NPR logo Faces Of Joy: The Gaslight Anthem

Faces Of Joy: The Gaslight Anthem

Friday afternoon, Monkey See blogger Linda Holmes wrote a post titled "Five Minutes of Unadulterated Joy," with a link to a YouTube clip in which a wedding processional turns into a fabulous dance party. I can't quite put my finger on why the video is as wonderful as it is — it's more moving than it is funny, for some reason, even though it's going for laughs — and Linda's headline reminded me of another joy-inducing five-minute video I'd seen recently, this one featuring the New Jersey band The Gaslight Anthem.

I've spent a good chunk of this summer kicking myself for discovering The Gaslight Anthem nearly a full year after its tremendous album The '59 Sound came out. The group channels the best attributes of its most obvious influence, Bruce Springsteen — the yearning, the majesty, the promise and pitfalls of youth — in a way that's massively catchy and genuinely inspirational.

Well, others were way ahead of me, fandom-wise, so The Gaslight Anthem was booked to perform at the Glastonbury Festival earlier this summer. Which, in turn, gave the band a chance to perform its signature song, "The '59 Sound," with Springsteen himself popping up on stage to sing backup and play rhythm guitar. Click here to watch.

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As soul-stirring as the performance is, Heather Browne — author of one of my favorite music blogs, I Am Fuel You Are Friends, which first pointed me to the Glastonbury footage — nails what makes it transcendent in a perfect headline: "If You've Ever Wondered What Pure, Unfettered Joy Looks Like..." The song is marvelous, and Springsteen radiates goodwill out of every pore, but just watch singer Brian Fallon's face in this clip. His joy is palpable, bone-deep and infectious.