On Monday November 26th, the House of Blues was alive with live performances from Matthew Ryan, the Polar Bear Club, and headlining band The Gaslight Anthem. When the show began I was surprised to see a man walk onto the stage with a guitar. I had absolutely no idea who he was and I had only read that the concert involved Polar Bear Club and the Gaslight Anthem. The only thing this man confessed before he started playing was how nervous he was. He had an amazing voice, somewhat raspy, but it was apparent that was what he was going for. After the third song someone from the crowd finally asked what his name was, he gave a fake name and then gave his real name a couple of seconds later, Matthew Ryan. On the fourth song he used a harmonica in addition to the guitar. The entire time he played I could not get out of my head the resemblance to Bob Dylan. I was completely surprised by this unknown to me performance, but it was amazing. He was very funny and get the crowd engaged.
Next on the stage was Polar Bear Club, one of my all time favorite bands. The energy of this band is unmatched to any band I have ever seen. Jimmy Stadt, the vocalist, will never be seen standing still for honestly more than one second. The band sounded amazing per usual. It was easily apparent that many people in the crowd were not familiar with Polar Bear Club, but it didn’t seem to matter. People could be seen grooving along to the fast paced music the entire set, a sure sign that once again the Polar Bear Club did not disappoint. In the middle of the set Jimmy announced that this concert was very special. They’ve been touring full time for the last five years, and a longstanding member of this journey, Nate Morris (guitar player), was leaving the band. The concert at the House of Blues on November 26th would be his last.
The Gaslight Anthem, the long awaited performers, finally took the stage to one of their new songs, Mae, off their newest album, Handwritten. To simply say that the sold out audience loved this band would be an understatement. People could be seen on every level of the venue singing and dancing along to this rock band. The set list effectively consisted of songs from all of their albums including Angry Johnny and the Radio off their 2007 album Sink or Swim, and The ’59 Sound off their 2008 album also titled, The ’59 Sound. Their second song on stage was The ’59 Sound, surprisingly very early in the set but the band is obviously confident enough in their other songs to bust it out so early. The energy of the show was never-ending and eventually after about their nineteenth song the band was finished.
This ending did not sit well with the audience and I’m sure “Encore!” could be heard blocks away in the Fenway district. The Gaslight Anthem took back the stage and continued to play another seven songs! Their performance ended with The Backseat, a song off their 2008 album. Four albums into their career, each with a different style of their sound allowing for the easy transition from one song to the next on their set list regardless of the years in between.
By: Justine Fischer