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Festival Special: The Gaslight Anthem


You shouldn’t go to the churro stand during our set because…
“You’re going to see something you probably won’t see from the other bands — if you have any interest in a kind of live soul revue mixed with punk rock, that’s the ticket. We didn’t invent it; we’re just carrying on a tradition that’s been left on the wayside for 20 years.”

And if you can only catch one song, make it…
” ‘Say I Won’t (Recognize)’ [from the 2008 EP Señor and the Queen] — in the middle it kind of breaks down and stops, and we always incorporate a new song every night that people will recognize. We played a Pretenders song one night; sometimes a Sam Cooke song. It’s so cool to see people’s eyes light up when they know what the song is, then we come right back into our song and they go crazy. That’s my favorite thing to do: surprise people.”

But don’t take our word for it, ask Mr. Springsteen…
“I was doing a benefit in Red Bank, New Jersey, which is my hometown, and all of a sudden Bruce shows up and does an impromptu set. After the show, he comes up to me with Nicole Atkins and says, ‘Hey, you’re in the Gaslight Anthem! I’m Bruce Springsteen and I really like your band.’ I was just like, ‘I don’t understand what’s happening here. How do you know about my band?’ His kids got him into us, but then he started talking about how our album was recorded, how warm it sounds. Coming from New Jersey, you always get compared to Springsteen and it’s an honor, but this was unreal. Then he asked us to open for his enormous show in London, in Hyde Park. I couldn’t even tell people right away; I just had to process the whole thing.”

Read the entire Festival Season package in the May issue of SPIN, on newsstands now!