Asbury Park, New Jersey was a music haven throughout my awkward, “no one understands me” pre-teen years. With the now defunct Bamboozle Festival that used to occur in the same town, The Gaslight Anthem was a mainstay for me and many proud New Jerseyans alike. How could you not root for the hometown band that makes great music? It’d be like being a homegrown New Yorker that roots for the Red Soxs (Yes, don’t do that.) When The Gaslight Anthem announced their indefinite hiatus in July 2015, I was interested to see where singer/guitarist Brian Fallon was going to go next. After all, this is the man who had released 2011’s Elsie with the Horrible Crowes moniker which is a great record if you haven’t had a chance to check it out.
On the heels of his first proper solo album, Painkillers, Fallon played a sold out show in New York’s Irving Plaza last night. Previously, I had been through a couple of shows the past week that were a little bit more rowdy, so this was a nice change of pace. The fans that night were in tune to the music. It was almost like a typical New York night, basking in the beauty of unseasonable warmth. Fallon’s set list consisted of songs from The Horrible Crowes, two covers from Fallon’s other side project Molly and The Zombies, and tracks off this forthcoming solo album. Of course there were a couple fans amongst the crowd that were chanting for a couple songs from The Gaslight Anthem. Yes, they got their wish when Fallon and his band played “Stray Paper” off of 2014, Get Hurt.
I usually try to decipher emotional responses from the performer and fans alike. Of course the fans were satisfied as they packed close into the barricade, some with phones in tow recording their favorite songs. Fallon seemed free – not free in the sense that he was elated in the performance, but freedom in the eventual release of this proper solo project. Listening to the title track live make me want to purchase the album tomorrow. Therein lies the power of live music. There have been many incarnations in the career of Brian Fallon – all that were successful in each of their own way. With Painkillers, it’s a new chapter and new music to bond to with a career that has given us many things to sing along to and about.