Fall News 19 December 2000

This is the latest news and gossip off FallNet for those with weak stomachs.

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ta to biv for this

Recent news....

001201 tour reviews, crap interviews
001110 Unutterable reviews
001021 Stanza festival, HighSmith Teeth, comedy dogs
001011 RFH reviews, new Cog Sinister releases
000912 DOSE interview, Fall calendar
000822 Portugal, Manchester gigs 
000809 bits & pieces
000723 Psykick Dance Hall, Pure As Oranj details, Triple Gang reviews
000709 few bits
000620 Ashton, Hull, Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Edinburgh reviews, old Volume piece
000530 LA2 reviews
000522 few old LP reviews
000502 bits & pieces
000424 TBLY #19 details, Prop details
000408 more Leeds reviews. WSC interview, other interview snippets
000326 Doncaster, York, Leeds reviews, BravEar interview (plus others)
000314 various reviews, old Liz Kershaw i/view
000224 Past Gone Mad details
000213 few bits & pieces
000130 tour details, Tommy Blake stuff
000120 TBLY #18 details, Hanley in Mojo
000110 Dragnet doylum, New Year message, etc

Old stuff: Nov 1997 - Dec 1999


The Unutterable
The album's out - have you all got it now? Hope so.

It looks like the Mild Man Jan/MES single is being rereleased. Action Records have it - for details see FallNews dates 000620 where you'll find Mark Harris' original report on the 7" including that press release "meeting of minds" nonsense. Go to the next week 000709 and you can read Ian Greaves' addendum to the press release.

26 Nov 2000 - Glasgow


27 Nov 2000 - Sheffield - Sheffield University

Dan Bye:

Some recollections in no particular order.

Cracking album - taped it for a friend who hadn't seen The Fall in years. Therefore this was the first Fall gig I've ever been too *with* someone else. Apart from the D:Percussion thing in Manchester. She said it was good.

Doors open at 8:00, the flyers said. We get in sometime after 9:00pm. Wasn't looking promising as we stood around waiting for the doors to open. A bloke who seems to be at all the gigs I go to was there, recognised me, and came over to say he'd only heard one Fall song in his life and just wanted to see what they were like. I told him this was potentially a mistake. He had to leave early - musically he seemed to like them, but not so impressed at not being able to make out MES's vocals.

And the sound did seem to be a problem - and I wouldn't know a bad sound if it pushed a pencil up my nose. MES kept asking for his vocals to be turned up - snapped at one point, went over to the mixing desk and shouted "up! up! you daft bitch"; which I don't approve of.

He seemed perhaps a little drunk, but it's difficult to tell. May just have been wanting to get the whole thing over. At one point, while the band were recollecting themselves after one song, he went up to the microphone, looked out into the audience, and said "Hellloooooo". Which was very funny.

MES pulled the band off 3 or 4 times: not sure which were for proper encores, and which because of the sound. He got his microphone wire wrapped round Nev's machine heads at one point, to Nev's displeasure. Later on, the guitarist came back on after one walk off and flung the microphone to the floor before MES returned. MES also did a thing where he walked in front of Nev on stage, forcing him to take a few steps backwards.

Just before another walkoff, about half way through the gig, someone shouted for "Hands up Billy". When they came back on, Nev aggressively shouted "Come on then!", and they played a ferocious "...Billy". This got the people down the front dancing for the first time, and they didn't stop.MES eventually arrived back on stage and joined in, sharing Nev's microphone when he felt like contributing.

Lots of shouting for "more", which was encouraging. Boos when the security guy shouted "right, can you make your way out now please" and the house lights came up. No "Paintwork", unless they did it after everyone had gone home. Excellent and (so far as I can tell) *hugely* elongated version of "And Therein" - they really hit a groove on this one. Nev smiled throughout.

Strange new drummer present. Cyber Insect a little disappointing due to lack of female vocals - couldn't hear Julia. Live I think the new songs need a few more of the textures of the album, but otherwise they sounded good to my ears. Plenty of attack.

