Opening act on Sept.
25 was Hot Water Music.
By Tim Hinely
Water music have been at this punk rock game for quite some time, longer than
both Gaslight Anthem and Rise Against (who headlined and I didn’t bother to
stay for) but here they are opening up the show, with their equipment set up in
front of both bands (and Gaslight’s stuff was in front of Rise Against’s so
H.W.M. was near the front of the stage). Still, they seemed genuinely happy to
be there and blasted out a meaty, 45-minute set. Their stuff falls into the
Husker Du/Leatherface vein (they shared a great split ep with the latter about
a decade ago) but there’s plenty o’ hooks buried beneath all that fuzz. They
played several tunes off their latest, Exister (their first record since 2004) including heavies like “Paid in Full” and “The
Traps.” Welcome back boys.
Gaslight Anthem came out armed with an extra guitarist this time (now a
5-piece) who wasn’t there the last time they played Portland (I’ve heard he’s their former guitar
tech, makes sense). Regardless, leader Brian Fallon seemed in a jovial mood
(the 2nd of a two night stand here in Denver)
and was quite chatty in between songs. They opened with “American Slang”,
ironically the opening song off their previous record (not their new one) and
then kicked into another old, the great “The ‘59 Sound” (off 2008’s record of
the same name). From there it was a nice
mix of tunes off their latest, Handwritten,
and songs of both of the two records that preceded it before kicking into some
new ones like “45,” “Here Comes My Man” and “Keepsake” (which Fallon told the
crowd was heavily influenced by one of his heroes, Neil Young) before ending
the set with a roaring version of “Great Expectations (also off The ’59 Sound). The band sounded fine
but a pal of mine who accompanied me to the gig, who had not previously heard
T.G.A. opined that maybe the band would do better in more of a pop/rock vein
ala The Replacements Tim. Less
bluster and more nuance. Hmmmm….interesting thought. Wonder if Brian Fallon
will go for it?