For the second time in a week I boarded the 5:25 to Glasgow, once again chaperoned by Boy Child.
So where were we off to on a chilly Tuesday evening?
Our destination was my favourite venue, the O2 ABC and we were heading there to see Brian Fallon and the Crowes.
It’s been just over six months since we last saw Brian Fallon play live and, even though he’d publicly said there would be no new tunes played this time, we were both keen to see him play again.
First on the bill was an act called Dead Swords. A lone druid-like figure stepped out on stage. Well, a tall familiar looking figure in jeans and a hoodie with the hood up stepped out on stage. His short set was an interesting listening experience. My first experience of “shoegazer” music. It’s most definitely music for musicians and it pains me to say it left me cold. There was a short debate between Boy Child and I about “who is that guy?” I’m claiming the win…I recognised Alex Rosamilia (Gaslight Anthem and Brian Fallon and the Crowes) Dead Swords ambient style was easy on the ears. Alex is easy on the eye!
Next up was Chris Farren. Judging by the size of the pedal board on the stage, I suspected we were in for more “shoe gazing”. This bundle of energy bounced onto the stage in the form of Chris Farren and delivered one of the quirkiest sets I’ve ever heard. His Facebook profile describes his genre as “slacker pop”…whatever that is!
Chris Farren has a unique approach to a set and his forty minute slot was highly entertaining. To me, it was largely more indie rock/pop. Light, with a hunt of punk, fun and easy to listen to. At times it felt a little tongue in cheek, especially when he played his own rapturous applause effects! Loved it! There were a few more poignant moments among the frivolity and he even threw in a Christmas song or two, much to the growing crowd’s amusement.
I’m not sure if would go back to see Chris Farren perform a longer set (he is very cute in an Orlando Bloom kind of way) but I may well be tempted to check out his new album Can’t Die.
Shortly after 9pm, Brian Fallon and the Crowes (including Alex Rosamilia and Jared Hart) took to the stage, opening their eighty minute set with Painkillers. Great set opener and the Glasgow choir were swiftly in fine voice.
Once again it was a delight to watch Brian Fallon relaxed and smiling on stage, enjoying some casual banter with members of the crowd.
As before the set was made up of a mix of music from the various projects he’s been involved in . We were treated to a fantastic version of Red Lights, originally a Molly and the Zombies song prior to its appearance on Painkillers.
Mid set Brian’s acoustic guitar made an appearance as he played two of my favourite tracks from Painkillers – the gorgeous Honey Magnolia and the incredible Steve McQueen. Love love love that song!
Two songs later Brian had another treat in store for the Scottish fans. When we saw him back in April, there were no Gaslight Anthem songs on the set list at all. Tonight there was one – The Navesink Banks- stunning song! Hearing it played live was breath taking. Seeing the smile on Boy Child’s face (its one of his absolute favourites) was heart warming. Perfect addition to the set.
From there on in Brian Fallon and the Crowes started to build on the tempo and the energy in the room. One of the highlights to the latter part of the set for me was Mojo Hand. Back in April we saw the live premiere performance of this one. (It’s a close second to Steve McQueen in order of preference for me.) This performance seemed a little more self-assured. More rounded. Loved it!
It was promptly followed by Rosemary then a trio of Horrible Crowes songs (Mary Ann, Crush and Behold The Hurricane) then the fantastic A Wonderful Life from Painkillers.
Brian Fallon makes it quite clear that he doesn’t waste time with encores. He does however round the evening off by bringing Jared Hart to the fore. The eighteen song set closed with them dueting in Linoleum, an NOFX cover. Perfect end to an entertaining evening.