Fall News 29 April 2001

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....

010409 NL gig reviews
010303 Dublin gig, Invisible Jukebox
010128 World Bewitched details
010101 some ace Castlefield pics
001219 more reviews
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


Alan McBride:

Mark E Smith, Spoken Word Performance, Trinity College Dublin, 12th April 2001

True to form, Mark kept us waiting an hour from the 7:30 billed start, and for the latter half a fallesque techno track was played on a loop, which did much to raise the air of expectancy and quite a bit of tension too. Fifteen mins before taking the stage, we were treated to a blast of 'whup whup whup...' from backstage, so the marquis of sad was at least in the house.

Stage had plain table as at previous incarnations of this show in Holland etc. Minidisc player/recorder and a couple of mics on table. Behind, cheap PA speaker with there stacked chairs in front, on top of which was parked a curious contraption - a mic enclosed in a box-like-thing constructed with cardboard and tape, perched a touch precariously agains the speaker.

I was there with two unwilling victims (bro' in law and partner) who I'd duped into leaving Mulligans to walk the couple of hundred yards across to Trinity Colege by telling them it would be a short lecture on the works of horror writer lovecraft - a small white lie. Not fall fans, but admirers of Mark Smith the spectacle, the persona, they were pleased enough when the discovered what they were actually in for, but as we waited longer and longer they despaired - 'of all fucking nights to keep us hanging around - tomorrow's good friday so every bar and club in the city shuts up at midnight sharp!'.

So on he comes to Enigramatic Dream followed by CD in Your Hand, all read almost precisely as it sounds on Post Nearly Man. Mark dismantles the mic contraption, clumsily dropping it ('it's not part of the show - just fuckin' you know...' he says), pulls over the three chairs and tries to free one clumsily from the stack - this was Mark in mic-stand-walking mode. The sniggers at the unfortunate comedy of this quickly gave way to sniggers and more outright laughter at some of the comic gems scattered throughout Mark's fractured prose-poems - 'keep your cap on your pen and your dick in your pants', 'get on dick and judy sat next to fred west sweaty family' or 'educated voices wind me up...ignorant voices wind me up...but middle-class middle-of-the-road voices _really_ wind me up'. As he says in Devolute - 'what would life be like without music and comedy, comedy and music'.

Mark launched into a precisely delivered reading of the straight lyrics of 'Idiot Joy Showland' and they do sound good that way (he even paused between verses where the riff would have been). We also got a straight reading of Lucifer Over Lancashire later.

There were a couple of new spoken word tracks a-la post nearly man, one with a piss-take on automated phone ansering menu things - 'if you are forty years old...press one...if you are over forty and...' - can't remember the quips in this but it was a funny track. In one track he said '...and now comes the really terrifying part...' and with a lightning fast and pronounced flurry of wrist he flipped out his top teeth and carried on with the reading. Most tracks were read from the usual pile of random notes and jottings on different scraps of paper - he leafed through all this with an affected randomness, often aborting one and cutting straight into another.

Just as I was straining not to heckle for Devolute, we got Devolute - Mark over-laying a vox on top of the already-layered track - didn't really deliver on the potential though. Over the slow-softly-sung parts he ranted parts of The Caterer - that sounded good.

Some of Mark's performance skills were very evident in the show - his mastery of timing, both the metering of delivery, intonation and emphasis of each line, and pauses in between. His crucial ability to switch seamlessly between a tense and somehow threatening declamatory tone and a softly lyrical lullaby delivery. And, of course, the sheer infectiousness of those frequent moments when he's barely containing his sardonic laughter as he speaks. There's a real clue to Smith's charisma in the way he brings a whole audience with him when his face collapses into mirth, or clouds over suddenly with a dark and usually inexplicable barely supressed wrath. We had lots of the former and none of the latter tonite. Mark seemed confident throughout - seemed to genuinely enjoy himself while not taking it to seriously, same with most of the audience I figure.

I don't think the minidisc on the desk was being used for the background effects - I figure all that was controlled off-stage - so to me it looks like he was recording the show, so maybe we will have samples on the new spoken word tracks on another post nearly effort or the next fall album a la devolute. Certainly hope so.

