Monday night, Red Bull Sound Select once again brought a great night of music to the city of New York, this time with the help of singer Brian Fallon and website Brooklyn Vegan, who picked the bands on the bill. Fans gathered at the Music Hall of Williamsburg to see local bands Aye Nako and Nude Beach open the show, followed by an acoustic set by singer Brian Fallon and guitarist Alex Rosamilia of the Gaslight Anthem, with legendary punk rock band the Bouncing Souls closing out the show.
Red Bull Sound Select's mission is to help local bands get more exposure by pairing them up with more well known acts, while giving music fans motivation to check out the show by offering bargain basement prices or guest list as a reward for their help in publicizing the show. In the case of RBSS's July 26th show at Irving Plaza, which also featured the Gaslight Anthem (my recap with photos here), the show was actually free for chosen fans who were especially vocal promoting via social networking sites. On Monday night, the tickets were only $3, but were only available at the door. This meant you have to be a pretty dedicated fan to take off work early and wait in line without any guarantee of getting in. As a result, the house was filled with only the most enthusiastic of fans, providing a special kind of energy you don't experience when there are casual fans just there out of curiosity taking up room.
The diehards were definitely out in full force for both headliners. Since both acts share roots in New Jersey, many of their home-state fans showed up. This was clear by the amount of cheering when emcee Chris Gethard mentioned the state's name, asking who in the crowd has fond memories of historic venues in the area such as the famed Asbury Lanes, where many crazy punk rock shows have taken place (and still take place).
As is the case with most acoustic shows, there was some chattering between songs during Fallon's set, much to the annoyance of this Examiner. Fallon's stage banter is unrehearsed and usually ends up being hilarious exchanges with the audience (he even had Rosamilia in stitches the whole time). So if you were silly enough to talk over him, you were probably completely confused when he brought up an obnoxious drunk heckler from the crowd and had her sit on stage while he played a cover of Misfits song "Astro Zombies", so that she could revel in the attention she so obviously craved. Thankfully, after her moment in the spotlight during that one song, she was ushered elsewhere by security, saving Fallon from any further harassment.
At the tail end of Fallon's set, Souls singer Greg Attonito sat in for a lovely version of the Gaslight Anthem's "Handwritten", before the rest of the Bouncing Souls joined in to play "Gasoline" and helped finish up the set with a communal vibe. Rosamilia later returned in the evening during the Souls' set, which saw the crowd go from "singing-around-the-campfire" happy, to turning into a giant mosh pit who routinely helped their comrades up to the front so they could stage dive right next to their favorite punk rock band.