alright.”
Seeing them live is always this incredibly uplifting and fulfilling experience.
We met them a couple of times. I was so nervous meeting Brian and felt so embarrassed being a fully grown adult wanting to articulate to another fully grown adult why his records hold a place in my heart. But he was gracious and open and allowed me time. We left with free pizza and teabags.
Bands only really work when they want it to be working, and it’s not fair to expect something from artists when they’re not able to give it. So I won’t begrudge them this hiatus, and I welcome them the chance to go home. I’ll raise my glass in thanks to them for the memories and wish them all the best.
We’ll see you on the flipside.
now I drive the 101 in the California night // & I’m amazed at all the stars beneath that old Hollywood sign // & they waltz the ballet on the Boulevard to a pace we’ve never kept // & I’m not sure if I belong here
In 2008 Kara and I first saw The Gaslight Anthem play the Lock Up Stage at Reading Festival. Today, Kara booked us tickets so we can wave them off on their hiatus at Reading Festival this August. I like the symmetry of that.
I like knowing that over the years in-between we have traveled all over the country by train, bus and car to see this band play. I’ve even traveled over sea. From sweaty underground shows at The Astoria 2, to massive headline shows at Alexandra Palace, they’ve been a constant and a comfort.
This band changed everything, and I wish them the best.
Have some photos of one of the best times we saw them in Bristol in 2010. When they were “Gaslight Anthem, The Rock Band” and Brian gave us pizza.
& we sing with our heroes 33rpm // we’re never going home until the sun says we’re finished // I’ll love you forever if I ever love at all // with wild hearts, blue jeans and white t-shirts