The show was in two parts - with a fallesque musical interlude. After the second part Mark returned and sat down but said 'that's all I have to say really...' and left again - maybe he had been expecting questions - the only one shouted up was 'are you coming for a pint mark'. After stage exit, from off-stage, he barked into the mic something about the Red Box gig - 'apologies for red bo in december' I think, or maybe it was 'were you at red box in december'.

Tonight Smith was warm, affable, amused, tolerant and didn't seem to hold the audience (at show or in pub) or himself in contempt, which made a nice change. He made a quiet exit from the pub after a time.

From: "Maurice Leahy":

Short, v.original and highly entertaining. V.effective when he switched to his natural voice and shared something with the audience. If only he did this more. Recited lyrics from 'Idiot Joy Showland', 'Lucifer over Lancs'. Hardly a pause between readings. Sat quietly at one point as if just reading at a table at home while a tape played in the backround of two people discussing the film 'Gladiator' and the oscars - v.funny.
I'm not sure how people not familiar with Mark/ The Fall would have felt about it. Crowd of about 100, v. supportive and seemed to be enjoying it. With his final appearance onstage he addressed the audience with "that's it" - which was followed by laughs - and then he said "no it's not funny, I'm going home now" and walked off like a wounded grasshopper. I thought his recital/half singing of 'I Am the Caterer' esp. with 'stick with me, stick with me...I am your caterer'' to be quite moving. I also loved the fact that it was fantastically low key.
Good stuff.

Apr 16/ Newport TJ's

Steve Uzzell:
I've only just recovered from the almighty gig on Monday. Anyone else there ? Seen the Fall a few times before, but nothing prepared me for this. A snarling maelstrom of sulphur and venom, played at breakneck pace throughout, scaborously corrosive. Think Don Van Vliet conducting Motorhead.

I read someone here complaining about the latest lineup of 'session musicians'. The band I saw, half Mark's age and clearly energizing the old hobgoblin like a shot in the arm, were terrific.

....absolutely fierce with guitar licks aplenty from the pink floyd man. As musicians, these boys piss all over the unutterable crew. One of the best vocal performances from Mark in a while - he usually gets it together most when there is something to prove. As I'm sure you know, they played Damo Suzuki.


Oh come on, it wasn't that good. Definitely had a sessiony feel about it. Damo Suzuki was an unexpected treat, though. What I most enjoyed was the slacks/curly perm/slingback nature of the event


They were so much better than the last time I saw them at Level3 in Swindon. Very raw and they all looked like they were enjoying it!

Apr 17/ Brighton Concorde 2


A bit surprised at some of the cool reactions to the tour. The only thing wrong about Brighton was that it ended prematurely, possibly in part because of the fat tosser who got up on stage to hassle Smith. Smith said 'You are not going to faze me pal', but maybe he was fazed. Either way it was disappointing having schlepped all the way down there to be short-changed. Especially after a brilliant Two Librans, the best thing I've heard in years. Anyway, my Fall virgin Spanish friend was suitably impressed by proceedings. Or perhaps appalled - not sure which. At Oxford things were even better, Smith in top form, happy, gulping down mineral water, having a right good laugh to himself at one point. Dr Buck and Damo were outstanding. The new lads are fine I reckon. Alright, the guitarist could tone it down a bit and keep it simple, but at least he doesn't spray us with Stella.

Apr 18/ Maidstone The Union Bar

Apr 19/ Colchester Arts Centre


Last words from Rich Kidd before entering the venue: -At least he won't have had time to teach them "The Joke" yet...
First words from MES on stage: -Go back, go back, to your disease, hup!...

Things I've never seen before at a Fall gig:
-a drummer who holds his sticks like a jazz musician, but when he plays his drums they _stay_ played
-a bass that wasn't a Fender Precision, but was a horrible plank called a Maison (nicely thrashed, though)
-a guitarist who could probably play "Stairway to Heaven" (but didn't :-)
-MES looking more healthy than me

I loved it, anyway. Most energetic I've seen them since...well, ever. I also witnessed the most accurately hurled plastic beermug in the history of bottling -two guys came onstage during one of MES's refreshment breaks and sang Hot Runes to general audience displeasure, some fine Essex lad got them both on the head with one glass. And yes, they played "Damo Suzuki", a dense muscular version.


Venue was an old converted church with gravestones inset in the walls.

