Fall News

In case you're wondering what happened to Rich, he doesn't want to do the Fall News any longer, so I offered to take over.... I hope I can do it half as well.



Three European gigs have been cancelled:

October 31 - Metropolis, Munich
November 1 - Szene, Vienna
November 2 - Hafen Club, Innsbruck

According to the band, all other dates in Europe and the U.S. are going ahead.


Apparently the EP The Present has been withdrawn. Tracks scheduled to be on it were "My Ex-Classmates' Kids," "New Formation Sermon," and "Distilled Mug Art."

No word yet on the status of the MES spoken word CD, Pander, Panda, Panzer. I assume it'll be released presently.


Are You Are Missing Winner (Cog Sinister COGVP131CD)

are you are missing artist


1. Jim's "The Fall" (M.E. Smith/J. Watts)
2. Bourgeois Town (R. Johnson arr. M.E. Smith)
3. Crop-Dust (S. Birtwistle/M.E. Smith)
4. My Ex-Classmates' Kids (M.E. Smith/E. Blaney)
5. Kick the Can (M.E. Smith/B. Pritchard)
6. Gotta See Jane (R. Dean/Taylor)
7. Ibis-Afro Man (M.E. Smith/J. Watts/I. Pop)
8. The Acute (Smith/Fanning)
9. Hollow Mind (Smith/Blaney)
10. Reprise: Jane - Prof Mick - Ey Bastardo (Spencer/Blaney)

Playing time: 47min 51sec

CD available at the gigs; it'll be in the shops "in about five weeks." A record shop in the UK says November 5. Apparently there's also a limited edition vinyl picture disk.... the horror. Also Jim Watts says the shop version will have different packaging -- not that there's anything wrong with the current design ...

Overheard on the Internet:

  • The cover is truly, TRULY dire, breathtakingly, dreadfully crap.


  • They should have had somebody crap on a piece of paper and photocopy it - that would have been better. May have got a bit squished in the photocopier though.

Voiceprint has two Real Audio selections (encoded @ 16 Kbps) on their web site:


early gig reports

The Cockpit, Leeds, October 8, 2001

many thanks to Josef for the set list:
Cockpit set list


Attached is the setlist for the cockpit gig. Everything remains the same except in the end they did an instrumental towards the end, and decided to replace Damo Suzuki with Hot Runes.

Intro / New Fall / 2 Librans / Bourgeois Town / Kick Can / Foldin' Money / Classmates Kid / Cropdust / Way Round (Roundabout) / Touch Sensitive / Mr Pharmacist / The Joke / And Therein / Cyber Insect / Instr. ? / Hot Runes (instr.) / African Man

Y'know it's nice to buy a new album on the tour a good month before it's in the shops, and very good it is too, brilliant infact. This is the first Fall album in many years that is brilliant on the first play and just gets better. I shall play this one obsessively for many years. The new band are perfect, infact much better than the Birmingham gig I saw earlier in the year. Sharp as hell. Guitarist did a good job considering he broke his foot playing football and had to sit down in a chair for the gig. Mark looks on top form too - as always i suppose. He seems to really have got it together again - European birds really can lift the spirits, I know that from me own experiences.

Cockpit was full - the Fall always get a warm Leeds reception, the first song - New Fall, what great start to the tour - you people in America - a bloomin' big treat is on it's way at last. I'll send you some photos soon.

David Humphries:

The support aren't worth toss. Ignore them (Schindler being the name).

The Fall lead-in song went on for several minutes, before the band appeared doing an instrumental number. MES actually turned up during this instrumental, and it metamorphosed into something I didn't recognise.

The first part of the set lasted for about 8 songs, including a 3 song medley, the middle part of which was F-Olding Money. I didn't recognise a lot of the songs I'm afraid. The last part of this set was Touch Sensitive, a crap song at the best of times, after which MES led the group off, apparentley in a huff.

They then came back on for a five song encore, including 'And Therein', 'Cyber Insekt' and 'White Lightning'.

The band then left the stage, before returning to play 'Dr Buck's Letter'. Oddly it wasn't MES doing vocals. I think it was the manager, though I'm not sure.

The band then again left the stage before coming back for a third encore - another song I didn't recognise. This time at least MES joined them.

Post-gig me and Olli had a short chat with Jim. Nice bloke, still on an adrenilyn high when we chatted.

I'm listening to the new LP now. Impressions? It seems to be a mix of power-rock and psycho-billy. However, production is non-existant. The cover is fucking awful. It's not the sort of thing I see myself going back to. It sounds worse than Totale's for fucks sake.

Olli: (w/quotes from David's review)

MES wasn't exactly sober but he knew where he was, remembered most of the words (I had to laugh though when he was holding his lyrics sheet looking up the words "ho-hum" that he was uttering at that moment...). And he seemed quite satisfied with how the show went. The band were tight, although rather unimaginative. Jim's bass playing has potential, actually reminded me of shanley at times. The drummer was dedicated, the rhythm guitarist was standing around wondering how he'd got there and what he was doing there. And the lead guitarist was sitting. I thought it was quite enjoyable, but it felt like seeing a Fall cover band.

> They then came back on for a five song encore, including 'And
> Therein', 'Cyber Insekt' and 'White Lightning'.

They also played Mr Pharmacist (MES can change his band but he won't change the setlist apparently) and Round About.

