Gaslight Anthem are a Reading & Leeds institution already, and there are few other bands guaranteed to see punters snake in from the campsite to sing their hearts out to. This year, it’s plain to see that even more people than usual are heading down to the Main Stage to see them.
It helps, of course, that the sun’s out, but with new album ‘Handwritten’ entering the charts at Number Two the other week, the band are now a genuine mainstream proposition. The band start up with two classics instead though, with the gruff, punky Springsteen-esque sing-alongs ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Old White Lincoln’ starting things off.
Singer/guitarist Brian Fallon has a huge grin on his face for the whole set, shouting out Eagles of Death Metal and tonight’s headliners Foo Fighters (“one of the best bands ever!”) before the band tear into ‘45’, and delighting in directing the audience through a nifty ‘Here Comes My Man’’s “oh-sha-la-la” hookline.
‘American Slang’ and ‘Handwritten’ continue a chest-beating performance full of passion and big choruses, with Fallon’s enthusiasm and the clear bond with the festival and fans preventing things from becoming too overwrought.
A storming, emotional version of ‘The ’59 Sound’ continues a fun, communal big stage performance, and the only fists not up in air down the front belong to one of the legions of people with their friends on their shoulders.
They bow out on a rollicking ‘In The Backseat’, with Fallon promising: “If you never let me go, well I will never let you down.” That’s just the kind of devotion that the band get right back at them today.
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