The Joke
then in no particular order:
Cyber Insekt, F-oldin Money, Two Librans, Dr Buck's Letter, Mr Pharmacist, Damo Suzuki, Way Round, Ketamine Sons, Antidotes (plodding, cut short by walkoff), Hot Runes (w/2 AN Others joint vocals on one mike, perfectly hit by a flying plastic glass), African Man, Touch Sensitive, And Therein, Midwatch (w/AN Other on vocals)

The new drummer Spencer is ace, really looked like he was into it. Mark looking uncharacteristically healthy (J. Higgott: "I think he's put on weight"). Guitarist and bassist tight and professional, but playing with the slight detachment of those doing someone else's tunes. Apart from the crap Antidotes, they sounded better than Nev & Adam. Highlights: Damo, Way Round, and the bits in And Therein where the bassline dropped into Container Drivers.


Hearing Damo was so cool, I phoned 2 mins of it in to my answering machine so my old-school Fall fan flatmate could hear it (though all it sounds like is MES trying to shut the kids up at a school trip to the baths). Back at the venue, it got a depressingly lukewarm reception. Mr. Pharmacist produced the biggest crowd response.

Other highlight for me was probably "African Man": based on little more than a single heavy, slowly rising riff, this could be a classic if they record it. The closest The Fall have sounded to doom metal.

I quite liked how, during "Hot Runes" I think it was, when MES had been offstage and others had to do the vocals, MES came back on, didn't see, or ignored, where they'd left the mic, and decided to mug about speaking the vocals and pretending to hold a mic until someone handed it to him.

Apr 20/ Norwich Arts Centre

Paul S:

First off, I'll show my hand and declare that it was the worst Fall gig I've ever seen - and boy, have I seen some stinkers. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why it was so bad but I do know that I was bored rigid all the way through. The band were competent, tight and all that, but there was little excitement or variety. They sound like a better than average pub rock band. The fact that the guitar player sounds as though he could "play Stairway To Heaven if he wanted to" speaks volumes. The songs were (apart from Damo and an aborted Paintwork) completely interchangeable - the same stomping, sludgy rockabilly type noise all the way through. Smith was indecipherable and, although reasonably healthy-looking and in okay spirits, looked as though he would much rather have been somewhere else - he was going through the motions. Nice shirt though. They came on late, at about 10.30, and played for an hour. They started with (sigh) The Joke and went through much the same setlist as every other gig on the tour.

I don't know, I found it all quite depressing to be honest. The only light was Julia who proved yet again that she's the best thing to happen to The Fall musically in many a year. The new lads looked just like that - new lads. They could have been anyone and, as Michael said, I got the impression that it was just money for old rope for them. It'll be interesting to see what plans Smith has for them and whether he can rein in their tedious rockist tendencies for the next album (assuming they'll be around for the next album).

Is the game up then? Probably not. But it is worrying that The Fall sounded like a spent force. Whatever they've done in the past, they've hardly ever been boring - but they were that night.

Apr 21/ Milton Keynes Woughton Centre

Paul H:

MES spoken word intro tape - something about football
The Joke
2 Librans
F'oldin' Money
Cyber Insekt....(New line: 'I asked Janet at the radio station [mumble mumble]')
Dr. Buck's Letter (New list item: 'J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye')
Mr. Pharmacist Damo Suzuki
Touch Sensitive
Ketamine Suns (Not last tour's brilliant fast version)
Way Round And Therein
Hot Runes
African Man
My scribbled notes are illegible from this point - the rest is from memory -
Sons of Temperance
Encore 1 - Touch Sensitive (bis)
Encore 2 - Midwatch 1953, no MES - vox 1, Trigger Happy singer/tour manager chanting "Milton Keynes, in your dreams" many times; vox 2, unknown, reading "The Unutterable" (I think)

Not a good one. MES looked and sounded wasted, and the band were just going through the motions.

The new guitarist does these rockist embellishments which do absolutely nothing for the songs except detract from their beauty and purity. But at least Antidotes really IS Kashmir now.


I didn't think it was all that bad. They looked like they were enjoying themselves, which I suppose isn't something you expect with The Fall but I don't begrudge Julia that at least after the experiences of the last few years. I can't remember seeing Smith look so happy - didn't look wasted at all to me.

