LIVE REVIEW: Brian Fallon, Limelight, Belfast, 11th March

Photo by: Clair McAllister

Last time Brian Fallon visited The Emerald Isle, Belfast wasn’t on the list, and this time the appreciation was wholly evident for The Gaslight Anthem’s charismatic frontman, who was joined in support by Belfast’s own Empty Lungs, in Dave and Tim Hause’s absence.

Arriving onstage at 9 pm sharp, Brian Fallon took to the stage and settled behind his keyboard, and, mirroring Dublin, opened with Sleepwalkers, the title track of his newest record. The garage punk maestro then armed himself with his faithful guitar, before launching into A Wonderful Life – the only song of the first 5 to come from his previous record, Painkillers. A guy who makes no secret of his influencers, Fallon also included hits from ‘Molly And The Zombies’, Tom Waits, and infamously finished with Sultans Of Swing from Dire Straits, showcasing some impressive guitar chops while playing tribute to his own heroes, while the audience projected endless gratitude onto theirs.

Photo by: Clair McAllister

Amidst the witty repartee and quirky tales, Brian Fallon managed to fit in a respectable yet adapted setlist of his own material, owing to the absence of Tim Hause, who had been filling in on keys on the dates of the tour. However, the real magic of the evening came in the shape of The ’59 Sound, comprised only of Brian Fallon’s vocals and keys, while the audience provided back up, before overtaking Fallon’s part and filling the room with love and appreciation for The Gaslight Anthem’s signature hit. See You On The Other Side followed suit, played simply with clean guitar and the gritty vocals of the man of the evening, as the emotionally charged lyrics resonated powerfully throughout The Limelight, encapsulating the crowd beautifully.

Photo by: Clair McAllister

Whether fronting The Gaslight Anthem or The Howling Weather, Brian Fallon holds his crowd effortlessly through his charming manner and passion for his craft, leaving everything onstage and giving his devotees everything they’d hoped for, and so much more. And despite missing the Hause touch on a few tunes, Fallon delivered a solid and hard-hitting performance to round off his Sleepwalkers’ tour. There can be little doubt that the countdown is already on for his return to Ireland with The Gaslight Anthem in July.

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