As fans shuffled through the narrow entrance of Main Street Music, gripping their plastic wrapped copies of Painkillers, Brian Fallon quietly took a seat before gently urging those finding a place up front to do the same.  Visiting the Philadelphia record store several hours before his nighttime appearance at the Electric Factory, the Gaslight Anthem frontman performed a brief afternoon set filled with songs from his solo debut.  And while it wasn’t officially set for release until March 11th, Painkillers managed to arrive a few days early (03-08-16) for the small, grinning audience nestled inside the Manayunk music store.

Traveling on foot and on wheels, the people who glided by outside could often be seen craning their necks to peer through the window, catching a glimpse of Fallon made hazy and dim from the sun’s glare.  Inside the store, the musician sat framed by two Yamaha speakers, with his back to an easel holding a poster board cut out of the blue tinted record sleeve.  While he spoke to the crowd, he occasionally picked at chords, frequently smiling as jokes were passed back and forth. In between sips of coffee and stories about the making of the album, at one point during his set he even offered up his guitar’s capo as a potential toy for a fidgeting baby being held by her mother.

Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon






Introducing “Smoke” as “a song from this record here,” he motioned to an audience member near his feet to hand him their copy, saying, “Let me see that,” before admitting, “I haven’t seen it yet.”  After quickly studying the vinyl and then jokingly holding it up to the large-scale photo behind him, he handed it back and began to strum soon after, nearly making good on his earlier prediction that he might end up doing more talking than playing.





“This is the title song, has nothing to do with drugs, though.  The record was called Painkillers because I always found music was…that’s what it was.  It was a thing, like a comfort that you could take with you.”                 

With sunlight streaming through the store, Fallon performed “Painkillers” just as he would every other track he played that afternoon: alone on his Martin acoustic.  If there were any kind of tool or scientific unit capable of measuring what separates a good song from a great song, the only conceivable test would probably ask whether the arrangement could be reshaped, stripped down and still feel as compelling as any larger scaled incarnation the audience may be more familiar with.  After all, there aren’t many who can make a single acoustic guitar and one voice feel both big and small where it should, unearthing a different kind of color and dimension whose roots had stretched for miles beneath every layer of music.  Although as the audience watched Fallon softly tap his foot and sing with his eyes closed, his brow lifting every time his voice did, it was clear that no one left Main Street without being absolutely certain that Fallon has always been one of them.

Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon

Brian Fallon





Among Other Foolish Things



Painkillers is available online and in stores TODAY


Joined by a core band featuring Ian Perkins, Catherine Popper and Alex Rosamilia, Brian Fallon is on tour now:


3/11     Royale Boston                                                            Boston, MA

3/12     Starland Ballroom                                           Sayreville, NJ

3/13     The Opera House                                            Toronto, Canada

3/15     The 9:30 Club                                                 Washington, DC

3/17     SXSW Outdoor Stage At Lady Bird Lake    Austin, TX

3/18     Turner Hall Ballroom                                      Milwaukee, WI

3/19     Varsity Theater                                               Minneapolis, MN

3/20     House of Blues Chicago                                 Chicago, IL

3/22     The Riot Room                                               Kansas City, MO

3/23     The Summit Music Hall                                  Denver, CO

3/25     Great American Music Hall                            San Francisco, CA

3/26     House of Blues San Diego                              San Diego, CA

4/5       02 Ritz Manchester                                         Manchester, United Kingdom

4/6       02 ABC                                                           Glasgow, United Kingdom

4/7       02 Institute Birmingham                                 Birmingham, United Kingdom

4/8       KOKO                                                            London, United Kingdom

4/9       Rock City                                                        Nottingham, United Kingdom

4/10     02 Academy Bristol                                        Bristol, United Kingdom

4/11     St. Pancras Old Church                                  London, United Kingdom

4/12     Zappa                                                              Antwerpen, Belgium

4/13     Melkweg The Max                                          Amsterdam, Netherlands

4/14     Astra, Kulturehaus                                          Berlin, Germany

4/15     Muffathalle                                                     Munich, Germany

4/17     Arena Wien                                                     Bezirk-Landstrasse, Austria

4/19     Gloria-Theater                                                 Köln, Germany

4/20     Fabrik                                                              Hamburg, Germany

5/13     Centennial Olympic Park                                Atlanta, GA


Article: Caitlin Phillips


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