However, one reason why the new guitarist, bassist and drummer were enjoying themselves was because for them it was probably money for old rope - they could have played this stuff in their sleep. This was my first experience of hearing Spencer's drumming and he's an absolutely brilliant drummer, no doubt about it. It was just a shame that he's such a dickhead. During the last encore (was it Midwatch? I didn't recognise it - just Spencer and the guitarist in fact plus guest vocalists - a right farrago that would never have happened with The Real Fall) he threw, at high velocity, a near-full can of Becks, straight into the back of the audience and damn nearly injured my friend Robert. On a par with Michael Clarke's chair-throwing that one.

Highlights of the set for me were Dr Buck, Ketamine Suns (v.intense), and Way Round. After that Smith just seemed to lose interest. African Man seemed utterly pointless, Smith read the words off a bit of paper like he'd never heard the song in his life. This was the first time I'd seen them with Julia for a while and she makes such a difference, as long as she's in charge I reckon the next album will be OK. She is in charge, isn't she?

The Joke featured some line about "The Penny Lanes, in Brighton, and Strawberry Fields Forever", but don't ask me what that was about. At the beginning of Damo Suzuki (I think) Julia was playing some dramatic keyboard bit on her own and MES, laughing, said "Tomorrow we are... to be married" then went off backstage to snigger to himself.

The Woughton Centre seems to leave people with a horrible impression of Milton Keynes, it's a shame it's the only large venue we've got, but mostly this place is lovely. I've seen The Fall in plenty of fucking dumps worse than this one, and they don't always get the kind of warm reception they got here (Smith looked genuinely surprised by this). Don't leave it another 15 years, chaps.

Paul W:

First impressions of the new drum/bass/guitar was weird haircuts. Bass player in particular looked like a Saturday boy in Maplins. Slickback. Drummer had razor point widow's peaks. Guitarist fits the Craig Scanlon mould physically, and seemed more than pleased with himself. Mark seems to have a soft spot for the bass player as he was close to hugging him on a couple of occasions. Smith seemed, as has been said, happy and cheerful, but I reckon he got more than bored with things by the end as he didn't seem to be putting that much effort in.

As Michael has said Julia is pretty much in charge and seems to play more guitar than I remember. All in all the group were pretty tight. Drummer good: more into things than Tom seemed.

Encore number 2 was fucking diabolical. The band had left, bar the drummer. Guitarist thought twice and then strapped on the axe and started playing some stuff (technical term), which didn't seem that interesting. In my memory two different singers came on during this time. By the second, it was like the Mark E. Smith revue and worse than It Ain't Half Hot Mum. Guitarist playing out some 'so chuffed to be here' pose. He kept grinning all though the gig, as Mark was fucking about with things.

I got the feeling that this band are pretty much in the same state as Adam, Tom etc. were before the Marshall Suite: being drilled into things and not stretching themselves. Not great but not terrible. My suggestion is to get Seafood's drummer as 2nd drummer: she looked out from under a Reni style knitted beanie hat throughout and could hit them skins pretty hard. Seafood were poor I thought.

And why the uniforms? Why don't they go the whole hog and DEVO themselves to the max: I vote energy domes and covers of Huboon Stomp and Uncontrollable Urge for the next tour.


It's taken me a while to reply to these negative reviews of Saturday night, because I am really quite amazed. I think you guys are very demanding.

The band were muscular, very tight, clearly having a good time and enjoying each other's playing. The Unutterable songs (great as they are on disc) sounded even better live, they really took on loads more depth and attitude. The audience loved it and Mark seemed particularly touched by their affection. Admittedly it became a little shambolic towards the end (the Road Crew set we could have definitely done without), but apart from that it seemed to me like a pretty perfect Fall gig.

Maybe you were all lucky enough to see them at some kind of Career Defining Early-80s Zenith. I wasn't. I've seen 'em a few times in the last 10 years though and the two gigs I saw last week (Newport/MK) were awe-inspiring. To me, at least.

Thought the T-shirts were absolute shite though.


