Having visited Glasgow several times with his former band Gaslight Anthem, Brian Fallon ventured out onto the stage at the O2 ABC as a solo artist.
He does of course have his live band The Howling Weather with him, but these are his songs and his performance. Affable and light-hearted, Fallon’s experience as a frontman is clear to see. Between songs he converses with the crowd and jokes around with his band.
That type of performance can sometimes grate if the artist is particularly uneasy or self-indulgent. In this case, it adds something to the gig. Fallon is beaming for almost the entire show and his enjoyment comes across as completely sincere and genuine.
As always, his voice is rock solid and commands the venue. The vocals are not dissimilar to those of early Against Me! tracks. Given that Gaslight Anthem and Against Me! emerged at a similar time and seemed to play to similar crowds, it’s easy to relate the two.
Fallon’s solo work is not the reveal of a radically reinvented version of himself but is basically a continuation of his work with Gaslight Anthem. Big, Jersey-founded, somewhat old-fashioned guitar music.
The best example of his song writing/composing from his new work is Forget Me Not. This was also probably the best song of the night. The catchy, guitar-led tune is like a Manic Street Preachers track but with an extra dose of pop on top.
The night also featured the recently released If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven as well as a brief rendition of Beastie Boys’ Sabotage (at the crowd’s request) and great cover of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For as part of the encore.
The vast majority of Brian Fallon’s work is laced with positivity, and that positivity is instilled in the crowd. Were I to be at all critical (and typically cynical), I’d say that there’s the possibility of that positivity being a bit too full on and a bit nicey-nicey.
With a voice as powerful as Fallon’s, and a great, chunky guitar hanging off his shoulder, there is a craving for something a bit more fiery and ferocious. Mine is not to dictate the style of an artist’s music but I did come away wanting to listen to some more Beastie Boys rather than more Brian Fallon.
by Luke Hawkins