Oh yeah, and Groop were good, obviously struggling with the sound but distorted and cool. Better T-shirts that the Fall, too. And I'm not just saying that because one of them said they liked my Sonics shirt. Bought a nice Fall badge, though.

Great to see the Fall again, of course. Not one of the best gigs I've seen them do, but still magical in its way. But I find the negative press reviews of live shows are starting to get me down: the one in the Sheffield Telegraph was awful - even while noting the brilliance of the new album, and the poor sound, the reviewer said the state Mark was in was not funny any more. Not sure who said it ever was funny, but there you go.

Andy Muir

in truth it was pretty crap. For the record I shall say so now.
The audience were kept waiting for an hour in a foyer seperate from the venue. Upon finally gaining access the support band (Groop 93) were awful.
The Fall lumbered onto the stage sometime later and the sound was appalling. (Why, considering an extra hour of soundcheck time?)
MES was slaughtered, apathetic and apparently unconcerned apart from a couple of comments to the 'bitches' behind the sound desk, who I'm sure were already more than heartily sick of him. The experience was frustrating and underwhelming, especially given the high hopes of the rejuvenated sounds on the Unutterable.
Things got a bit better later on. And Therein was okay, but was among the few tunes to suggest any effort on the part of the band. Two encores, lots of kids jumping around, but I felt let down, especially given the reviews now of the other dates. I wish I'd been to one of them instead of a rainy Monday slot in Sheffield. (Mind you, we did get one of the best gigs of the Light User tour, I think, so maybe it evens out...)

Steven Poore:

Support act was diabolical; worst since Velvet Underpants. Informed that Tom Hingley also supported in Nottingham; feel cheated.
Everything two hours late; nothing working.
Masses of feedback everywhere, no keyboards, MES pissed outta hell. Opening song was "Touch Sensitive"; lasted six or seven minutes. "2 Librans", "Hands Up Billy", "& Therein", "Way Round", "Ketamine Son", "Sons of Temperance", v.shambolic "Foldin Money", Dr Buck's Letter", "The Joke", and that was about it as far as I can remember cos MES pushed everybody else around too much and they all walked offstage at least twice each. Get it together a bit more man you're not senile yet.
Still, good to see the old bugger rise out of the dark and smack his chops disdainfully at the audience again.
Strange place for a gig - venue was uni's equivalent of broom cupboard.

30 Nov 2000 - Leeds Irish Centre


Check out http://members.tripod.co.uk/pepik/ for some hot pretty boy action at the Leeds Irish Centre.

Stewart Mackarel:

Another fantastic performance from a Fall line up that continues to improve. They play tight, without backing tapes, and the new material fom Unutterable sounds even better live. Highlights include; a sinuous Dr Burkes Letter, a completely reworked And Therein that develops on a repeated riff in the style of And This Day, the garage punk of Hands Up Billy, and a resurected classic in Paintwork. M.E.S. appears at the peak of his powers, clear headed and in control of a band that would be declared the saviours of guitar music if only they were twenty years younger and bit more good looking.
SET LIST: W.B., Touch Sensitive, The Joke, Dr Burkes Letter, Way Round, Ketamine Sun, And Therein, Two Librans, Hands Up Billy, F-olding Money, Cyber Insect, Sons of Temperance. 1st Encore: Birthday, Antidote, Hey Stucent. 2nd Encore: Paintwork.

