The Live Debut of the Horrible Crowes

September 9th, 2011

The Horrible Crowes – The Bowery Ballroom – September 8, 2011

Last night, Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon, traded his blue jeans and white T-shirt for a suit to play songs with his new project, the Horrible Crowes, whose debut album, Elsie, was released earlier this week. Formed with longtime friend and TGA guitar tech Ian Perkins, the Horrible Crowes was apparently an attempt at more Tom Waits-esque material, although with Fallon’s unforgettable voice and lyrical style, it ended up sounding like a more soulful, less rambunctious Gaslight Anthem.

The Horrible Crowes is a full collaboration between Fallon, from New Jersey, and the English Perkins, aided both on record and live by a handful of friends. However, last night, Fallon led the show, taking the reins on the onstage musings, often telling stories about the different songs. Much like TGA’s material, the Horrible Crowes’ songs include themes of love, lament and plain old growing up. “I feel like we’re making our money’s worth now,” said Fallon early in the show. “I’d like to thank all the rotten ladies we’ve ever had.”

Later in the set, Fallon specifically introduced “Go Tell Everybody” as a song about when you’ve made a spectacle of yourself, “Crush” as one about the most awful way you could have a crush on someone and their cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” as a song conceived while creeping in the bushes and watching someone sleep. (Oh, such humor.) The group, which included TGA’s Alex Rosamalia on keys last night, also covered INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” in their encore. For a first-ever show, the Horrible Crowes absolutely impressed. —Kirsten Housel