> Post-gig me and Olli had a short chat with Jim. Nice bloke, still on
> an adrenilyn high when we chatted.

Yeah, the band seemed quite euphoric afterwards.

> I'm listening to the new LP now. Impressions? It seems to be a mix of
> power-rock and psycho-billy. However, production is non-existant. The
> cover is fucking awful. It's not the sort of thing I see myself going
> back to. It sounds worse than Totale's for fucks sake.

And at 12 quid post-gig not exactly a bargain. I haven't heard it yet but the artwork is not particularly inviting... Note conspicuous absence of MES in band photos btw.

James Littlewood (http://www.charmonline.co.uk/):

Without trading places with the dirt beneath their fingernails who's really qualified to say what The Fall is? Like a black hole, much of what they are can only be seen seen in the influence it exerts on the lesser bands that orbit it, and like their stellar equivalents they have been around a long time and they endure.

Nearly 12 months ago MES had the look of a Francis Bacon painting, the twisted mouth, the pallid face folding in on itself. But tonight, his barside tan aside, he looks younger, dentured but definetely rejuvenated. Maybe it's because of the company he's keeping?

The new band holds none of the members that he'd honed for The Unnuterable album. Instead they appear like two pub rock bands wedged together. A far cry from the minimalist twin guitar sound of 10 years ago, the new set are young men with pony tails, and they're allowed drum fills, and slide guitar solos. If they were the Magic Band they'd be making Unconditionally Guaranteed and not Ice Cream For Crow. Whether Mark's standards have changed or whether this is just a temporary slackening of the leash during the infancy of a new line-up is, as with all things Fall, hard to say at first glance. This is the opening night of a strange little tour for a new album called, somewhat strangely, 'Are You Are Missing Winner'.

A cover of Robert Johnson's Bourgeois Blues gels and seems to be pointed at the new Leeds that is climbing up outside. The slickness of the vocal delivery is at the core of the performance, and it seems strange that MES is regarded by some of the crowd as a 'turn', and you can't help but think how sad it would be if his unique brand of spidery poetry was failing to catch new converts in its web.

Sometimes The Fall seem only as great as the dusty corners of MES's record collection which surely must beg the question whether they're running low on new riffs to bend and shape into new product? For the first few numbers it appears so. We're in a fog of the half recognisable. And then it slowly draws to a clear spot during Kick The Can, following MES's decision to switch off a guitar amp, the sound is lithe and wiry and magically they sound like a new Fall or an old Fall.

This is as unusual a Fall gig as I have ever seen. It's not a shambles or a great great gig, but it's unique and less clear cut than most of the gigs that the Cockpit will host this year, it ebbs and flows, niggles at your attempt to have an opinion, it depresses and elates and as always it pushes the perenially rebuilt Fall out to sea again.

Cluny, Newcastle, Oct. 9 2001


So the burden of reporting and passing judgment on the Newcastle gig lies wholly on my shoulders? See if I can take it. Sorry you couldn't go, Simon, I think we could have gotten you in. I didn't have a ticket myself but I saw the group sitting round a table in the corner (Smith included, in animated discussion), so I approached him and he and the guitarist got me on the guest list, Three cheers for the lads. (me on the guest list at a fall gig, something to tell the grand children about).

Sat around at the Free Trade Inn for a while hoping for an FF or two to turn up - very nice pub indeed, with a spectacular view over the Tyne and the city centre, check it out when you're in Newcastle.

The support band were slightly better than in Leeds, basically because the singer was pissed. Still boring. Guitarist plays a Les Paul, always a bad sign.

Intermission with DJ (the bloke who'd done Dr Buck's Letter in Leeds), mostly tracks off the Unutterable, Roundabout, Dr Buck, Devolute, somewhat remixed. First song was, wait for it, Damo Suzuki, and quite beautiful it was, but even before that "Good evening we are the Fall" (not heard in Leeds) and "Hey ho, let's go". In other words, MES in high spirits. Much more playful than in Leeds, more variation in the singing, loads of grinning, and after the first song a phrase that I'd never expected to hear at a Fall gig: "How are you?". Then it continued more or less like the night before, Two Librans, that medley with F-Olding Money, Mr Pharmacist, Roundabout (hang on, it's called "way round", isn't it?), The Joke, , and , er I forget. MES in amp knob fiddling mode during the medley, cranked up the guitarists amp up to 11, which got everybody started, and was actually an improvement. Shoved around the lead guitarists (who plays misplaced blues licks between songs...) chair at some point.

The band work well on the newer tracks, Two Librans and the Joke for instance; where they fail is the rockabilly numbers. F-olding Money for example doesn't work at all, I think, they're too polite and well-tuned for that. Mr Pharmacist lacks the decisive punch, too.

Anyway, things went well up until And therein, which has one break, which the band didn't do properly, according to Smith at least. SO, Stop. Start again. No, stop. Try again. Nah, doesn't work. It was like watching a rehearsal at that point. After the third try MES gave up and left the stage, the band following shortly after. Took a while for them to come back, and they played Dr Buck, instrumental, to almost the end, when MES reappeared and gave us a couple of lines. I think there was another song after that, but I don't remember what it was... So, a good gig most of the time, more typically Fall than in Leeds. The band should make an effort to be more than just MES's backing band, at the moment it seems to me they're basically just doing what he tells them and they do it competently, but a little unimaginatively. And, btw, MES reminds me of my granny.

Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Oct. 10, 2001


Just got a call from a mate who was lucky to get through tonight. They played for around 35-40 minutes and were generally on good form even though the 'guitarist' played in a chair. Said guitarist was forever looking about to see where Smith was and what he was up to. They came back on sans MES and played for another 15 minutes, among other unknown tunes 'Dr. Bucks Letter'.


Good form? Hmmm, I'm not so sure, to me they seem fairly average. I've realised over the past few gigs that the Fall to me have never been just MES and my granny on bongos. There's something a little odd about going to see a different band every year where the only constant is the barely audible singer.

I think they played for about 45 mins and there were good moments, but I dunno, I just can't really get excited about seeing the Fall live any more (and apologies to all US FFs who would willingly kill their grannies and smash up her bongo collection for the very chance.)

And it did kind of piss me off at the end when the band got sent on for a 15 minute encore and MES can't be arsed joining them. My girlfriend railed about what an arrogant wanker he is, and to be honest I agree with her. Do your job Smith.

excellent review as always from Graeme Park:

The new band are pretty good in a rumbling backing band kind of way. They're very loud and very clean sounding for the most part but I think we've definitely reached the MES *and* the Fall stage now. Last night's stage set up was very minimal. Chair on LHS for crippled guitarist (if I'd been reading my Fallnet properly I'd've known about this), two mics, drums pushed way back with a lot of open space. It was strange since the night before, you could barely see Faust for the amount of industrial junk they had on stage, but that's a story for another night.

Intro tape had Way Round and 2 Librans, some tape edits, ansaphone messages and a brief snippet of Black's Wonderful Life, which was quite amusing. The band came on to zip into Touch Sensitive, MES appearing in the middle. Just before the gig started the guitarist burst into a brief jazzy riff which had me wondering if that what happened to his legs. His amp was just beside him but at arms length, which had me thinking "what a wonderful target for MES". And lo and behold during the gig, dig the cheeky monkey not fiddle with the poor man's amp. In a good natured way.

Songs that I can remember are Touch Sensitive, Jim's The Fall, Bourgeois Town, Crop Dust (a storming track boys), And Therein, F-Oldin' Money, I Am Damo Suzuki, The Joke, Mr Pharmacist. Brian reckons they did a snatch of Kick The Can and I thought I heard a bit of Kill Your Sons but having listened to the album it may well've been KTC. There were probably other songs played but I've left my scribbled notes at work. F-Oldin had no solo at all, simply a rhythm played on damped guitar strings.

F-Oldin had no solo at all, simply a rhythm played on damped guitar strings. The less said about the encore, the better. Let's just call it a 97th minute own goal. Sending the band back out to fuck up Dr Buck's Letter is unforgiveable. I'm sure the crew are lovely people but I didn't pay 12 quid to see them sing (badly). Then we were also treated to an instrumental version o,f I think ,Ibis-Afro Man. Which was shite. Some long haired twat then came out to tell us how wonderful and patient we were and wish us goodnight in a ridiculous, spinal tap like way that sent shudders down my spine. The crowd started booing at this point as it was just nonsensical rock cliche. That was a shame as up until the encore the crowd were having a great time - one nutter managed to get up onstage and dance for a bit before being dumped rather violently off the stage by a bouncer.

So, we're into a new sound for the Fall, midway between a hard rocking sound and a garagey sound. Cerebral Caustic kept coming to mind last night but the band are harder and louder than that. Jim's a solid bassist, the drummer's great and the two guitarists are solid - switching rhythm and lead when necessary. Although the hoppy one better watch his legs if he's going to carry on with the fancy riffage.

It's amazing who you meet in toilets at gigs, just the very best. I bumped into Toby just before the encore but didn't have much time to talk as the band were coming back on and I was rather pished by that point.

I enjoyed myself and like to pretend the encore was just a high spirited mistake.

Alan L:

The Fall are back in town, 3rd time at this venue in 18 months. Crowd was smaller this time so they didn't open the balcony.

First impressions -- no keyboards, 4 guitars and a minimalist 1 tom-tom drumkit. Bass guitarist has his hair in a bun and looks like 'Darios' while the rhythm bloke with the broken foot had to sit down. Unsurprisingly, they performed like scared kittens behind a yelping dog…

Touch Sensitive set the tone and it basically followed on from there -- kick ass rock, no holds barred. Certainly kept my non FF mates happy, but I couldn't help spotting the misplaced notes in the older tunes -- they ruined Damo Suzuki. Learn your trade boys. Dry-ice, lead guitar breaks in F-Oldin and a stage invader -- rock and roll!!!

Surprise of the night was the band coming back on for a 2nd encore as most of the audience were on their way out the door. That joy was short-lived with the nonappearance of MES. As they started Dr Buck, some stage-hand type bloke took the mike and gave us some impromptu ranting along the lines of 'I lost my patience with a friend' (MES?), which merged into a Shaun Ryder style chant of 'ye want Mark but I fookin can't hear ya'…

Last encore aside, definitely an above par Fall gig. See you back in 6 months lads.

Set list :


Final word -- good idea getting the new CD (and back catalogue) on sale at the show. I heard a moan about the price -- why are people grudgeful!...

Oh, and yes, that sleeve is dire.

The Limelight, Belfast, Oct. 11, 2001

Peter Reavy:

Decline or rise of the Fall?

