The redemptive power of rock 'n' roll may be the hoariest of cliches, but it's fueled Joe Strummer, Patti Smith and particularly Bruce Springsteen. With punk firepower and bona fide New Jersey roots, The Gaslight Anthem is more authentic than most hearts-on-fire rockers trawling Bruce Springsteen's legacy, but that hasn't kept them from pushing cliched mean-streets-mythology with overheated song titles like "Miles Davis & the Cool," and vague lyrics that ache for grand import without achieving much meaning. The contradiction of trying to pack real emotion into second-hand imagery like 1950's juke joints and rockabilly tough guys prompted Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon to have a rethink. Taking a sabbatical with acoustic duo The Horrible Crowes, Fallon delved into the dark balladry of P.J. Harvey and the jaundiced blues of Tom Waits. Instead of trading one set of bad-ass signifiers for another, Fallon has internalized his heartland-rock influences, streamlining his lyrics while retaining his band's adrenalized impact. Treading a well-worn trail blazed by The Dictators, The Gaslight Anthem proves there's still juice in songs about living for cars and girls. With Matrimony. $22.50. March 8, 8 p.m. The Fillmore, 1000 N.C. Music Factory Blvd. 704-916-8970.