Local rag review of Milton Keynes gig - it's fun trying to guess how familiar this guy actually is with The Fall... (lyric ref is from Dr Buck I think, no megaphone was used this time, and The Fall were on stage by about 9.30)

"...and Smith even cracked a smile!" by Richard Cooper

Mark E Smith and his band The Fall were in fine form when they performed at the Woughton Centre last Saturday. There was some anxiety before they played, as time was marching on and they looked as if they might have gone AWOL. When The Fall eventually appeared, they launched into a raw set made up mostly of songs from the new album The Inutterable (sic), plus old favourites such as Mr Pharmacist. Smith, who was dressed in black, had a passing resemblance to Alex Higgins and looked as if he had seen better days. He appeared to have complete contempt for his audience as he snarled his lyrics, which sounded as if they were projected through a megaphone. On their recorded material, Smith's lyrics completely shine, but unfortunately they were completely incoherent and the only words which were recognisable were "JD Saling-jah, Catch-ah in tha Rye-ah". But this did not detract from the overwhelming performance.
While Smith went off on one, he was solidly supported by a band which rumbled through the set. Strangely, the members seemed to be very young and could not have been much older than five when the band formed more than two decades ago. It is very difficult to pinpoint what make The Fall so brilliant, but their music is rough, direct and dynamic. Generally, Mark E Smith comes across as a miserable git, but he seemed to enjoy hiimself, actually smiling at one point and coming back to give two superb encores.

Apr 22/ Oxford Zodiac


Made it to Oxford last night at about 10 pm, so missed the first few numbers, entering the hall to Cyber Insekt. Similar to previous reports though. We did get Damo, Paintwork and Mr Pharmacist, the usual Unutterable stuff.

Dominant instrument was Julia's guitar on most numbers, with stripped down, minimalist bass prominent when J reverted to keys. The other guitarist spent much of the second half tuning or replacing bust strings (interesting to note how the 2-halves plus extra-time format has become standard - a good thing in my book). I didn't miss him.

MES? Oh yes, him. He was there. Regular performance.


The Joke
2 Librans
F-Oldin' Money
Cyber Insekt
Touch Sensitive
Mr Pharmacist
Ketamine Sons
I am Damo Suzuki
Way Round
Dr Buck's letter
And Therein
The new one - I eat Kangaroos in the Hotel Ibis Jungle whatever
Hot Runes
Touch Sensitive

Not much more I can add - see this and previous reports. But why play the same song twice? Felt slightly swindled by this - just as well it's a corking song. Have the band not learnt any more than this?

And will we get any new stuff? Seems like the Fall are turning into a bit of a "Greatest Hits" band. Not like this old fossil is complaining - two off TNSG and one off Bend Sinister. Woo hoo. Although the dow-dow-dow dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow bit of Mr P by new guitarist chappy was pants. Bring back Brix (and you won't hear me say that too often). But I do have to say in 16 years that that's the best live version of Paintwork I've ever heard.


My prayers were answered. A good tight gig. MES on top form. The crowd were in high spirits. All us old farts down the front, we give a rousing reception as Julia and the new lads march on. MES enters seemingly in a good mood, grinning in acknowledgement, sober as a Judge. He seems happy. "Thank God" I think. You hear such horror stories...

Julia looks at home. She was very accomplished and confident, totally in control. Again backing vocals needed turning up. Good on the girl, nearly ready to enter The Fall Hall of Fame.

MES has a little banter with the new Bass Lad, and drops a spare mic in the bass drum that produces a satisfying 'Thud, thud" New drummer was good - very energetic in a 'get yer head down' style, and more like Tom than Wolstencroft, but maybe that because he's doing the recent numbers. Lets see him develop.

Our guitar man is very tight and very 'Fall' taking everything in his stride. During 'And Therein' he breaks a string, fiddles to no avail, gives up and has a ciggie while a roadie fixes the problem. Julia covers professionally. MES soldiers on, it's his way.

A dash of MES irrelevence: "Who wants to be a millionaire?! You invented it, we're givin' it to you." He laughs. So do I. He deals with a bloke who endlessly recites old lyrics of yore by having a quick arm wrestle.

He does the rounds, faces us, crouches behind the drum kit, reads from notebooks, cleans his fingernails, bangs the mic. All the hallmarks keep me grinning.

I have to say I like this squad system he's operating nowadays, fresh and unpredictable. I'm the first to admit I was the grumpiest of the old Hanley/Scanlon loyalists, until the 'Marshall Suite' came out.

Half an hour in and he orders a walk off, just to keep us all on our toes. Three minutes later he's back with a little keyboard tinkering, before belting out another two numbers.

Highlights for me were 'F-Oldin' Money' with audience participation, 'I am Damo Suzuki' with great drumming, and a rousing 'Touch Sensitive'. 'The Joke' was a strong opening number and 'Paintwork' was not only reproduced well but was a popular crowd pleaser.