The Fall managed to actually turn up and play at the Limelight, Belfast last night. Same form as regards a lead-in as other recent reports. DJ played remixed stuff. Band came on with Touch Sensitive. No Mark. Band stays on one riff for what seems like 5 minutes. Mark appears and gets stuck in. He's got what looks like a rolled up newspaper, or battered sheaf of notes, or possibly a handful of papyrus in his hand. At the end of the track he says something like 'We are the Fall with more instrumentals for your delectation'.

They go into what must be Jim's The Fall, sounding great and then what must be Bourgeois Town, which made absolutely perfect sense in the town of Belfast currently reinventing itself on the global model as cappucino-land. Mark extending a semi-clenched fist with little finger extended and facing down the audience. He kept repeating the lines from Race With The Devil - "I've led an evil life some'll say but I'll outrun the devil on judgement day" - and he meant it.

They did Kick the Can and a convincing And Therein. This sped up comically at the end before MES seemed to spit out the words "paradise lost". Possibly he had spotted the dodgy nightclub of this name on the way to the venue. Possibly I misheard him. Then they did Mr Pharmacist and The Joke and even those sounded good. This was not a backing band, it was the Fall.

Having completely won me over for the first time in years, the band went off. For an encore they came back on with Dr Buck's Letter and African Man - but to their bewilderment and to the audience's, there was no Mark.

and an excellent review from Alan McBride:

So pretty much on last-second impulse I jumped in the car and shot off from work up the dublin-belfast road. Turned out to be a great day for that drive - this October day's weather as good as any Ireland gets in Summer. And - listened to end-to-end Fall after having had a Fall-free diet pretty much for months now - it's always somehow surprising to find on return just how good some of the later rent-a-band stuff sounds.

Dumped car on arrival at Belfast and walked until I found the Limelight, salford car hire multi-person carrier parked illegally outside - had a quick feed-up at a nearby chinese.

Saw posters for t'fall among posters for tribute acts like 'the cure heads' and 'the jamm' - kind of echoed the sentiment that recent Fall lineups, this one too, are little more than tribute bands. Well, that remained to be seen...

Support, Schindler, really enjoyed them - a healthy dose of Fugazi and Minor Threat in there somewhere, some good songs, great momentum and thumping self-confidence, lovely noise.

Long long intro tape with some of Smith's most discordant and cacophonic cut-ups spliced with full track plays of roundabout, two librans, dr bucks.

And the band probably better called Trigger Happy take the stage, guitarist a-hopping, a profusion of bottled water and fluffy white towels arrayed, Jim Watts unforgivabely ponytailed and goateed - sorry Jim but your card is marked! ...haven't you ever heard crewfilth?

Ah now what was the tracklisting, really should pen it down at the gig - well they certainly started with Touch Sensitive - as usual the band were left to belt it out and throw in a few 'hey hey hey hey's until it was nice and tight and expectant and Smiffy would deign to slink onstage and do his usual somewhat contemptuous cringe at the applause. They'd played about the whole length of TS but kept it running for a pretty-much full vocal rendition too, and it wasn't bad - no surprises, pleasant or foul as yet.

But things were looking up right from the start because Mark was obviously up for a fight. The man has a peculiar talent for pouring more venom into the flick of a wrist or a darkening scowl than anyone I've seen. 'Good evening we are the fall' - followed by a pause and a glare as if daring anyone to challenge that - then 'welcome the new fall...with more instrumentals for your delecation...' which got an audience laugh from the knowing.

The sounds was blisteringly loud, the definition of ear splitting - well at least it was where I was sat - on a sort of raised island with bar seats and tables curiously jutting forward right in front of the stage, maybe 12 ft eye-to-eye with lead mic. I popped a plug of spit-moistened tissue into the one ear most assaulted - mostly people just fled from the area right in front of the suspended speakers. But it was just magic - huge and thumping and visceral, right in the gut, big bass and smacking drums.

So what else got played - well, from the new album the highlight was Bourgeois Town - much more urgent and violent than the album version which is a bit lazy and neutered by comparison. Kick the Can was a non-event live. My Ex-classmates Kids was pretty good even if it is basically 'roudrunner' aka 'in the city'.

From the back catalogue we got a passable And Therein and a faultless Mr Pharmacist - about the best I've ever heard by any Fall lineup to be honest. Same for the Joke, pretty much - I used to hate that track live but they had it down.

From the last couple of albums we got Two Librans (which Jim cocked up royally and got a 'get it ...right-uh' slipped into the vox for his troubles). And F-oldin' money leading into Kick the Can. Again, F-oldin' money was one the previous line up never seemed to get right but they had this down too - some nice fiddling about by the beseated guitarist to punctuate the quiet pausey bits.

The real surprise of the night, hairs-raising-at-back-of-neck stuff, was the bass-and-drum re-working of Roundabout. Now this was a real surprise, considering it was a pretty much

DAT-drive track for the previous line-up. No electronics at all, or if so entirely buried - just guitars and mostly Jim doing a masterful job on bass - a juggernaut of a song and the point at which I became happy to call this band The Fall. Later for encore the band did a similar electric re-working of dr bucks to good effect, despite missing vox.

