December 5, 2009

I’ve been dancing on this killing floor for years

This weekend is one of my personal favorites of the year, as I review back over a year of good shows, albums, and moments in music to start work on my year-end lists for 2009. I’m prepping to record my World Cafe conversation for NPR on Tuesday morning (it’ll air January 1st), which is always a process of squeezing 12 months of marvelous aural music wonder into about twenty minutes of talking. It’s never easy, but always fun, and always a privilege.

So I was sitting here watching some of the videos of shows I’ve seen this year when I realized that my very favorite concert video of the year was something I never posted. The current 300-something views of this video on YouTube may be mostly due to me since I feel like I’ve watched it many dozens of times and still am not tired of it.

It’s a video I shot of The Gaslight Anthem from the second night of their Colorado run in April. They sold out the Gothic Theatre with almost a thousand passionate fans who sang along with their whole hearts, and that night they played “I Coulda Been A Contender” (from their 2007 album Sink or Swim) for the first time yet on that tour.

Not only is this a terrific song that captures an innocence from some other time, but it also just plain rocks live. The video has a couple of those spots of regrettably fuzzy audio (my camera doth protest too much) but captures a tightly wound, spot-on, passionate performance of a great song. The band leapt and twisted themselves around their instruments, smiling with eyes closed on the very best lyrics, while the crowd roiled and yelled along. It captures both the joy and yearning of this band.

Make sure to watch to the very end.

I Coulda Been A Contender – Gaslight Anthem

I’m broke and I’m hungry, hard up and I’m lonely
I’ve been dancing on this killing floor for years
and of the few things I am certain
I’m the captain of my burden
I’m sorry doll, I could never stop the rain.

Once you said I was your hero
you would dance with me on a dime
we could spin this world right right right round
and catch back up on the flipside
I was gonna get this real big engine
I was gonna get them Broadway stars
you were gonna be my Judy Garland
we were gonna share your Tin Man heart.

There’s a dirty wind blowing
there’s a storm front coming in
there’s an SOS on the seas tonight
steady now steady now
soldier hold fast now
it’s heads or tails on heart attacks and broken dreams tonight…

I know, right?!


  • Life needs more of these moments.

    Mike — December 5, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

  • let me just say that the ending is the best part


    love this band. don’t mind the occasional fuzziness. I saw them in April too, in SF, and the lead singer was recovering from being sick and it still was one of the most memorable things ever ever ever.

    Hanan — December 5, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  • I love this band. Rock and roll romanticism at its best.

    kt — December 7, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

  • I saw TGA at Terminal 5 in NYC last fall. I don’t know if I’ll ever look at rock n roll the same way. Fallon is a once in a generation treasure.

    Dave — April 23, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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