Brian Fallon Live Review 2016

Brian Fallon | Live Review & Concert Photos | Irving Plaza, NYC | March 9, 2016

by • March 17, 2016

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Brian Fallon seems really happy.

I know that this must seem counterintuitive to those of you who know Brian Fallon’s music.  He has loved, and lost, and bares the wounds of loving and loosing.  He doesn’t believe that all we need is love, as he measures the success of love’s power against the amount of blood poured to achieving something so complex.  But for a fella’ who has been so often burned, now at 36 he is looking back to figure out where he has been and how he has arrived here.  And here he is, and he seems happy with just being here.

Brian Fallon Live Review 2016

And they say such foolish things, like “Love, love, love, love is all you need”
But everything inside is saying
‘Danger, baby, love’s gonna leave’

So I played your sympathy, have mercy on me
Cause I been hurt, I been stung, by the good name of love, ’til I threw my own heart in the sea…
Among other foolish things” 

I had the opportunity to see Fallon and his band perform at Irving Plaza.  Irving Plaza, a premier performance hall in New York City isn’t too far a drive from Fallon’s New Jersey roots in Red Bank, and teen years in Hackettstown. You might know Fallon as the front-man for “The Gaslight Anthem” who themselves enjoyed a large following until their 2015 hiatus.

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Fallon, and his solo release “Painkillers” is awash in the Alt-Country ethos.  More ‘Whiskytown’ than ‘Uncle Tupelo,’ Fallon mixes in the Tom Petty(ish) sound along with the punk-folk raspy voice of a man who has a clear sense of the disappointments of his past.  He channels the voice of early Dylan while paying homage to the meditation of late Springsteen.

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Fallon’s songs are self-aware if not completely self-referential as he touches upon conversations he had with past lovers and friends.  But he does not present himself as self-indulgent nor does he beg the listener to empathize with him.  He invites you in to be part of the discussion and if you stay for a while or not, that’s up to you.  He knows what he is feeling and doesn’t need the listener to validate his feelings.  His invitation to ride along is both sincere and earnest.  It’s like he may have been a rambling sloppy drunk last night, but today his mind is clear and he is ready to move on.

“Most of this life’s been a drag of a high
And lows like a blow in a paid thrown title fight
Most of my sins were born in a kiss on a night like this
Calling all lonely hearts”

He wants to move forward and he wants to feel better.

“Don’t you want a life like we saw on the picture show?
So come on, give me something, come on, keep me up all night
You say, my baby, all this time in between drives me crazy
I want a life on fire, going mad with desire
I don’t wanna survive, I want a wonderful life.”

During the concert Fallon enjoyed gentle banter with the audience.  He smiled and told the crowd how excited he was to be playing his new songs.  Even as he performed, his smile was evident and his mood was upbeat.  Before performing, “Steve McQueen” Fallon spoke to the crowd about about the heroes he had when he was a teen.  Steve McQueen was the original anti-hero, tough with a soft inside that shown through the dust and grit.  Fallon also mentioned that his own father liked the song.  For any boy of any age, getting your father to like your song is no small occasion.  And it doesn’t have to be a song, perhaps it’s a career, or how your father sees that you are a good father yourself.  That is a life changing affirmation.

On a side note: any man that didn’t cry at the end of the movie, “Field of Dreams” most likely has no soul… I’d bet any sum of money that Brian Fallon cried at the end of the movie.

“John Kinsella: Well, good night Ray.
Ray Kinsella: Good night, John.
[They shake hands and John begins to walk away]
Ray Kinsella:Hey… Dad?

[John turns]
Ray Kinsella: [choked up] You wanna have a catch?

John Kinsella: I’d like that very much”

So yes, Brian Fallon is happy.  It may have taken a while, and he still might be thinking of the road he has taken, but I think he is increasingly more interested in the road ahead.

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Brian Fallon Live Review & Concert Photos by Doug Dresher, edited by Sarah Schumaker.


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