Terry Staunton

Source??, Liverpool Royal Court (14MAY88 or 18DEC88 ??)





NO HOMEWORK for the pop kids tonight, or at least they're not doing it if there is.

School's out for Scousers and the Top 40 pop group The Fall are in town. We've seen the wacky videos, we've heard the hits on the radio, now let's see 'em live.

The Fall may have ten albums under their belt, but to a certain section of tonight's audience they are basically just another band who've had two hit singles - not that different to Bros or Debbie Gibson, really.

And what do the Gary Davies groupies make of Mark E Smith? Hard to tell, but there's a lot of puzzled faces staring at the stage, wondering if there's something wrong with the speakers or if it's supposed to sound like this.

Visually, The Fall are a brilliant pop group. A moody enigmatic singer (just like Terence Trent D'Arby), two glamorous girls in the line-up (just like Bucks Fizz) and great cover version hits (just like Amazulu).

Brix looks just like a slimmed down Sam Fox (obviously she's been drinking loads of herbal tea) and Marcia is a red-frocked temptress who wouldn't be out of place in a Robert Palmer video.

So the pop kids have a lot to lure them in. You don't have to own 'Live At The Witch Trials' to get off on The Fall - but it might help.

Without the Top 40 followers it would be considerably less than sold out in Liverpool, but there's no way they could fill it themselves. Have The Fall found themselves falling between two stools? Have they alienated some of the old guard with their new pop, and is it pop enough to win a substantial new following?

Mark Smith is an unlikely pin-up and I'm sure he doesn't really want to be one anyway. Maybe he doesn't care. A man who writes incomprehensible plays about dead popes probably couldn't give two figs about the pop kids, and no doubt their allegiance to The Fall will be short-lived - at least until the next revived '60s chestnut.