Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Brian Fallon is a God"

The Gaslight Anthem at the House of Blues Boston – August 2, 2010

The first part of this story is here. I went to two shows on the same tour, to compare and to revel in music.

So here’s the thing about the openers the second time around. I was singing along with Tim Barry, and his songs have been stuck in my head ever since. I couldn’t tell you a thing Chamberlain sang.

This time, Tim Barry had a girl named Liz come out and play the violin with some of his songs and it added a great feeling and dimension to it. The crowd loved him. The girls next to me were going crazy over him, to the point where a woman behind me asked who he was. I was a little curious too, because even though I liked him, I couldn’t understand how so many people knew all the words to the songs by some dude with an acoustic. The drunk flailing girl informed us that he used to be in Avail. Oh. It makes so much more sense now.

Chamberlain was Chamberlain. Brian Fallon came out to sing with them at one point, a slow song with soul that sounded nothing like the rest of their music. When he came out he turned to the drummer and said “Hey Curtis, it’s a blues riff in B, watch me for the changes and try to keep up.” I love that the references and integration are a part of who he is, not just a gimmick for the albums.

And The Gaslight Anthem was amazing again. This was the show where “Great Expectations” began to mean something to me.

Brian talked a lot about Boston. I’d heard him comment on how we’re a tough city before, and he always give props to The Might Mighty Bosstones, but I thought maybe he did that to every city. He certainly didn’t to Providence, so his praise of Fenway Park and our tough, upstanding citizens made me smile even bigger.

I love them live. But here’s where my story of Gaslight picks back up. I’d seen the video for the “‘59 Sound” a few times on SURS way back when, but it took a while for it to stick. When it did, I bought the CD and listened to it. I didn’t love it at first, and put it aside, but kept coming back to it. By the time it had engrained itself into my bones I’d missed Brian Fallon’s acoustic show at the Middle East.

I’ve only found one other person who has heard of The Gaslight Anthem, outside of Steven Smith, music magazines, and people at shows. The same acquaintance from high school who recognized my “Paperface” quote on facebook had the line “You were gonna be my Judy Garland, We were gonna share your tin man heart” as his facebook status one day. He’s someone I took almost all of my classes with, but barely talked to, someone I think I could have been friends with had I been the same person then that I am now. I commented that I loved The Gaslight Anthem. He wrote back “Brian Fallon is a god.”

True. I keep coming back to the phrase “soul and story.” I’ve never heard so much of both in music before, such honesty and openness.

Do yourself a favor, and catch them live. It’s the best show of the moment and you will not regret it.

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