Following the release of his second solo album, ’Sleepwalkers’, ex-Gaslight Anthem frontman, and all-round legend, Brian Fallon has been busy touring the UK and Europe, playing to packed out crowds wherever he goes. Tonight the tour rolls into Leeds. Joined his backing band, The Howling Weather, Fallon promises an earnest mix of soulful rock and heartfelt Americana punk.
With a stripped back, broken down set, Dave Hause opened up to a heaving Leeds Beckett Student Union, just him and his brother Tim alternating between a variety of instruments as they played through the most popular songs from his solo catalogue. Despite being the supporting act, it was pleasing to see the audience had turned out in full force to catch Dave’s laid back, mostly acoustic set, clapping and singing along right from the start, with quite a few of them knowing his songs.
Hopefully, Dave appreciated the comic irony of a stage light exploding during ‘The Flinch’, causing him to literally flinch backwards and step away as a cascade of shattered glass reigned down – mostly on Tim! Nevertheless, his unique blend of jaunty, singalong Americana punk littered with relaxed between-song banter and occasional political references was the perfect introduction to the quirkiness that followed… (4/5)
Brian Fallon took to the stage with riotous applause from the friendly crowd, who then settled in for ninety minutes worth of full on entertainment, with his appreciative fans singing along with every word, fists pumping the air enthusiastically. With such a wide variety of songs and different projects over the years, it must be hard for him to choose a set sometimes, and tonight, the majority of the songs came from ’Sleepwalkers’, although he did throw in three from Horrible Crows, two from Molly and the Zombies and one Gaslight Anthem classic.
At times, it felt like not simply a gig, but ‘An Audience With Brian Fallon’, with the oddball singer treating us to his own personal comedy show as he chatted away and told extended anecdotes in between songs. At one point, he invited the Leeds crowd to teach him the “Yorkshire chant” then made up an on the spot ditty, his band improvising as the fans at the front all chanted “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire” in time to the music. It was funny for a while, but was starting to wear thin for some of the fans who just wanted to hear more music. With shouts of “play a song” coming from the back, eventually, he did, bashing through five consecutive hits that got everyone roused up and on side again.
Of course, the light bulb incident was another topic for him to poke fun at, with the band bringing on Tim Hause to check if he was alright and wanting to know whether he’d been “singed”. Brian joked that he’d been “on fire tonight” and then dedicated ‘Ladykiller’ to him, to amused cheers from the crowd.
The songs were well played and tight throughout, with some luscious, sweet harmonies provided by his band The Howling Weather (‘Forget Me Not’, ‘If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven’, ‘Rosemary’). Coming back on for an encore after ending with a Dire Straits’ ‘Sultans Of Swing’ cover, Brian returned to play a couple of songs solo, and here’s where he whipped out a raw and heartfelt version of ‘The 59 Sound’, just him on the piano. This was followed by ‘See You On The Other Side’, then the whole band came back on again for the final finale, performing a cover of U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, along with Dave Hause guesting on keyboards closing what proved to be an entertaining evening and a good show. (4/5)
Words by Bec Simpson (@swallowmyeyes)