Live in Antwerp (4/12/2016)
Zappa - Antwerp
Describing the appeal of Brian Fallon is a hard thing, but there’s no doubt about it, the Gaslight Anthem’s front man has an undefinable charm. He writes the kind of music that draws people from all ages with different backgrounds to the same same show. This time was no different. It was a chance to hear what Fallon would do with the songs of his latest release and first solo effort Painkillers. For Horrible Crowes fans it was also the first possibility to hear songs of off fan favourite Elsie live in Europe. The turnout was pretty good, considering it’s a solo project and the venue was changed to a different city a few weeks before the show.
Brian and his Crowes started their show with Red Lights, Rosemary and I Witnessed a Crime. A bit of a slow start, or maybe the crowd just needed some warming up. The second song of off Elsie, however, really did win the crowd over. When Sugar kicks in, it just hits you right in the feels, it doesn’t matter how cool you are. Followed by Ladykiller and Honey Magnolia this was probably the strongest part of the set.
The Painkillers songs really translate well live and fit in with all of Fallon’s material nicely. If it weren’t for the different route that was chosen for the production of both records, songs like Honey Magnolia, Smoke and Steve McQueen could have been on Elsie as well. There might be a different take on the songs for each “brand” of Fallon music, it’s still Fallon.
A little treat for the punk rock kids was a great cover of NOFX’s classic Linoleum. Think of Streetlight Manifesto’s rendition meets Bad Astronaut’s but with Fallon on vocals. You can’t go wrong with that song really.
Brian Fallon’s famous for a few things. His stories are one those things, in which he’s never too shy to embarrass one of his band mates. Not playing encores is another one, in stead he prefers to just keep playing songs and then walk off stage when they’re done. He announces it, so nobody is expecting anything else. I’m going to applaud that habit, because the whole “calling the band out again” routine can be annoying or even awkward for everyone involved at times.
The set was closed with 4 Horrible Crowes songs, Black Betty And the Moon, Mary Ann, Crush and Behold The Hurricane. Pretty good choice and an audience convinced. After seeing this show I get the feeling it could be a good thing the Gaslight Anthem is taking some time off. Their last few performances gave me the feeling they sort of lost their drive. But this time around, it felt good to be alive again, my friend.