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Words and Photos: The Gaslight Anthem / Tigers Jaw at The Midland Theater

The Gaslight Anthem. Photo by Aaron Rhodes.
Date: September 23, 2022

The Midland Theatre - Kansas City, MO

The Gaslight Anthem's most recent visit to Kansas City was a bit like a pony ride. Firstly because singer/guitarist Brian Fallon kept referring to it as a pony ride (mostly when remarking on his own on-stage chattiness). Secondly due to the show starting off a little rocky (the mounting of the pony, if you will) before smoothing out and becoming enjoyable enough (despite never quite reaching the thrill level that could be derived from sprinting on a Kentucky Derby front runner). Early on in the band's 90-minute set, Fallon asked the fans' forgiveness for his performance, hampered by the altitude sickness he battled in Denver and the amount of NyQuil he'd taken to recover. His voice during "High Lonesome," one of the night's first high-energy rockers, was noticeably ragged past the point of sounding endearing, though the band, all original members, backed him with grace and precision.


The middle portion of the show is where things got particularly rough. Fallon's banter (which included but was not limited to: enjoying watching The Strokes' frontman elicit boos from a Red Hot Chili Peppers crowd; trying to elicit boos for being a Yankees fan; mimicking The National's frontman but conceding that they now have Taylor Swift money; Kansas City is cool; not all cities are cool; the new Use Your Illusion box set; the stage lights being green for some reason; something about cleaning supplies) was becoming less charming and aside from a deep cut or two, this section held the set's least exciting material. If you can afford to get drunk at the Midland, this was the prime time to go do that. If you made it back just as the band finished "Stay Vicious" (during which Fallon sounded as if he was near death), you got back right on time.

Fallon and the gang managed to work themselves to a second wind and end the show on a high note. The heartland-punk rock hybrid of "Great Expectations" and all of its powerful swells were executed without a hitch. Fans were also treated to a pristine Brian Fallon singer-songwriter moment with "National Anthem." Coming down the home stretch, the band offered the pretty unfuckwithable "45" and closed with "The '59 Sound." It wasn't a win, a photo finish, or anything much of the like, but it was a memorable pony ride for one reason or another.


Scranton, Pennsylvania pop-punks Tigers Jaw opened the evening with a polished, polite set that rewarded fans of the band's newer material and left those who grew up seeing bands like this in scrappy DIY venues aching for something a bit more immediate and intimate.

Click here to view the full photo gallery.

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