Most will likely agree that there is nothing better than seeing an artist perform in a space smaller than their reputation would usually permit. Having already sold out Hammersmith Apollo with his band in a matter of hours this year, Brian Fallon (of The Gaslight Anthem fame) put on a treat for the fewer-than-1000 fans gathered in Kingston Hippodrome.
Support came from the more-than-capable Dave Hause, accompanied this evening by his multi-instrumentalist brother Tim Hause. The set pulled in equal measure from most recent release Bury Me In Philly and Hause’s broad back catalogue – with fan favourite "Only Time Will Tell" garnering a little singing along from the crowd, as does "Prague" from 2011’s Revival Tour. Closing with album opener "With You", Hause receives a warm reception and promises to try and arrange a small pub show on this touring cycle so his fans can see him up close again – something to keep an eye out for.
On Fallon’s side, tonight’s show was in aid of the release of Sleepwalkers, the follow-up after debuting with 2016’s Painkillers. Blending 1950’s early rock n roll with 1980’s Americana, gone are the punk influences found in early The Gaslight Anthem and in its place are 12 nostalgic ballads. They continue Fallon’s uncanny knack to write songs that make you feel like you’ve grown up listening to them, whilst still sounding fresh. The newer tracks slot seamlessly into the setlist, along with those from Painkillers and The Horrible Crowes’ only studio album Elsie – Fallon’s previous project with long time collaborator Ian Perkins (who also plays tonight as part of The Howling Weather).
Fallon’s voice is a worthy centrepiece, and live it draws you in like an old friend; weaving tales of love, death and heartbreak. From the sultry whisper of "Ladykiller" to the pure emotion invoked in the soaring chorus of "Etta James", every word is delivered with a smoky passion and the confidence of a man aware of the fact he holds the entire room utterly captivated. This reached its peak when performing a melancholy and impactful version of "The ‘59 Sound" solo with piano.
Many would mourn the ongoing hiatus of new music from The Gaslight Anthem, yet both Sleepwalkers and tonight’s show have displayed instead we should be celebrating the solo efforts of Brian Fallon. With this latest album further strengthening an already solid back catalogue, and performances delivered with the confidence and ability of tonight’s, it won’t be long before Fallon is selling out venues the likes of which he will have been used to in the past – with the potential to go even further as well.
Listen to Fallon's song "Etta James" here.
Brian Fallon & The Howling Weather's Setlist:
01. A Wonderful Life
03. If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven
05. Come Wander With Me
06. Red Lights
07. Forget Me Not
08. Little Nightmares
09. Among Other Foolish Things
12. My Name Is The Night (Colour Me Black)
13. Etta James
15. Behold The Hurricane
16. Last Rites (solo piano)
17. The ‘59 Sound (solo piano)
18. Travelin’ Band (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
Remaining Brian Fallon and Dave Hause UK & Ireland Tour Dates:
02/20 – Birmingham, O2 Institute
02/21 – Manchester, O2 Ritz
02/22 – Glasgow, O2 ABC
02/23 – London, Koko (SOLD OUT – try Dimestore Saints forum for spare tickets)
02/24 – Nottingham, Rock City
02/25 – Bristol, SWX (SOLD OUT – try Dimestore Saints forum for spare tickets)
03/08 - Newcastle, Boiler Shop
03/09 - Leeds, Beckett
03/10 – Dublin, Olympia
03/11 - Belfast, Limelight