A minor critisism would have to be the middle bit 'Mr. Pharmacist was a bit of a non-event, but give the new lads time.

We were also treated to lyrics from 'Race with the Devil' and a hilarious 'African Man'. Band did very well - relaxed but focused. I look forward to this incarnation delivering another corker soon.

Set list (not in exact order)

The Joke, Cyber Insekt, Two librans F-Oldin' Money, Touch Sensitive, Way Round, Mr. Pharmacist, And Therein, I Am Damo Suzuki, Anecdotes, Dr. Buck's Letter, Hot Runes, African Man
Encore: Paintwork, Touch Sensitive


Earplugs for me too.

Highlights: Damo, Paintwork Lowlights: Two Librans (muddy guitar sound) and smashed car windscreen.

Other highlight was 'And therein' ... guitarist lurked in the corner waiting for string change then when finally gets guitar back plays 2 bars and song ends. Reminded me of the 'bass player trapped in a coccoon' scene of the spinal tap film.

Apr 23/ London Mean Fiddler


F***! (again) Arrived c.9.15 to lilting strains of Buck, all over by 10.05 and missed "Good evening we are the Fall" if any.

Two parts plus encore as before, lots of Unutterable, mostly fine and improving, I thought; now-usual oldies Pharmacist (fun but not about to change the face of... er... stuff), Damo (doesn't benefit from noise onslaught treatment - better done minimally or not at all), Antidotes (v. nice), Paintwork (great, or is that just an old fart hankering after the album sound?); African Man I presume (can live without yet another cover). Usual sporadic stage infiltrations / ejections but no noticeable horrors. Hope they're not about to turn professional.

If this all sounds familiar, I blame misguided Fallnetters for telling us what was coming and making it all a bit predictable - next time why not just say "it was utter crap" and we can be pleasantly surprised (for anyone going to Birmingham or Macclesfield - this tour is utter crap, and the last two gigs are certain to be the worst, with three Oasis covers apiece). Beware the intermission - not even long enough for a pee (the most important item of information, which reviewers omitted): what kind of musicianship is that?

I see what people mean about going a bit through the motions, but I can forgive the Fall anything except Jungle Rock, and I can forgive anyone almost anything (except Jungle Rock) after having to spend a Saturday evening in Milton Keynes. I thought MES looked quite well after all the recent cadaverous rumours, and might even have enjoyed himself once ot twice. But what did "Thank you, good night" mean? Has anyone else heard this unfamiliar expression?

A fun but truncated night out, but no teeth stunts, disappointingly. I'll be back. Presumably the "best of" repertoire will expand in time - I just hope it doesn't include Jungle Rock. Maybe one day they'll be Status Quo, what the hell, just enjoy it. An eerily quiet performance, though: where's my eardrum buzz (or are the fans of today just a bunch of softies - or am I deafened by decades of self- abuse)? And my mum used to let me stay up late, so why won't the Fall (unless it was the venue's fault)?

Visibly relieved at absence of Jungle Rock


This is London ...

... where a major headline act takes the stage at 9pm sharp, bar closes at 10pm, band finishes at 10.05pm and audience forcibly ejected by 10.15pm.

I met two unfortunate Fall veterans (since c. 1982) in the Moon in the Gutter afterwards who, having paid 13 quid for tickets, turned up at 9.50pm, not unreasonably expecting the Fall to take the stage at about 10. Did they whinge? Not a bit of it. Privileged to have caught the tail end of Paint Work. That was enough.

Fall fans. Salt of the Earth.

The Fall: 20 per cent improvement on Oxford. Set much the same. Solid. One of these days I must catch the start of the set.


Last night's show...wow!

Spencer(?) on drums...absolutely top drummer boy. Missed Adam and Nev and 'Hands up Billy', but hey, this is the Fall, squad rotation and all.

