When last we spoke with Brian Fallon (read that interview here), it was the morning after the first US tour date in support of his sophomore solo album, Sleepwalkers. With two full-length solo albums plus the Horrible Crowes catalog to draw from and backed by a retooled live band now known as The Howling Weather (longtime friend/collaborator Ian Perkins on guitar, Nick Salisbury on bass, Matt Olsson on drums), tour was off to a positive start. A month down the road, we caught the penultimate show of the Sleepwalkers US tour as it wound through Boston’s Royale nightclub last Tuesday night to finally take in the experience first-hand.
As she had for the last several weeks of the full-US tour, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Caitlin Rose kicked off the festivities on this particular evening. It’s probably not a stretch to assume that the bulk of the daily readers here at Dying Scene might not have Rose on their standard rotation, but we’re all also all about expanding musical horizons, so look her up. Backed by a three-piece band of her own, the silky-voiced Rose primarily plays a smooth blend of hypnotic alternative country and blues, like if Patsy Cline were fronting Mazzy Star. There’s a real soul to her voice when she opens up, giving tremendous depth to her forlorn stories.
Speaking of forlorn storytelling, Fallon kicked off his set with “Forget Me Not,” the lead single from Sleepwalkers. While the song – and the album in general – find Fallon in a more positive space than recent solo or even Gaslight work, there are still plenty of morbid undertones, the struggle against eternal pessimism. Ever the storyteller, Fallon spent a large chunk of time between the set’s second and third songs (“Red Lights” and “Come Wander With Me” polling the audience about a situation that was slated to come up the next night at the tour closer in New York City. Long story short; don’t bother sending Fallon direct messages through social media, and especially don’t propose to your significant other in a circle pit at a Fallon show.
Once the audience participation portion of the evening was over, Fallon and Co. got back to the rocking. The lion’s share of the set on the evening, as you’d imagine, was culled from Sleepwalkers and, to a lesser extent, its 2016 predecessor Painkillers, with a trifecta of songs (“Ladykiller,” “I Witnessed A Crime” and “Sugar”) from Fallon and Perkins’ 2011 The Horrible Crowes project thrown in for good measure. The set’s midway point featured a cover of the Derek And The Dominos classic “Bell Bottom Blues;” the song and its principal writer, Eric Clapton, have long been favorites of Fallon’s, so to hear him pull the song off live was a bit of a fanboy moment inside a fanboy moment. Going back to the Gaslight Anthem days, Fallon has typically opted to eschew encores, stating on numerous occasions that it seems like a waste of time and since you were going to play those songs anyway, just play those songs. As such, the remainder of the band left the stage after new, triumphant crowd favorite “Etta James,” leaving Fallon to man the piano for a solo version of “The ’59 Sound” that turned into an 1100-person singalong. Rose came back out and joined Fallon on a cover of the Dylan classic “Don’t Think Twice,” easily one of the saddest and yet razor-sharp post-relationship songs ever written, before Perkins, Salisbury and Olsson returned and brought the show to a rousing close with “If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven.” This leg of tour has now officially wrapped up and Fallon’s got a little bit of a break before he and the Howling Weather head back across the pond for European festival season. Oh, and there’s the issue of the Gaslight Anthem’s ’59 Sound tenth anniversary shows this summer as well. But hopefully we’ll get Sleepwalkers – Round Two this fall, because a night out at a Brian Fallon show is about as fun and cathartic as a rock and roll show gets.
Head below to check out our full photo gallery from the evening.