The Horrible Crowes | The Audio Perv
Posts Tagged ‘The Horrible Crowes’
09 Sep

Written by Michel R Dussack, Photos by Michelle Wenz

“Why are you wearing a suit?”, one obviously confused fan ask. Brian Fallon had a fairly simple explanation for her – “Because it looks awesome!”. When The Horrible Crowes walked on to the stage at Bowery Ballroom on September 8th to play their first show ever, it was clear that this would not be the same type of show that The Gaslight Anthem fans in attendance were used to. For those unaware, The Horrible Crowes is the side project of The Gaslight Anthem’s front man Brian Fallon and his longtime friend and guitar tech Ian Perkins. This show at Bowery Ballroom, was in essence a record release show for the band, as their debut album “Elsie” was released a couple days prior.

Opening the show was Brian McGee, who played a 40 minute set armed with only his acoustic guitar and harmonica, as well as his commanding vocals. Walking out to sing an acapella song to start off the night to a crowd unfamiliar with the singer was extremely risky, but it paid off for him, as he immediately grabbed the attention of nearly everyone in the room. The highlight of his set was the dark, yet almost comedic tone “Hell Is Open All Night” which drew many cheers from the audience, especially with the line “Is that the boy from lower Manhattan who smells just like vermouth?”. Typically such a song would not be funny in the slightest, however McGee prefaced it with a story in which a young woman came to his place of employment looking for a man, despite it being closed. When McGee told her that nothing was open that late at night, the woman responded to him “Honey, hell is open all night”, thus inspiring the song. A more somber, yet just as powerful moment came at the end of his set when McGee played “That’s When The Night Comes On”, a tale about a friend going to war the next morning, made all the more real when it was dedicated to a friend of McGee’s who is a veteran of the Iraq war.

After a very brief changeover, The Horrible Crowes walked on the stage around 10 o’clock and went right into “Last Rites” – the same song that opens “Elsie”. This quiet song would immediately set the tone and establish that The Horrible Crowes are a totally separate entity from The Gaslight Anthem, despite multiple shared members. Brian Fallon has said that he likes to see The Gaslight Anthem as Springsteen, and his work with The Horrible Crowes as more of Tom Waits. While this is noticeable on the quieter songs, a couple of the heavier tracks blur the line between the two, especially with Fallon’s notable voice. “Sugar” had everyone in the crowd who had picked up the album a couple days before singing along “No no no, that’s not the way it goes”. The band would continue to play “Elsie” in order, with “Behold The Hurricane” next. This song went over extremely well with the crowd, particularly with people not too familiar with “Elsie” as it is one of the aforementioned songs that blur the line between The Horrible Crowes and The Gaslight Anthem. It was around this time that we also got the first bit of playful banter from Fallon, with him joking that this album was essentially him and Perkins cashing in on their sorrows and thanking everyone who helped cause these sorrows, most notably, the numerous women that they’ve encountered.

“I Witnessed A Crime” once again threw off the crowd with its heavy reliance on keyboards, but the large majority of the crowd enjoyed it. “Go Tell Everybody” was when everything really started to fall into place with Fallon wailing on the verses and the band really letting loose and starting to find a groove. “Cherry Blossoms” brought the tempo back down and allowed Fallon to display the softer side of his voice, crooning the lyrics “see all I can do is think about you”. “Ladykiller” kept up the theme of lost love, and really displayed the importance of Perkins in the band. It’s easy to forget how much he contributes to their sound, as he stays out of the spotlight and doesn’t speak much, if at all, but the intricacy of his playing is astounding here. Before playing “Crush”, Fallon explained that the song was about the worst kind of crush someone can have – the kind when someone tells you that they’d die without you, that they’d cease to exist if you left them, and just how unfair this was, because it made no mention of them leaving. After this, Fallon kept up the banter, and made note of how little material the band had, and so to play a full show, they had to learn some covers. He revealed, much to the horror of many hardcore fans present, that he liked Katy Perry and spoke about how he imagined “Teenage Dream” as someone singing while watching someone from the bushes. The band then launched into what was, most surprisingly, an absolutely amazing rock cover of “Teenage Dream”. At the end of the song, he remarked at how shocked he was at how many guys in the crowd not only knew the words, but were singing along.

The Horrible Crowes quickly went back to playing tracks from “Elsie”, with “Mary Ann”, easily the heaviest song of the night, next. This song features a very heavy drum beat, numerous guitar solos, and Fallon’s raw vocals as his screams about poisoned water and burning skies. After playing “Black Betty & The Moon”, Fallon again mentioned how little material the band had, and that they only had a couple songs left. Someone in the crowd yelled at him to make some up, and Fallon happily obliged him. Starting off with just a few notes on the guitar, the rest of the band quickly joined in on this improvisational jam that featured Fallon playfully singing “No Refunds” over and over. After remarking that that would probably be the number one video on YouTube the next day, the band played slow builder “Blood Loss”. This track starts off quiet but about midway through, explodes with sound, but in a melodic way unlike typical songs by The Gaslight Anthem. They then rounded out their set with “I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together” which Fallon described as a hymn that’s screwed up, because “well we’re all screwed up”. As the vocal part of the song ended, Fallon issued a simple “Thank you” and a wave and walked off the stage, leaving the rest of the band to finish out the track.