Matt Bryden:

Began promising the world - WB tightly played, drums, guitar and bass locked together like a stone in a spinning slingshot, big stage, the perfect menacing opener like ROD at the beginning of Bend Sinister. What I didn't want to happen was for Nev to begin the Touch Sensitive riff and Mark to come on to that not having sung a word of WB. That said, watching Adam play the bass run down was great. Then they played The Joke, but it's true to say that such highlights of yesteryear seemed pretty rudimentary in comparison to the new tracks, what Select calls 'the sound of a new band taking flight' in its interview with Mark this month. Or maybe it's just overfamiliar. Two Librans was fantastic, the balls it must take to play that opening guitar note on its own. Mark was brilliant on this - Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Chechnya. Great to hear the 'Blonde September' line. (He went through his 'tics' to an exaggerated degree tonight, reading lyrics or a setlist taken from an amp, which he turned 90 degrees before chucking behind the drums, throwing mic into bass drum, inspecting his curlicues like a grotesque almost, with an arm almost over his head.) Straight let down of pace into Antidote before a blistering Ketamine Sun. The verse where he uses about ten words which ends 'Cos I'm ... ' is fantastic, just like the pause in 'Pumpkin Soup' after he says 'As clouds go by', he lets the music speak for him. Subtle and powerful. For some reason this is inextricably linked for me to The Masquerade Ep track 'Ivannhoe's Twopence' where the lyric 'Anytime of night, Anytime of day' displays an awareness of how the lyric sounds, as opposed to just what it says. Basically the new ones are the best, more energy, more dynamic, written by and played by the band.
Dr Buck's Letter was a highlight, Mark hoping that oneday the door will be 'slightly' ajar and holding up his hand with a small space between his fingers. This was sad and exhilirating at once. My company that night exclaimed 'My God - primal' at the start when the bass rumbled along. Just like a Sleep Debt Snatches mark 2 to me, this. Hey Student was pretty great, but all in all I longed for a few less - if possible none - of the old chestnuts and instead wanted to see how this band could create a mood and what it could do with it with their own songs. For this reason Birthday didn't sound out of place but And Therein did.
So there you have it, the potential of this band is great, drop the old stuff. Just like Bob Dylan playing Blowing in the Wind again because he feels obliged. Let's hear his new material. Regret trying to tell Adam this after the gig. Seriously cramped his style I think, especially after such a professional gig. Also saw Mark in doorway, eyebrows seemed arched without them even being lifted like an owl's.

2 Dec 2000 - Leicester Charlotte

J. Smith

ĎThe Fallí (or something resembling it)

I first saw the Fall at a Save the GLC Festival in Brixton in 1984. Iíve lost count of how many times Iíve seen em since but its umpteen times. I donít normally drink Stella lager in such quantities and the Fall arenít normally as shite or as obviously comprised of one dimensional mercenaries as I did and they were on this particular night.

Now Iím old and wise enough to realise that the Fall are whoever happens to show up with Smith on the night. But this Fall is not even a Fall let alone the Fall. For one thing Smith would never have allowed a band to be this sloppy before. No: they were not interestingly destructured - they were fucking lazy and very sloppy. Previous band members might have been dour looking [not that this particularly bothered me] but they used to be concerned enough to be tight: not in a wanky muso way (and I agree with the guy on the site who critiques the Ďslickí days) but you know: there; solid; you know, like the Fall. [You want examples?: Like when they came on at Leicester University in 1985: one crack on the snare and into an absolutely awesome Copped It. Like they were at Birmingham Town Hall in 1992 when I first heard Baldheaded Men (oh ≠ they did Strychnine for an encore that night ≠ add it to yer list).] Yeah they did Paintwork, yeah they did Hey Student. Which is a bit like saying that I enjoyed em doing Fiery Jack at Nottingham that time with Brix on guitar. ĎItís a bit reedy, a bit weedy John.í

Nick West

This was the one, top quality entertainment, an absolute stormer of a gig.
The best I can remember, certainly over the last 10 years (& there have been many over the last 21)

