Show Review

The Falcon @ The Grog Shop 4/6

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 (Sanchez/2016)
Lisa Sanchez

​The Falcon played their first show in Cleveland on April 6th at the Grog Shop. Actually, The Falcon played their eighth show as a band at the Grog Shop. Despite the band’s decade-long (albeit inconsistent career) this year marks the first tour the punk supergroup have ever embarked upon.
 
“That’s what he calls his vagina!” proclaimed Brendan Kelly, lead singer and guitarist, in response to lead guitarist Dave Hause saying “My beautiful pedals!” as the crowd surged forward and threatened to cover his equipment in PBR and Black Label.
 
This interaction pretty accurately captures the tone of The Falcon’s stage presence. Kelly talks shit, Hause gives or gets aforementioned shit depending on the song, bassist Dan Andriano mostly remains chill, and drummer Neil Hennessy miraculously managed to make it through the entire show without missing a beat or catching a joke at his expense.
 
The Falcon only have two full-length albums, 2015’s Gather Up the Chaps and 2006’s Unicornography. Considering their sparse discography, it’s pretty easy to consider ever song the band played “excellent” because they really are.
 
When I first heard “War of Colossus” and “Sailor’s Grave” from Gather Up the Chaps on album, I originally attributed the leading vocals to Andriano because he has a deeper range and usually offers a counterpoint to Kelly’s nasally croons. This, my friends, was a mistake. Brendan Kelly himself corrected me on Twitter stating the he performed the vocals in question (because dreams come true and bands actually read your incomprehensible opinion, apparently). So seeing those songs performed live at Grog Shop was a treat because up until that point there was at least some part of my brain that was convinced Kelly was fucking with me.
 
As Kelly put it on stage, “We’re just playing the same old shit slightly better than anybody else.” Despite the singer’s deprecation, the crowd was eager to see The Falcon finally play. The Grog Shop had the eager energy you feel when you’re waiting for a curtain call. The only difference is The Falcon has kept their fans on the hook for at least ten years. During “Sailor’s Grave” Kelly did mention that Cleveland was the best show they’ve ever had, which is high praise, but weighted considering The Falcon have only played a handful of shows so far.
 
The Falcon kicked off the show in the most appropriate way, by playing “The Angry Cry of the Angry Pie” which is the first song on Unicornography. People immediately rushed the stage, fell all over themselves, then realized it was Wednesday night and they have adult jobs. Then forgot all that again and sang, “You know you’re my motherfuckin’, motherfuckin’, hero.” with accompanying harmonic “Ooohs” because that’s also what adults do.
 
From there, the quartet played a solid mix of new and old songs including “Sergio’s Here,” “Hasselhoff Cheeseburger,” “Dead Rose” and, my favorite song from Gather Up the Chaps, “If Dave Did It,” which is the only song that features Hause’s vocals. I’m not even a little embarrassed to admit that when The Falcon played their old stuff, a tiny 15-year-old Lisa was just losing her goddamn mind. “Blackout,” “Lil’ Triggers,” and “Unicorn Odyssey” are songs from a time in my life before I knew what adult responsibility and hangovers were like.
 
The stage banter, both among the band members and with the audience, was some of the most entertaining I’ve ever seen. At one point, Kelly went off on a non-sequitur about how falcons are the fastest animals on earth and the band was actually taking it pretty slow compared to their namesake. Then he did a pretty convincing falcon call. That transitioned into Kelly ribbing Andriano about his Alkaline Trio bandmate Matt Skiba, “Does Matt come out like that Dan?” then did a hilariously spot-on impersonation of Matt Skiba being Matt Skiba, which is basically an easy-mode hipster vampire.
 
But, the fun doesn’t stop there. Kelly delivered a final blow, “Well, you know what they say Dan, you blink and you’re out of a job.” A line which received a satisfying combination of groans, applause, and laughter from the crowd. In case you’re not laughing right now, Matt Skiba is the new vocalist for Blink-182. I’ll just leave that there for you.
 
The band ended on a high note by playing “Black Teeth,” the last song off of Gather Up the Chaps, and “La-Z-Boy 5000” one of their better known and more biting songs off of Unicornography. The crowd went hard, the band put on one hell of a show (especially considering they’re still in single digit performance numbers), and everyone at the Grog Shop was satisfied.
 
I got a chance to speak with Kelly after the show, congratulate him on his correct assessment of his own vocals, and he told me how much he enjoyed playing the show and that he felt at home among a Midwestern crowd. Kelly has played all over the country with his other bands, but he said he felt a difference playing the Grog, “It’s not the same. These kids have been paying attention.” You’ve got to give credit to that Midwestern enthusiasm.

The Falcon are just fun to see live, they’re seasoned performers that know their instruments, their delivery, and definitely know how to entertain their fans (even if they’ve kept them in suspense for the duration of their career). If you missed The Falcon’s show at the Grog Shop, you missed a special moment in both the band’s and the venue’s history.