Brian Fallon | Review

Brian Fallon | Review

The Limelight, Belfast • Sunday 11 March ’18

By Michael Ferguson • Photos: Marta Janiszewska

For the second time in the day, Brian Fallon played a show in Belfast. After performing solo earlier in the day at Pretty Green in Belfast he took to the stage at The Limelight in Belfast with his full band ‘The Howling Weather’. The stage was bathed in red as Brian Fallon sat down behind his piano and started with Sleepwalkers, the title track from his latest album release of the same name.

Whilst a rather subdued opening to this set it was quickly followed up by Wonderful Life, which set the tone for the rest of the evening and it was an energetic, in your face through the varied music career of this highly talented American singer-songwriter.

Brian Fallon sports a beautiful Pelham blue Gibson guitar which stays attached to him for the majority of the evening, the high energy being relentless throughout. I think it is safe to say Brian Fallon is very much in the same vein as his Brit equivalent of Frank Turner, giving us sometimes angry but always heartfelt songs and in a way that just takes a rammed venue tonight along on a tidal wave of emotion.

They try to quickly learn a Bruce Springsteen song while on stage, it fails, and within a couple of chords of If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven a huge cheer goes up from the audience. It’s something that is repeated through the evening.

While the early day gig at Pretty Green was all about the stories tonight it is about the fantastic tunes. The gravelly voice of Come Wander With Me resounds around the room. You think to yourself surely his throat hurts like hell. The floor vibrates throughout with the booming bass.

Fallon throws a couple of covers into the mix tonight, his rough tones sit perfectly, a mirror image of the great Tom Waits, as he growls out Cold Cold Ground.

Little Nightmares is a tune that is so in your face. The energy levels of these songs are amazing and it is a guitar band delivering on every level. The lyrics, melody and great musicianship.

Brian Fallon has been involved in a number of different guises throughout his musical career, his most well-known being as lead singer in ‘The Gaslight Anthem’ along with ‘Molly And The Zombies’ and ‘The Horrible Crowes’ and each band gets an outing along with the work included on the albums ‘Sleepwalkers’ and ‘Painkillers’.

Etta James is a tribute to the legendary American Soul and R&B singer of the same name and Watson has a slow swagger about it reminiscent of the Gallagher brothers.

Fallon notices the advertising screen at the far end of the venue and takes great pleasure in noticing his own picture. What amazes him is that the revolving advertising screen publicises Skid Row. He wants to know if the lead singer is Sebastian Bach and if he is they would fly back to Belfast specially, in spite of the fact they live around half a mile away from Skid Row in New Jersey. In fairness, this travel folly is all shot down when it is pointed out that the gig actually happened last week.

The four in the band become one again as Brian Fallon perches on his seat behind the piano and The ‘59 Sound a song originally recorded by The Gaslight Anthem. It strikes a chord with this Belfast audience and it is definitely a sing-along favourite.

The band stay off as Fallon steps up with his guitar and quietly delivers the reflective See You On The Other Side.

It is nice to see another band dispense with the frustrating need to deliver an encore and the just plough on until the very end. The rest of the band join Fallon and finish the night in some style with a cover of Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits. It is a strange song to pick and end with but do you know what. They do the song such justice and it rounds off the night beautifully.

Fallon promises that he will be back in Belfast soon and warmly professes his love for the city. Roll on the next time.

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