You know, whatever about how this band measure up to the Hanley/Scanlon/Wolstencroft Fall yardstick, and no matter how well the new album measures up as a recorded artefact - I really advise you guys not to miss this act. One thing the repeated re-resourcing of this band confirms for me is that, like it or not, the Fall is Smith. And the current Smith is quite an arresting and compelling act. And this particular band, with this particular set and their current level of rehearsing - it all makes for some top live punk rock. Dunno about the stooges comparison, not being well versed in matters stoogish - but this band are riff-armed and sonically dangerous. Occured to me how it will appeal much to the rock-weaned US f'faces among us.

My only whinge? No Devolute. But did I mention how fuckin' great Roundabout was?

Course, on past form the tour will be patchy and last nite will have been a highlight, and tonite's dublin gig will have me tearing out me hair (it'll have to be facial since I can't get a grip on the new number-one length).

Oh - and don't worry Peter I wasn't insulted that you had no idea who I was last nite!

And at last they're doing the merchandising properly - new album and large cogsin back-catalogue nicely arrayed and some t-shirts too. If I hadn't got voiceprint stalling on an order and was confident of being able to cancel it I would have picked up a bunch but as it was I settled for the newey and Rejkjavik.

But the title and cover of the new album is dire no question.

Pre-gig pints tonite - palace bar, temple bar, in the bourgeois town.

Temple Bar, Dublin, Oct. 12, 2001

Alan McBride:

the highlight of the dublin show for me was the 'bastardo' track which I heard from the jacks and nearly injured mesel' rushing to zip and rush back upstairs to see mark proclaiming in comic vox 'smith is a bastardo...he is a bastardo...'. at the moment that and 'gotta see jane' are my faves from the new album - they're on pretty much repeat playings round ours just now.

two librans was spot on so I guess they sorted out how to keep the bassline and guitar riffs on the same track. roundabout was good but this time you could hear the electronics - at belfast they were either absent or buried - I liked it better without. jim manages to drive the electronics during pauses in the bass parts, nicely done.

smith looked a little tired this time around, not like last nite at belfast when he seemed real charged up and ready to rumble. but he belted it out tremendously nonetheless. as predicted, they were more than a little let down by the acoustics but some tracks were rewardingly clear - most notably pharmacist and beourgeois town.

other than copping that they started with a passable 'the joke' I have no notion of what the set list was - having stayed dry to drive the belfast trip the nite before, I was in full-on party mode so it's all a nice alcoholic haze of noise and fun - so I'll leave it to Dr. Roe or others to fill in the gaps for yis.

Regina Richardson:

Hello to all Fall fans who knew my late husband Rick (Andy Richardson). Last Friday I went to hear the Fall live for the first time, in Temple Bar, Dublin. I didn't really know what to expect, having heard so much about them, especially Mark E. Smith. I really enjoyed the concert, Mark. E. Smith seemed very Mark E. Smith-ish, I particularly liked Mr Pharmacist, Antidotes, and Bourgeois City (though I keep seeing this referred to as Bourgeois Town, I'm positive he was singing "city" (its still ringing in my ears) - can anyone shed any light on this?

To anyone who knew Rick over the Internet, thanks again for all your messages and support 3 years ago, myself and Rick's girls Niamh and Aoife are doing ok, though his absence is a big loss in our lives - I know he wouldn't have missed the Fall in Temple Bar, so I had to go. The fact that I enjoyed it so much was a big plus.


University of Liverpool Student's Union, Liverpool, Oct. 13, 2001

Many thanks to Stephen for the set list and photos of Mark:

Paul Hopkins:

No proper gig review I'm afraid - it's Adam's turn.

It was good. But doing Cyber Insekt with no chorus is a bit daft. And Therein was a shambles. One of the new ones sounds like Television - it's very good. MES did a snatch of Beefheart, Dropout Boogie I think, during Dr. Buck.

Adam Marshall:

O Yes - went to see the band on Sat. I thought it was pretty good - could definitely do with a dash of keyboards in there though. So what did they play? Started off with The Joke, then Cyber Insekt then Bourgoiuse Town - must admit I didnt like any of these three, but then things got better - they didnt seem to play much off the new LP and what they did play wasnt all good. Couldnt believe that the peg-legged guitarist was getting away with so much guitar histrionics incl approriated Hendrix solos [I assume he'll be getting royalties for this ;)] and general Led Zeppisms. Dr Bucks Letter was a particular highlight with its Beefheart references [!], ooh yes and Way Round was pretty storming too. Antidotes they did, an appaling version of And Therin, Two Librans (another fave of mine). No Touch Sensitve (yippee), nor Damo Suzuki (boo).

For some reason Smiffy is always in good mood at Liverpool and totally cracked up when somebody bellowed 'Last Orders Half past ten'. He also seemed to find the the fat-bloke with a video camera on stage quite amusing too. I guess that this guy is the manager - I'm sure it was the same bloke who was manning the stall at the back.

All in all - good gig but terrible sound.

Simon Roberts' Fall Odyssey:

Decided to catch a train from Birmingham to the Liverpool gig last night as I had it from 3 different sources that the last train from Liverpool to Birmingham left at 10 to midnight...

When I get to the venue, the University Student's Union, the place is crawling with security blokes. I explain carefully that I purchased my ticket in advance via telephone by switch card. And that I had been instructed that the ticket would be waiting at the venue to be given to me on presentation of said card. "So you'll be on the guest list, then?" replies the security guy, "can't see your name here." I carefully explain again and point out that I can't see any reason why I would be on the guest list. The guy then examines the guest list more carefully together with one of his colleagues, declaring "No, mate, you're names not down here..."