Tracks played on the night:

1. The Joke
..then...a clear and audible 'Good evening, we are The Fall' (oooh were in for a good gig here!)
2. Ketamine Sons
3. F'Oldin Money
4. Cyber Insect
5. Dr Bucks letter
6. Mr Pharmacist
7. I am Damo Suzuki
(which had the best ad-lib...'I am not Robbie Williams...I am Damo Suzuki')
8. Touch Sensitive
9. and Therein
10.Way Round
12.Jungle Man/IBIS hotel/Comp man.....top track, although it seemed to take a while to build up.
walk off
(birthday song in the background...atmosphere...I'm impressed)
...and to top it all... 'Thank you, good night'

All in all I think this was a brilliant set. Mark was in the best form I have seen in years. He smiled throughout the night, encouraged the fans (whilst waving a hand to the flow of music) to sing 'Paintwork' before joining in himself! He gave over a really good vibe. Spencer was the glue that held the night together, giving many tracks from 'Unutterable' a very Manc/Rock 'abilly treatment. Less reliance on DAT backup this evening which made for a more raw presentation to the night. Julia made very little use of the piano, mainly backing up on guitar.

This ones GirlChick did point out that 'pedal-pusher' leggings and high heels are a fashion no-no...but hey, Julia has been on the road for a while.. and a Fall gig never made itself out to be a fashion statement.

All this AND t-shirts for 10.00 too!



This is how This is London trailed last night's gig:

Seafood: Where once this young, spiky London four-piece were criticised for their strict adherence to their American influences - detuned guitars, copious feedback and sweet melodies - the passing of time has draped a beguiling shade of melancholy over their slow-burning rock of late, and very satisfying it is too. Their songs tell of love and loss and the pain of growing up, with the odd bit of feedback thrown in for good measure. Just make sure that you've escaped the venue before shambolic headliners The Fall hit the stage. Mean Fiddler, W1, doors 8pm, 11, 020 7434 9592.

Mind you, last time round the Fall were previewed as "smelly" so their reputation is definitely improving.....

Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong but when you go to a Fall gig, the very last thing you want to hear at the start are the opening chords to The Joke. Well that's what we got last night - AND IT SOUNDED ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. I can't recall the last time the Fall had such an overwhelming powerhouse sound. It was extraordinary. The pleasant surprise/astonishment rivalled the first time I witnessed the Neville/Adam/Tom line-up. It's certainly put them on a far more professional footing. (Apart from the stellar sound, even the lightshow seemed unusually slick at times). MES was in excellent voice too, looking and sounding totally authoritative and the recent resurgence in ad-libbing shows no sign of dimming. Good to hear Damo Suzuki and a positively joyous Paintwork - but they've really got to put And Therein and Mr Pharmacist out to pasture. I think I would rather hear an acapella version of Ed's Babe than suffer those again. I feel positively queasy every time I hear them nowadays - so God knows what it must be like to perform them at every single gig. No sign of MES's cream strides - unless of course they've turned pitch black due to a week's worth of encrusted dirt. The new song sounded very promising - especially when it revved up and the band unleashed a blizzard of noise. Then again, I could've sworn I heard a line from Ol' Gang in the cacophony so maybe they'd revamped that as well. In fact, apart from the faithful renditions of the oldies, all the recent stuff had been reworked to varying degrees, which really highlighted Spencer's amazing (but non-flashy) drumming, especially on Cyber Insekt which sounded much punchier than on record. Highlight: a stunning Way Round followed by Antidotes which is never going to be my favourite Fall song but here sounded absolutely ferocious. You could tell at times that the guitarist was itching to add unnecessary frills to the Fall's essentially stripped-down sound.

Apr 24/ Birmingham Academy 2


Saw the band at the foundry about 18 month ago - only played 40 minutes - atmosphere a bit strained (according to the wife).

What a difference this time around ! Band played twice as long, MES out of his face - band obviously enjoying selves - smiles all round. Highlight of gig was absolutely storming version of "I am Damo Suzuki", with drummer obviously relishing the Can style drum patterns. Left wife at back (ear trouble) to mosh at front - returned to find she had been approached by and spurned man with manc accent selling Tshirts (I'm with the band, me). No free Tshirt there then.

Apr 25/ Macclesfield Bar Cuba


I reckon this is about the 20th time I've seen The Fall and after a half hour drive out of Manchester which meant i was unable to get tanked up i was sort of half expecting one of those Fall concerts where you leave feeling a bit disappointed. I hadn't seen them since I went to Jilly's a few years ago and that wasn't the greatest.

But after a few seconds I realised that "the new" Fall have managed to re-capture everything I have always loved about the band. MES even appeared to be enjoying the gig as much as everybody in there. For the first time I saw them do classics such as Damo Suzuki and And Therein which fit in seamlessly with newer classic like Touch Sensitive and Antidote. The whole gig was high energy and thoroughly entertaining. To be honest it was without doubt the best Fall gig I have ever been to. And I've been to some absolute belters.

