Music » Critics' Picks

The Gaslight Anthem

8 p.m. Thursday, September 10. Pop's, 401 Monsanto Avenue, Sauget, Illinois.

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On the title track of the Gaslight Anthem's monstrously well-received The '59 Sound, singer Brian Fallon wonders aloud what song he will hear on his deathbed. This question could seem morbid in the hands of a lesser band, but the New Jersey quartet turns it into a nostalgic shout-along crammed with the sentiment of a thousand endless summer nights. Like its musical godfathers Springsteen, Petty and the Clash, the Gaslight Anthem has a propensity for approaching somber themes — abandonment, the fragility of life, the inevitability of death — while keeping heads and fists held high. The songs of '59 are propelled by vigorous backbeats, thoughtful guitars and unshakable optimism — sort of like the kind of songs you want to hear when you die.

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