Brian Fallon shares “Painkillers” with Chicago crowd

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Sunday night, New Jersey rocker Brian Fallon paid a visit to the House of Blues. Fallon has played in Chicago countless times in the past eight years as front man of his punk band The Gaslight Anthem, but last night he was there for a different reason.

Shortly after The Gaslight Anthem announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus back in August, Fallon announced plans for a solo album, entitled “Painkillers.” Though he has been involved in other side projects in the past (The Horrible Crowes, Molly and the Zombies), this was Fallon’s first solo album. That night at the House of Blues, fans got to see how great those solo songs turned out to be.

Fallon and crew took the stage shortly after 9:30, after solid sets from opening acts Jared Hart and Austin Plaines. His backing band the Crowes, which included Gaslight guitarist Alex Rosamilia, Horrible Crowes guitarist Ian Perkins and Hart joined Fallon. The band kicked off with the song “Last Rites,” the first song of the Horrible Crowes’ only album “Elsie” and a very well liked song. It perfectly set the mood for the rest of the night: a fun night of songs that you can sing along to with your friends. Fallon and company played a good mix of songs from “Painkillers” and “Elsie.” He even treated the Chicago crowd to an acoustic, folky version of skate-punk legends NOFX’s “Linoleum,” after discussing how people should be allowed to like whatever kinds of music they want to like.

Speaking of his banter, last night’s show proved that if Brian Fallon’s music career ever fails, he could make it as a comedian. After mentioning how the band attended the House of Blues’ Gospel Brunch, an annual Sunday event that features gospel music and a buffet, Fallon remarked that he wants to go to a church that serves chicken and waffles at their services. He recommended that the crowd look up Dr. Steve Brule on YouTube, a series of Adult Swim videos featuring Chicago native John C. Reilly as a socially awkward and zany doctor. Early on in the show, Fallon asked the crowd for a pair of sunglasses for his drummer to wear; three pairs were thrown from the crowd onto the stage. As any person would do, Fallon proceeded to put each pair onto his head as he launched into the title track of his album (the sunglasses only lasted a verse).

If nothing else, last night Brian Fallon showed the Chicago crowd his skills as one of the most exciting artists in rock and roll. Just like his influences (such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan), his songs conjure up nostalgic memories of a reckless youth. His songs are easily relatable and accessible (who can’t relate to a man singing lines like “I want a wonderful life?”) The Crowes backed Fallon up with great execution, and the light mood the band kept onstage transferred to the crowd as well, culminating in a night filled with what Brian Fallon’s music is meant for: fun sing-alongs with your best friends.