Dave Harrop:

This was an awesome performance. I nearly didn't go, but was so glad I did. They came on just before 10.30 and played to about 11.40, with a blistering set that included, not in order:

Africa Man
Way Round
Dr Buck
Touch Sensitive
Mr Pharmacist
Two Librans
And Therein
I am Damo Suzuki
The Joke
Cyber Insekt

Mark was focused, and clearly enjoying himself even allowing himself the odd smile, and accepting a pint from the audience which he sipped but then handed back. Fantastic versions of Damo and Midwatch, very lively crowd, but I couldn't help feeling I was watching this with a couple of hundred clones of my dad aged about 40 (and sadly I was one of them). Great night, the best Fall performance yet in my book...


I've just digitised and uploaded a Fall piece from 1978 by Ian Penman which I don't think has been put online before. It's at



Good pics from the recent Dutch gigs posted at http://home.planet.nl/~kreme120/fallpics.html

From Timekode:

Many thanks for your enquiry. With regard to our 'Fall' tracks, the two mixes of 'Cheap Space Chant' (single and extended) appeared on the first Timekode CD which has sold out. Currently, the tracks are available only on cassette and can be obtained by sending a cheque for 6 to:

D. Gibson,
The Timekode Organisation,
11 Aberbeeg Road,
NP13 2EG,

Cheques only to be made out to 'D.Gibson'. Please allow 28 days for delivery.
I hope this will be of help to you, as this is the only format in which we can offer these tracks at the moment. The first CD may be re-pressed at some time, but we have our fourth album in pre-production at present. Some info for those interested: the voice synthesis program used on 'Cheap Space Chant' is called the 'Mk E Unit'!

"A top quality live recording of the Fall at their stunning, swaggering best. The band, had been given the chance to perform material that's related to the rest of the rock music family that is where tune, instruments and musicians melt into one. Mark E Smith of course, has no time for such frippery and exhibits his traditional disregard for the 'right' note from start to finish. Formed mainly from the Extricate and Frenz Experiment sets, this recording boasts an overwhelming reading from the 'MES Mad Epic' school. 'Hit The North' and an equally inspired take on The Monks' lost classic 'Black Monk Theme' which is a song so out there that it could have dropped from the claws of the same disturbing muse that grips Smith's shoulder. They top these off with the thoughtful traditional music arrangement that characterises 'And Therein', the traditionally deranged 'Carry Bag Man', the funky electronic paranoia of 'Telephone Thing' and the drugged-up squalor of 'Hillary'. The result is a hot and steaming slice from the only band in the world that's provided solid nourishment for the last two decades. Top Gig, Top Class." 13.99

Zagreb (Partial)/And Therein/Carry Bag Man/Sing Harpy/I'm Frank/Telephone Thing/Hillary/Hit The North/Bill Is Dead/Black Monk Theme/Tuff Life Boogie & Popcorn Double Feature

FALL, THE Live in Liverpool '78 CD (COG SINISTER)
"This recording captures the essence of The Fall's early sound back when the band were on first name terms with a good percentage of the crowd.The first couple of tracks sounds as if Mark. E Smith has sacked the band performing a solo set. If anyone has ever wondered what Mark E Smith was yelling then all will be clear on this recording. The set has an early shambolic, still gelling charm for example the track 'Psycho Mafia' sounds as though it was played while the band were falling down a long flight of stairs whilst Mark is thanking the audience and making jokes.." 13.99

Like To Blow/Stepping Out/Two Steps Back/Mess Of My/It's The New Thing/Various Times/Bingo Master's Breakout/Frightened/Industrial Estate/Psycho Mafia/Music Scene & Mother Sister

I have been a great fan of the fall for many years... and when i saw them in haarlem i was very impressed especially with the new band, I am disgusted with a certain comment some one made about Bens guitar parts being too bluesy and being told to "keep them simple or leave them out". It is about time that The fall had some decent musicians, no offence to Nev and Adam but Ben and Jim are far superior.
If Mark is going to lead his band into the 21st century then he needs quality musicians to go with him and i dont believe that nev and adam are good enough. I hope that Ben is around for a while he can offer a lot to the band.