After a short encore break, the band returned to the stage, Fallon saying that they wouldn’t leave us hanging like that, and that they still had one more trick up their sleeves. The band then ripped into one of the heaviest covers of “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS that I’ve ever heard. Again thanking the crowd, the band would disappear again, this time for good, their 80 minute set over. The Horrible Crowes showed off the diversity and talent that Brian Fallon is capable of and played one of the better sets I’ve seen all year. Unfortunately, they only have one other U.S. tour date – September 14th, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, but something tells me that this isn’t the last we’ll hear of this absolutely wonderful side project.

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Brian McGee

The Horrible Crowes

26 Jul

The Horrible Crowes—fronted by The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon and longtime friend Ian Perkins—will perform their first live shows in September, unveiling their debut album Elsie in its entirety at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC (9/8) and The Troubadour in LA (9/14). For the shows, Fallon and Perkins will be joined by drummer Steve Sidelnyk, who performs on the record, along with Gaslight Anthem guitarist Alex Rosamilia, who will play keyboards, and bassist Frank Marra.

“With the Horrible Crowes it’s more of a theater vibe,” Fallon explains of the difference between his new band and The Gaslight Anthem. “It’s something to be digested, not something to shock you into excitement like a big rock and roll show. I would almost look at more as if you were going to a theater to see a show for the evening.”

The Horrible Crowes’ first single, “Behold the Hurricane,” has already jumped out to a strong start at radio, with Philadelphia’s WXPN and Seattle’s KMTT embracing the song. Rolling Stone premiered the “cinematic” track earlier this month.

The Horrible Crowes were born last year out of late-night musical bonding sessions on the road between Fallon and Perkins. Their mutual love of songwriters like Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Afghan Whigs, and Joan As Police Woman led to writing and recording sessions that turned out decidedly unlike either’s previous work. Drum loops, subdued guitars, and orchestrated piano and string arrangements accompany Fallon’s most personal lyrics to date.

The band has also posted their pre-order for Elsie today on SideOneDummy’s site. The pre-order includes a limited silk screened poster, tee shirt, deluxe 7” and more.

More On The Horrible Crowes:
Official Site

08 Jul

The Horrible Crowes have released the details of their much anticipated debut album to be released on September 6th, 2011 via SideOneDummy Records. Entitled Elsie the record features twelve tracks, including ‘Black Betty & the Moon,‘ which can heard on the band’s Facebook. The album has been described by front man Brian Fallon as he and long time Gaslight Anthem tour mate Ian Perkins’ “experiment with the darker side of soul music.”

Fallon elaborates saying “The two of us had this ritual where we’d go into the back of the bus at the end of the show and just start showing each other records like PJ Harvey, Afghan Whigs and Joan As Police Woman. One day we were just like, ‘let’s write some songs and see what they sound like’ and it turned out that it sounded great.”

The track listing for Elsie is below. The band will be announcing tour dates and more details about the album in the forth-coming weeks.

1. Last Rites
2. Sugar
3. Behold the Hurricane
4. I Witnessed a Crime
5. Go Tell Everybody
6. Cherry Blossoms
7. Ladykiller
8. Crush
9. Mary Ann
10. Black Betty & the Moon
11. Blood Loss
12. I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together

More On The Horrible Crowes:
Official Blog

01 Jun

SideOneDummy are proud to announce the debut album from The Horrible Crowes, Elsie, on September 6, 2011. The group-which is composed of The Gaslight Anthem’s frontman Brian Fallon and longtime friend Ian Perkins was conceptualized while Perkins joined Gaslight on a worldwide tour last year and the duo wrote the songs on buses, in hotel rooms and even a bathroom in Japan following the earthquake.

“Ian and I had a ritual where we’d go to the back on the bus at the end of a show and play each other records, I got him into Afghan Whigs and he got me into PJ Harvey and one day we just thought, ‘we should do something like this,” Fallon explains. In that spirit earlier this summer the duo holed up with producer Ted Hutt (Dropkick Murphys, Chuck Ragan) to capture these songs on tape-and the result is something that will likely surprise even the most strident Gaslight Anthem fans in the best way possible.

“As much as I have this fantasy in the Gaslight Anthem of being Bruce Springsteen, I also have this fantasy of being Tom Waits or Greg Dulli,” Fallon explains when asked about the catalyst for this project, which sees him playing keyboards and working with drum loops and string arrangements for the first time. “These songs are very dark; they’re like hymns for lonely people,” Fallon continues, “it’s really a trip through a breakdown and that dissent into madness and hopefully redemption.”

The Horrible Crowes will also be playing shows to promote the album and Fallon promises that the environment will be a stark contrast to a typical Gaslight Anthem performance. “Our shows are going to be smaller and they’re going to take place in very intimate venues,” Fallon explains. “It’s not the kind of thing where you get wasted and listen to some music. It’s more, ‘I’m going to take my lady out and watch a band play and it’s going to be quiet and then we’re going to go home and have a good evening,’” he continues.

“I’m not a different person when I’m in this band, it’s just another side of what I love,” Fallon summarizes, adding that although his Gaslight Anthem bandmates stopped by to perform on this record, The Horrible Crowes is its own tortured and sometimes beautiful beast. Get ready to fall in love with Fallon’s songwriting all over again.