Revisiting Gaslight Anthem and Other "Baby Boss Bands"

This past year and a half was a pretty Springsteen-centric one for me. It was just last summer that we lost The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band's mascot and longtime saxophonist at the age of 69 due to stroke complications.


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Then there was the reissue of 1978's Darkness On The Edge Of Town and a documentary that chronicled it's fitful recording and release before that. Discovering The River was another landmark.

And then just this past March, Bruce Springsteen released his seventeenth studio album, Wrecking Ball, to mostly middling acclaim, though it took me a few months to warm up to it. Later that month, Springsteen and his reinvigorated E Streeters stormed SXSW and ACL Live with a nearly three-hour set too.

The Gaslight Anthem, another gruff Jersey rock act, hits Bayou Music Center tonight with Hot Water Music and Rise Against. Touring behind this summer's Handwritten, the band has regained some of the spark they lost with 2010's American Slang.

The Gaslighters have shared a stage with Springsteen here and there, and have more or less been anointed by the Boss as a baby E Street, though they have yet to add a massive horn ensemble behind them. It took a whole horn section and one of Clemons' nephews to replace The Big Man alone.

The band, led by the very-Bruce sounding Brian Fallon, is just one of a few groups that have taken their cues from Springsteen. In late 2010 I listed a few other bands that bite from the Boss tree for a Rocks Off blog.

Since that year some of the bands on that list have either abandoned the hunt for the Boss sound, or just amped it up further, like Gaslight.

Against Me! is easily the most-changed of the bunch, with lead singer Tom Gabel rechristening herself as Laura Jane Grace without losing a step, though a few fans were a tad confused, bewildered and even angry.

Lucero largely abandoned the brass from their major-label debut 1372 Overton Park for this year's Women & Work. The band was dropped from Universal after 1372's tepid showing and were summarily snapped up by ATO Records, a label founded by Dave Matthews.

Late last year Hold Steady lead singer Craig Finn ventured to Austin record a solo album, and the Steady themselves are said to be writing material for a new, as-yet-untitled or scheduled album.

After being on hiatus for a few years, The Killers returned this week with a long-awaited new album, Battle Born, and a fresh outlook on the future. The band got flack for 2006's Sam's Town and its blatant Bruce landscapes. Their next two records were largely dance-pop.

As far as the Arcade Fire, another band pegged as Springsteen-bred act, they have been laying low since ending their touring cycle for The Suburbs, an album that saw them win a Album of the Year Grammy.

The Gaslight Anthem with Rise Against and Hot Water Music, 7 p.m., at Bayou Music Center, 520 Texas (Bayou Place), 713-230-1600.

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