1. Intro (Instrumental of W.B) - {MES joins the party night}
2. Touch Sensitive
3. The Joke
4. Dr Bucks letter
5. Therein - {some serious MES staring at a particular member of the crowd}
6. Hands up Billy - {MES starts song, has mike probs & lets Nev continue}
- {MES in good form & makes joke about leaving lyrics in the dressing room}
7. Serum
8. Folding Money
9. Cyber Insect - {MES claps along}
10. Way Round - {Absolute stormer}
11. Antidote - {this was not as tight the previous songs, they need a break}
- {5 minute fag break - they said it would be 10 minutes but are back on quickly}
- {Start of encores}
12. Sons of Temperence - {this was attempted as a light hearted duet with one of the road crew who may have taken too many drugs!}
13. Ten Houses - {Nev has guitar probs, MES appears to stop him, song continues without Nev}
14. Das Katerer - {Nev rejoins near end}
15. Hey Student
- {Band on stage for an ad-hoc dance routine, audience join in}
16. Paintwork
- {the two mikes get passed around the audience, we make what we think are clever comments}
- {some twat winds up a roadie/tour manager, couple of punches}
They came on stage 10.23pm & departed 11.55pm, in 21 years I can't remember a Fall gig approaching this length.
I've gone home happy after a moody 35 minute gig but this was a much more preferable option.

I drove back to Oxford with a fuckin big simpletons grin on. I've banked this gig & will recall it at when times are down.
This was a party, I'm still on a high.

Florian Kirchhof reports MES turning up in Berlin:
MES simply came to some book store to promote some piece of pop literature that has nothing to do with The Fall. He played 5 songs and sung over them a bit. Witnesses report he looked much healthier than they expected. The most interesting thing must have been the question whether the thing he chewed was a big chewing gum or a handkerchief.

More unutterable reviews

In Greek:

http://www.mic.gr/cds.asp?id=5310 In American:


In Dutch (well, English, thanks to Arjan):

from De Volkskrant today:
The Fall - The Unutterable
At at time when most Britpoppers where still in diapers, Mark E. Smith and his Fall already made records who maybe did not sell much but certainly did have a huge impact. Without The Fall no Blur and Elastica. Smith was the conscience of British popmusic who on each record furiously criticised fashions and trends. Nobody can grumble as beautifully as Mark E. Smith. Even when you can not understand half he is saying, his compelling delivery and his unruly music gives him always a little bit right. Yet even the biggest Fall fan will admit that the last five years have been somewhat inferior, and that is why it is so nice that album number thirtysomething is as good as it is. Whining and full of the passion of old, Smith discusses subjects varying from mashed potatoes to Oprah Winfrey. What's it all about? No idea, but it sounds deliciously oldfashioned and yet still new.
(Gijsbert Kamer)

sjr: There is an equally controversial review in this week's Halesowen Chronicle CD Album Review section complete with misspelt title:-

The Fall - The Unnutterable (Eagle Rock).
Punk survivor Mark E. Smith reaches the 35th album milestone with a new- look old-sound band, which means more rockabilly rumble with electronic bleeps and plenty of acerbic lyrics in Smith's mancunian drawl. The Fall have become a national institution, perhaps English Heritage should sponsor them?

Paul Saxton:
As part of his list of favourite tour bus music, that singer-songwriter fella David Gray chose this:

The Fall - The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall
"I bought this when it first came out in 1984. I was 17 and couldn't make head nor tail of it then, but I like it now. One of our roadies reintroduced me to it. The Fall never date - unlike, say, The Smiths, who sound dated and bloody daft now. There was a bravery about the way Mark E. Smith did things. He nodded the band in a certain direction and ranted inspiringly over the top. The record hasn't got 'production'; it's more shambolic and rough round the edges, but that's what gives it a timeless quality. It doesn't have big '80s snare sounds."

Mind you, he also chose The Muppets: http://www.q4music.com/features/DisplayFeature.cfm?ObjectUUID=16C49D7C-AB34-11D4-9086000629F602A5

Steve Dean performs the Unutterable opera:

The noise show was dedicated to the birthdays of David Edwards and John Malkovich - I also, after "good evening we are not the fall" decicated it to "50 years of Mark E Smith & The Fall and 175 albums".

After 3 rubber banana pieces we did the "Unutterable Aria" the words to which are as below- I went stage right and performed the words here, Uther was stage left and saying useful general knowledge type facts and reciting the words to "Arid Al's Dream" (which I thought he did pretty well as he's never heard it).