This goes on in circles for about 5 minutes. Then I'm marched up flight after flight of stairs and told to stand outside a small office. The building is a labyrinth of interconnected corridoors. The guy goes inside and I hear a conversation going on about the guest list "...so he's already paid...? Well put him on the guest list, then." So I'm marched back downstairs, put on the guest list and a ticket for Mark B and Blade on Oct 3 (!!??) is thrust into my hand. So I'm in.

It's a usual sort of audience. Old. All sorts of shapes and sizes. Threadbare. Lots of uncertain footwear, semi-hiking shoes with odd extrusions etc. Schindler do their stuff. Some nice riffs, some boring riffs, singer's looks reminiscent of a young Russ Abbott in denial. Vocals too Ameri-whine for my taste.

I visit the toilet and as I leave 'my' bouncer appears. Now I am on the guest list he has decided I am a personal friend of his, and he points out a pile of vomit just outside the toilet door. "Look at that! It's just not on, is it? I mean, 'e only had to go a couple of steps to get to the toilet and he couldn't even be bothered to do that! It's just... disgusting, innit?". He finally lets me go when I mumble "It's terrible... no need for it...".

Incidentally the cubicle I used was covered with forlorn student graffitti. A small hole through to the next cubicle was labelled "stick your dick in here for a suck off". Elsewhere was scribbled "If you love and care liverpool hates you". Also "I am black with a 8" prick and love to fuck and be fucked by younger white boys." Also "liverpool is a godless city".

Venue is perfect. A tiny theatre like a school hall. The band come on, a bunch of ordinary enough looking geezers. The hamstrung guitarist hops across the stage to his "rocking" chair. And they start playing The Joke. Which is OK, when the man himself appears. But despite having a massively oversized PA for the size of the room, the sound is tinny, not much bass in evidence. Having said that, the new drummer is excellent. Cyber Insekt, I think, follows, which is ultra-skiffle style. Other trax I remember are Roundabout, Antidote, Mr Pharmacist (...can't get excited about that one any more) and And Therein. The band on the whole seemed a lot flatter that the last version, not a lot of enthusiasm showing through. The were some interesting rockabilly guitar runs coming through, though, which sounded promising. The highlight was a completely DAT-less Dr Buck. It was obvious that the vocal performance was only really full-on during this particular track, which was ace. Selfish gripe : no The Caterer.

So I get back to Lime St Station after the gig fairly satisfied. Only to be told that there is no train scheduled to go back to Birmingham. Shit! A cleaner advises me to catch the last train to Manchester so that I can get the 1.22 to Birmingham from there. I wait for the Manchester train - it's cancelled. The robot voice announcer informs me : "BING BONG! I am *extremely* sorry for the cancellation of this service" before carrying on to warn about pickpockets operating in the area.

A bus is laid on to Manchester. It is being driven by what appears to be a 17 yr old kid in a tracksuit. Fortunately he allows me to bring my bicycle onboard. He stops to pick up anyone along the way whether they're rail travellers or not. We arrive at Manchester Picadilly at 1.30. No more trains to Birmingham till 7.49 Sunday morning. Shit.

I cycle around the gothic structures of the city centre looking for a 24 hr garage with the vague notion of getting hold of a map so that I can check if the distance home is too great to cycle. I decide I will attempt it if it is no more than 60 miles. Which I don't really believe. But I'm not sure what else to do.

Next problem : the streets are heaving with caned clubbers on their way home. Every 30 yrds some geezer in a sweat-soaked shirt leaps out in front, trying to 'confront' me, or some pissed up flapper collapses in the road and I have to swerve around her. Meanwhile emergency services are buzzin past all the time. At a busy intersection a clubbette carrying an armful of beer glasses falls on her face in the road, arse in the air, grinding her face in the smashed glass - her friend following close behind then falls on top of her, adding another armful of glasses to the chaos, also getting a faceful of shards while a taxi is beeping his horn at them to get out of the way.

So it is top priority to get the fuck out of the city centre. Every direction I go in seems to lead to Salford. So I decide to cycle that way until I find a garage for a map. I pass all the Salford high-rises (and at some point a sign for Cheetham Hill) and then the University. A little further past that the terrain is a little more genteel, and eventually I find a little park with a low fence around it where I go to sleep hidden together with my cycle under a clump of bushes.

I can't have been quite as well concealed as I thought, though, because I am woken at 6 0' clock by some bloke pissed out of his mind shouting at me "Don't you know who I am? Don't you know who I am?". I played possum till he had gone on his way grumbling "fookin' weirdos!". I'm pretty sure it wasn't Mark E Smith, didn't sound like his voice. Fortunately he didn't have the presence of mind to piss upon my prostrate form, whoever he was.

Daylight at last. Sat in the greasy cafe next to Piccadilly station I see a small squat guy outside with a horrific black eye touting for cash for a cup of tea. When someone gives him a quid he dodges inside and shouts "Oi! Have yer got a tenner for this?", counting out ten pound coins from his wallet which the fry chef then swaps for a note. So I get the 7.46.

2001 : A Fall Odyssey. Sheesh.

The Park, Peterborough, Oct. 15, 2001


The Joke / Cyber Insekt / Bourgeois Town / Crop-Dust / Antidotes / Way Round / Touch Sensitive / Mr Pharmacist / Folding Money / And Therein / Two Librans / Dr Buck's Letter / I Am Damo Suzuki

I'm sure that I've missed out a couple of tunes, also the running order is suspect. Anyone?

