Brian Fallon has a thing for pumpkins. And no, that is not a euphemism. Several times during his show at the historic Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, he praised the deliciousness of his stage companion – Sam Adams’ Pumpkin Spice Ale.
Saturday night Fallon played the fourth third show (Friday night’s San Francisco gig was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances) that begins a grueling US tour schedule of 20 cities in 26 days, before heading to Europe for another brutal 23 shows in 25 days. No wonder the dude needs his pumpkin infused beverages – he’s seriously going to need all that vitamin C and potassium!
All kidding aside, Fallon put on a hell of a show in a venue made for his style of storytelling and audience banter between songs (eg: I recall Fallon referencing something about “sun’s out guns out”). He treats us like we’re in his (albeit very large capacity) living room and we are more than welcome at his party.
A little more than half the thirteen song set list were songs from Fallon’s solo album PainKillers, released in March 2016. “Georgia,” the title track off the limited edition three song EP released in April for Record Store Day, also made an appearance early on. Crowd pleasers peppered in were the gritty “Mary Ann” and “Crush,” both from Fallon and Ian Perkins’ (also of Gaslight Anthem) duo album Elsie released in 2011, as well as a handful from Molly and the Zombies, a side project formed in 2104 with fellow musicians Cat Popper, Brian McGee, Randy Schrager.
All throughout, Fallon thoroughly enjoyed his stage time – full of contagious energy while smiling, laughing, engaging with the crowd and jamming with fellow musicians. All giving the packed house a reason to react with vigorous shouts, whistles, screams, singing and dancing.
Following Fallon, Ryan Bingham took the stage in his white cowboy hat, scruffy beard and killer smile. With quite the celebrated background as a singer-songwriter, Bingham not only has a Grammy in his back pocket, but a Golden Globe, a Critic’s Choice Award and an Academy Award. Yep, dude’s got credentials to go along with his ruggedly tall, dark and handsome good looks.
Contrary to Fallon’s more classic American rock and roll sound, Bingham’s seriously (sexy) grainy voice and use of steel guitars and fiddles scratches the surface of the country music genre – with way more soul and emotionally evocative lyrics. There were times during Saturday’s set that I looked around at the crowd and felt they were dangerously teetering on that fine line of breaking out in synchronized two stepping. PTSD of pre-grunge era college days spent in the diviest of Tucson’s country bars began to kick in. But then I crushed HARD on Richard Bowden’s maniacal fiddle playing…and I forgot all about the hillbilly bro-mances going on around me. Bottom line, Bingham’s music is just plain LIKEABLE. It gets you moving. It makes you want to dance. He makes you want to lose your head – kind of like the line in the song “Radio” off his latest album Fear and Saturday Night.
But don’t take my word for it. Go see these two acts for yourself while they’re touring together.
Article: Shannon Leigh