*****Text for rubber bananas 'Unutterable Aria"*****

Mark Edward Smith is Unutterable, Stuart Mackie "Oprah Winfrey - she studied bees" and the bit in Devolute about getting "fat-arsed"; other john "Hemorrhoid Sufferer Number Two," paul h "I hit roundabout" mark H Most overrated US cities: Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas Most underrated US cities: Los Angeles, Philly, DC, Columbus, OH., Assfucktown, NV Hahhah Meeham "Best hot dogs ever: in the Charleston, SC airport" astro al "My other favorite bit: when MES says "I hate Siberian Khatrus"... chris kovin "curvaceous women" -Serum john howard lost his temper with a friend Marked him and treated him with rudeness And though I tried to make amends Feel I miss him and walk a dark corridor I was in the realm of the essence of Tong carl steadman: The archive is updated at 40 minutes past the hour every hour. Diane Lerzer, confessing to like the yes song.. "look up, the fire, the fire is fallin sends chills down my little spine, that does...both my enemy and my friend know the feeling?..music-CD's, this is all in the delivery... Graeme Park "the (muggings) dressing as soldats. Nelson in Timor, (Tolstoy) in che-che-chian. (Euro/you will) - reflect our wastage". Not sure exactly what the words are here but it's all in the delivery. "temperance is both my enemy and my friend" which had some interesting live variations in Edinburgh or Glasgow, which I can't remember off the top of my head. The vocals on Sons of Temperance are scarier every time I listen to them, they really make me think something's gone wrong with my ears. "cyber insekt in its escarpement" again in the delivery. "he was broke but it was oke" as previously pointed out by Al(?) is a cracking line. Patricktip Aaah! The backlash begins! Truly heartwarming! I've been trying to come up with things wrong with the album, but I just can't manage to. How annoying is that?! There's gotta be *something* to hate about a new Fall release ...! So far I haven't sat down with it & listened on headphones or suchlike. I've been doing the Mark-Lynds- style just-listen-to-the-music thing. So I didn't have anything for the Stve lyric contest. ... Which is also annoying. "Michael Flack" Don't agree actually. I'd be hard pressed to find ten lines that are at all remarkable, esp by past Fall standards. The delivery actually makes a lot of them, and the combination of the delivery and "vulgar and arrogant abeyance" is a bit of a gem. But really, "I hate roundabouts" a classic lyric? Wishful thinking going on here, I'm afraid. I'm prepared to believe that MES was paying attention when it came to the mix, getting the sound right, because getting a new weird, sound nearly every time is what he's always managed - and The Unutterable sounds great. But the songs? It doesn't feel to me like he was directing anything there - random mumblings put together over some pretty competent musicians who knew what was required of them and delivered it with aplomb. But then, for all we know that's all that ever happened... Craig Parker - There is also the little matter of shafting somebody while they are working: like what you did at Sheffield." reference to the 1866 'Sheffield Outrages'? Jackd, sounding maudlin and not even drunk - -- yet! I'll go on record for being someone who's bitching about no Scanlon. but listening to some old Peel sessions last night - I was hearing something that would only make this new stuff even more vital. "


"Just got back from Chicago, which it appears has a HUGE Fall fan-base. Even before local girl Brix joined, they were big. Still, you couldn't tell by listening to the local radio stations. 90% of what they play is sub-Willie Nelson tosh or typical American soft-rock. Nice. Anyroad, Kati and I were in the car, and this radio DJ goes "Phone us now with your requests". Within 3 minutes, the man played "Cruisers Creek" and dedicated it to me. Spoke to him off air afterwards, and this guy is a massive Fall fan. He asked me if they were touring the States soon, whether the last tour was any good (hell, yeah!) and he was so genuinely nice and into them that I said I'd "recommend" his show. So here goes: if you live in Illinois, or happen to be there, the number one show to listen to is "Vinyl Destination" on 89.1 FM, Mondays at 8pm, presented by Joey. Your requests for FALL records will be in safe and competent hands."