A really good show, which I enjoyed far more than the last couple of outings I'd caught (Junction Cambridge UK & Forum London UK 1999).

Nice small venue, pleasantly crowded, decent sound. The lads seemed a bit lost on a couple of numbers, with bemused glances being exchanged particularly during Mr Pharmacist & Two Librans. This didn't seem to dampen their or MES's apparent good mood though, and when they did 'get it together' (which they certainly did on most numbers) things seemed to really take off.

Damo Suzuki surfaced as the second encore - blistering after a nervous start. Smith left the lads to it after some amp-twiddling and a friendly wrestle with the bassist. The drummer, by now stripped to the waist & looking fit to drop, eventually underlined the end of the proceedings by kicking over his kit. I'm guessing any more encores & he'd have needed an ambulance - rather than this being a sad rock cliche!

Victoria Inn, Derby, Oct. 16, 2001


Fecking ace gig tonight. Band as tight as a gnat's arse, Mark in good spirits - no falling down!

Seriously though, the best Fall gig I've been to for a good few years. Played for about 50 mins then back on for another 3 songs. Venue then cut the power to the mics at 11:10 (bastards) even though the band wanted to come back on again. After a few minutes the band came on anyway, sans Smith, but halfway thru Paintwork all power was cut......spoilt the night really, esp. when the bouncers came in to clear the room with a big scary looking dog!

Sorry can't remember the set, a few too many pints.

nice t-shirts

signed CD

Go see this band!


i saw the band last tuesday night and thought they were back to their best....absolutely awesome gig....tight sound and new stuff excellent....mes on top form ..good atmosphere and a night i'll remember for a long time...here's to the next one...long live the mighty, mighty fall

Bierkeller, Bristol, Oct. 17, 2001

Niall O'Brien:

Pretty good. Venue one level, audience can wander right up to the stage, which isn't elevated much above auditorium. Set list not unlike Liverpool. I'd not heard the CD beforehand but recognised a couple of the new tracks. In no particular order:

The Joke / Cyber Insect / Bourgeois Town / Mr Pharmacist / Ey Bastardo / Antidotes / Crop Dust / *Unknown* blending into F-oldin Money / Hot Runes / Gotta See Jane / Roundabout (a stormer) / 2 Librans / Encores: Touch Sensitive / Africa Man / Dr Buck's Letter (instrumental)

The band is tight, drumming & bass particularly so. Jim reminds me of Adam - same sort of stance, bit more lively - in fact the band as a whole wouldn't have got away with this type of bopping 10 or more years ago (I recall Marc Riley once saying he got punched by MES for swopping stage positions with Craig Scanlan to get a better sound!). At one point MES stomped playfully on Pritchard's tapping foot - the guitarist was very efficient (I really liked Crop Dust), but I agree with the previous remark that his Hendrixisms are unnecessary - all pursed lips, pained pouts, smiles along the back line for a 'groovy bit' (!). Dr Buck's Letter was a posturing guitar-hero mess. The rest of the show was really enjoyable though. The other guitarist (Fanning? Blaney?) was more along the Craig dour-face, stationary stance, although even he lightened up at the end when MES made some funny comment. MES in upbeat form all night, but I could barely hear the words despite the usual random switching of mics. Aldershot tonight...

Nick Walters:

"We are the new Fall..." M.E.S. announces on the new album. Well, it was only a few years ago that the last "New Fall" was introduced, but that incarnation of the group at least had a link to the past in the form of Julia Nagle. This latest, newest Fall consists of entirely new members, apart from, obviously, M.E.S. I had my doubts, before the gig, on whether this band could really claim to be called The Fall. But after the gig, those doubts have been soundly and comprehensively trashed. They ARE The Fall - and, amazingly, even more The Fall than ever.

The Bierkeller is an old haunt of mine, home to the Kandi Klub, host of gigs by such varied acts as Carter USM, Flowered Up, Suede, Chas and Dave, Julian Cope, and in 1997, The Fall, twice. It's a low-ceilinged, sticky-floored, trestle-tabled place with wonky pool tables and shockingly foul toilets. Gigs there tend to be loud, as there's nowhere for the sound to go between the ceiling and the heads of the crowd.

We arrived at about 9-ish [we being myself, my girlfriend - who had never seen The Fall - and several members of the Bristol SF Group, including Simon, up from Cornwall, whose birthday it was]. The support band were already on, but no-one really paid them much attention. I went straight up to the merchandise stall and bought "Are You Are Missing Winner" without hesitation, relishing the chance to buy the new album actually at the gig. Beers were downed, and after the support left the stage the anticipation mounted. We moved nearer the front, and at about 9.45 some blokes came on the stage and started pummeling through an instrumental I recognised as "The Joke." They were good - tight, disciplined, LOUD - but I felt uneasy. Yes, they were playing a Fall song, but were they The Fall?

