It took 28 minutes for New Jersey’s Gaslight Anthem to revisit the post-Springsteen, sleeve-of-tats dive rock from 2008’s brilliant LP, “The ’59 Sound.” The licks to “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” reminded me why I cared so much to begin with. Thirsty grooves, nostalgia for pinball and Tom Petty, a V8 engine hook.
The band’s subsequent LPs (2010’s “American Slang,” 2012’s “Hand Written,” this summer’s “Get Hurt”) have been, frankly, healthy scratches with an unmistakable pattern of diminishing returns. This is a working class, romantic band playing a fried sound. You probably don’t need that three-guitar formation, and the pay day is wholly tethered to what chief ombudsman Brian Fallon can conjure.
But 39 minutes into a mellow Samsung Galaxy Stage set, the band performed “Great Expectations,” a song about failed youth and botched marriages. It was an air tight rendition that sparked applause from the grey folks enjoying the shady trees, wearing Replacements shirts. The crossover love was not coincidental.
“I’ve never gotten a chance to see The Replacments,” Fallon said, “Probably one of the reasons we decided to be a band in the first place.”
He was affably chatty, squarely sun-soaked, and tangential as a result.
“Pants were a bad idea,” Fallon said, “We’re from New Jersey it doesn’t get this bad . . . the governor sucks.”
He talked about an affinity for boats and also pork. But his band closed with “The ’59 Sound’s” title track, a song about death and crossing over, and all of the pieces snapped back together.