LIVE: Brain Fallon / Chris Farren @ Kentish Town Forum, London

By Jess Tagliani

It’s a miserable autumn evening; it’s been raining for most of the evening, it’s already dark by 4PM, and it’s only halfway through the week. However, within London, New Jersey singer-songwriter Brian Fallon gets ready to treat the capital with his ‘Painkillers’ tour.

From what’s caught of his set, it becomes apparent that Florida-based Chris Farren is fun. He apologises for the current state of the US, before picking at the delicate cover ‘Bamboo Bones’. His voice doesn’t waver once as they tumble and flow over the smooth melodies he creates, whilst ‘Human Being’ turns up the tempo to become a foot-stomping, feel good closer.

With Brian Fallon’s sets, they seem to lie somewhere music and comedy. From the get-go, he’s cracking jokes left, right and centre, with thinly-vieled jabs at Donald Trump – “All I gotta say is, my state, all blue.”

But that’s not why the Forum has been packed out for tonight’s show (though the jokes and laughs are greatly appreciated). Supporting his stunning solo album ‘Painkillers’, Fallon has recruited his Horrible Crowes once again for his UK tour. From start to end, they humbly boast their talent and skill; catchy vocal hooks and soothing melodies intertwine to create ‘Painkillers’ and ‘Among Other Foolish Things’.

Old-school material from The Horrible Crowes is showcased in the form of ‘Black Betty’ – older fans cheer their approval at this smooth number. Fallon introduces ‘Nobody Wins’ with “This use to be the New Jersey Lotto song, but it now appears to beย the national American anthem” with a shrug and wide grin, before crooning a song of quiet despair and hopelessness; it’s poignant and incredibly moving, while ‘Honey Magnolia’ follows a similar suit. Delicate harmonies are strung together with breathtaking vocals from Fallon: in all of his projects, The Gaslight Anthem, The Horrible Crowes, and now this solo project, he consistently delivers fantastic vocals. His range is strong and powerful, and lends utterly heartbreaking emotion to his lyrics.

However, the biggest highlight is the surprise ending of ‘Ladykiller’ which quickly becomes Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ – laughs and whoops greet this unexpected change, before the room takes over on vocal duties to finish this song.

After tonight’s show, many of those in the crowd leave the Forum with a big smile plastered on their face. It’s evident that Brian Fallon and the Horrible Crowes have delivered another successful gig, complete with mighty songs and belly laughs – not something that’s always received at other band’s shows, making Brian Fallon even more unique.

JESS TAGLIANI