Chilis to the left of him, Mastodon to the right, Brian Fallon was facing a challenge, but in an arena packed with all sorts of tent-shuddering noise, a humble audience forego the racket for a slightly calmer feel. Slightly.
‘Nobody Wins’ and ‘Rosemary’ plucked from his debut solo album launch off the night before he starts to wander further and further into the rest of his work, battering the acoustics along the way. The Horrible Crowes get airtime from ‘Sugar’ onwards, and, you know, since Gaslight Anthem uttered the words (shudders) indefinite hiatus, there’s been a bit of a gap left. In one hour, Brian both reminds everyone just why those words sucked to hear, but also why they, and all his bands, are some of the finest around. He beams, the band indulge in long instrumentals, it’s a whistlestop run through the brilliance of Fallon’s career, his raspy vocals being met in hoards by those before him. It’s a mighty fine way to spend a festival eve, one that whisks you away into the heart of Americana and deposits you safely back in dusty Reading at the end to get on with your day.
Foot-stomping, hand-clapping, smile-raising, singalong-rousing, it’s everything and more you’d expect from Brian, and, to be perfectly honest, it’s just absolutely lovely to have him back again.