Brian Fallon @ Wylam Brewery, February 5 2019
The stages are becoming more and more stripped back, but Brian Fallon’s appeal continues to grow, as evidenced by another sold out Newcastle show on Tuesday night. The show itself was billed as ‘An Evening with Brian Fallon’, and that it was; with Fallon delivering an eclectic blend of tracks from his solo albums, Horrible Crows and of course, Gaslight Anthem days.
Having played Newcastle’s Boiler Shop less than 12 months ago, the New Jersey born star had already struck off his album promo tour, meaning he was free to play what he wanted. This approach went down a treat with the crowd, who had the fortunes of hearing songs they have not heard him play for years, such as the Horrible Crows numbers Ladykiller and Behold the Hurricane, along with a delicious rendition of National Anthem to kick start the show.
This opening proved a stroke of genius, settling the crowd, who had come to the show secretly praying to hear a Gaslight number. With only one Gaslight song (59 Sound) played in his previous two Newcastle shows, the inclusion of a number of their songs proved a welcomed treat for the audience, as Where Art Thou, Elvis, Stray Paper, and a wonderfully intimate version of American Slang found themselves worked into the set list.
With Fallon in fine form in front of the mic, he rolled through a number of solo favorites, including If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven, A Wonderful Life and Rosemary, before wrapping up with Etta Jones and Smoke, before eventually the stage after just 14 songs and a hour and twenty minutes.
His exit and lack of encore didn’t exactly enamor him to the Geordie crowd, who left feeling slightly underwhelmed, due to the fact he spent a large period of his time on stage talking and not playing. While crowd interaction has always been a major part of Brian Fallon’s shows, Tuesday’s performance took this to a completely new level, with his chatter verging on gibberish, rather than anything related to his music.
Kidney stones, Netflix and random phrases like ‘kids, get off the lawn, it’s not Halloween’ filled up a lot of his time on stage, seriously restricting the amount of playing time available. However, his decision to leave the stage 35 minutes before the curfew on a solo show that was going well was baffling.
Overall, it is fair to say that An Evening with Brian Fallon received a mixed reception, with the resounding feedback being less chatter, more music!