Brian Fallon & The Howling Weather
@ The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
April 24, 2018
Torontonians have had a rough week. Without getting into the details, the violence of Monday, April 23 rd has left the entire city shaken. Grieving and looking for answers, by the next day many were seeking an escape from the 24 hr news coverage, looking for a way to heal, to be able to move on.
Enter Brian Fallon.
Fallon, fresh off his latest release Sleepwalkers, brought his new backing band The Howling Weather to a sold out Danforth Music Hall. The crowd was desperate for a good time, and on every level Brian Fallon delivered. For one night, in one crowded room, the negativity of the world seemed to fade away, with strangers swinging their arms around one another reveling in their love of the same music.
The last time Fallon came to Toronto he was playing with an entirely different band called The Crowes, but for the Howling Weather Fallon decided to strip back, with less E Street Band and more reminiscent of his days in the Gaslight Anthem. The sparser stage set up put a greater emphasis on the man and the music. This new band setup allowed Fallon to experiment with the arrangements of some of his older songs like “Smoke” and “Among Other Foolish Things.”
The highlight of the evening came when Fallon decided to take the stage solo. No band, no other musicians backing him up. Just Fallon, his music and the audience. Surprising pretty much everyone Fallon dove deep into his days in Gaslight Anthem and played a piano version of “The ’59 Sound”. Immediately afterwards, and before playing a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promised Land”, Fallon launched into a lengthy speech about the importance of looking out for one another and working together for the common good. A message last night, more than any other night, hit the audience right in the heart.
At his core Fallon is a storyteller and a few lengthy asides between songs helped give his music context, an idea of where these songs came from. They also kept the audience laughing throughout the night. Cheering at a rock n’ roll show is mandatory, but very rarely will you hear as much laughter as you do at a Brian Fallon show.
By the time Brian Fallon and The Howling Weather launched into the set closer “If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven” it was as if a weight had been lifted from the audience. Thanks to one guy from Jersey and his rock n’ roll band a lot of people in that audience went to sleep last night feeling a lot better than when they woke up that morning.
(Photography by Morgan Harris)