After about 5 minutes of this, a door opened at the back of the stage and M.E.S. emerged, "resplendent" in crumpled white shirt, black trousers [with comb visible in arse pocket - never used, judging by the state of his hair] and a lovely, bright red, 10p-sized spot [boil? Goitre? Nascent second head?] on the side of his neck. He uttered the words I'd been dying to hear - "Good evening we are The Fall." And from then on, the band became The Fall. Next, they ran through new song "Bourgeois Town" with its Fall-er than Fall riff, then an almost unrecognisable "Cyber Insekt" [without the chorus!] and then a couple of other songs from the new album. They turned the poppy highlights of "The Unutterable" - "Way Round" and "Hot Runes" - into savage masterpieces of repetition. With no keyboards, and two guitarists, the sound was brutal, punishing. This is how The Fall should be - all attack, no let-up! It struck me that during the Scanlon-Hanley heydays, the Fall live relied on intricate interplay, but this new band now relies more on sheer, muscular thwack. They sound like a new, young band - probably because they are. M.E.S. must take the credit for this - marshalling these lads along, training them until they ARE The Fall [or does he use some special serum?] but equally, the band must take credit. They were great - competent musicians [despite M.E.S.'s hatred of the term] with energy and dedication. They looked like they were working hard, but as the gig progressed they seemed to relax and smiles were seen - even on M.E.S's Davros-like countenance! Their version of "Mr Pharmacist" was close to the original but with added energy. "Two Librans" improved on the original and was the highlight for me - incredible to think this song was written by a different band, so natural did it sound. The final song, the punishing, climbing riff of "Afro Man" ended in a speeded-up jam which left me breathless. Two encores - the last of which ended in an M.E.S.-less "Dr. Buck's Letter".

And that was it. A storming show, the tightest Fall gig I'd seen in years. And, somehow, this IS The Fall. A new direction which is close to Heavy Metal at times, but powerful and thrilling nonetheless. How long this incarnation will last, no-one can possibly know, but rest assured that whilst it does we're in for some good Fall. And when M.E.S. breaks up the band and hires some new recruits - as, inevitably, he will - the Fall will take another dog-leg and surprise us once more. But that's for the future - for now, this new New Fall will more than suffice.

Princes Hall, Aldershot, Oct. 18, 2001

Niall O'Brien:

Another good concert.. horrible venue, not many there, large soulless auditorium with raised stage. Most of the people were still in the bar when they realised the band had come on at about 9:30. Ben had been out tuning up then walking around in the front of the stage, which was at this point completely deserted.

When the band came on, what audience was there crept furtively forward. At one point I realised there was only me & a chap and his spouse standing at the front... with a ruddy big gap between us and the rest of the audience. This was actually a bit unsettling! We were soon joined by a rather strange bearded fellow who insisted on fastidiously tidying up Mark's mic lead and even seemed to be hand-brushing the area in front of Mark's shoes (?!). The bouncers watched uncertainly. To each his own. Notwithstanding all this ambience, the band was great. Ben was much more restrained tonight -- indeed the other guitarist was up much higher in the sound. As on the previous night, the 2nd guitarist joined stage 3 songs in. Ben did allow himself a cheeky bemused smirk on the solo in Foldin' Money which, as at Bristol, was preceded by a song I didn't know. Crop Dust is a corker and Kick The Can, New Fall and Bourgeois Town also got a good airing. Also played: Roundabout, Mr Pharmacist (unfortunately I'd had a fair amount to drink tonight - Aldershot's that type of town). Mark excused himself and took the group off for a 20 seconds pep talk at the end of New Fall. In the encores, although this time around Dr Bucks Letter started off with an unknown singer (stage manager?), Mark replaced him and sang the song through. The evening closed with the band disappearing in sequence and just Ben and Spencer closing a storming 2 Librans. The Joke was another highlight, the band has this down to a tee now - much better than done raggedly before by other group incarnations. At Bristol, I was convinced I'd heard Mark sing 'Jarvis I hate you, Jarvis I hate you' during Cyber Insekt - during the same song tonight this went something along the lines of 'Jarvis, Jarvis, do I have a problem with you'. I assume he's not going on about the hotel chain...

Early in the evening a fan walked right up to Mark in the big expanse of emptiness at stage front and shouted some encouragement/request at him, to which Mark looked baffled. Funnily enough I stopped for a beer on my way back to the railway station and the same guy walked in - he was from Bognor Regis and he'd told me he'd invited Mark to get people dancing! Fair play! All in all, another good outing.


Rich Kidd:

Extracted from today's William Rees-Mogg column:

>Dear fall
>Following up the mystic subtext to Terry Waite Sez and Powderkeg I'd like
>to refer you to my amazement at listening to Two Librans on September 11.
>Could there be any significance? Maybe I should leave a few pointers:
>1 'Two librans' - obvious twin towers
>2 The references to international state terrorism - 'muggings dressed up
>as soldats - Nelson in Timor, Tolstoy[?] in Chechnya'
>3 'To Oprah Winfrey, she studied bees' - now on this one I was thinking,
>what the fuck, another MES curve ball but then I was watching the news and
>she had led a national commemoration event in the US in some baseball
>stadium. How the fuck is she qualified to lead the nation in mourning?
>4 'The miracle of Blonde September' - reference to Black September in the
>1972 when Palestinian militants took the Israeli Olympians hostage.
>There's probably more stuff in there but this is mere speculation for
>which I've been well slagged as in everything comes down to the Fall in my
>mind. Anyway don't tell the Daily Star.


Thanks to Penny Broadhurst, there's a jovial interview with Mark on the studybees web site:



Steve and Paul Hanley are playing bass and drums for former Inspiral Carpet Tom Hingley's band, the Lovers.


19 October 2001

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