Casbah, San Diego, CA
Echo, Los Angeles, CA
(doors 6:30 p.m.; advance tickets, $17+fees, available
San Francisco, CA ($21 adv., doors 8 p.m.)
Pan, Portland, OR ($13 adv., $15 door)
Avenue, Minneapolis, MN ($10 adv., $12 door, doors 6 p.m.)
Bottle, Chicago, IL ($18, doors 10 p.m.)
Bottle, Chicago, IL ($18, doors 10 p.m.)
Stick, Detroit, MI ($15 adv., $17 door, doors 9 p.m.)
Ballroom, Cleveland, OH ($15 adv., $17 door, doors 9 p.m.)
Palace, Toronto, ON
Campus, Montreal, QC
East, Cambridge, MA ($15, doors 8 p.m.)
Factory, New York, NY ($18 adv., $20 door, doors 8:30 p.m.)
Factory, New York, NY ($18 adv., $20 door, doors 8:30 p.m.)
of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Cat, Washington, DC ($15 adv., doors 8:30)
Cradle, Carrboro, NC ($13 adv., $15 door, doors 8:30 p.m.)
Lounge, Atlanta, GA ($15, doors 9 p.m.)
Parish at the House of Blues, New Orleans, LA ($12, doors 8 p.m.)
Night Club, Houston, TX (doors 8 p.m.)
Austin, TX ($11.75 adv., tix available
Tea Room, Dallas, TX ($12 adv., doors 8 p.m.)
do Porto, Porto, Portugal
Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal
US tour reports
(June 19 - July 1; see current Fall News issue for later
19 - The Casbah, San Diego:
> Where is the
In four words, the
Jet Lag Nationals.
> Did MES make
> Song list?
Some old stuff,
of which the biggest surprise was Telephone Thing. From memory (and
in no particular order), I Am Damo Suzuki, Mr. Pharmacist, F'oldin Money/Kick
the Can, Big New Prinz, Bourgeois Town, Dr. Bucks' Letter, White Lightnin'
and others. No The Joke, nor Touch Sensitive.
Five or six tracks
offa the new record (?), of which Sparta FC came off the bestest.
My pal said the
keyboard/sample chickie has the looks and couture of Su Tissue (commence
to googling). Pics to follow.
[And as he promised,
here are Cole's
photos - absolutely fantastic job, Cole! He also told me that the
tour manager is his friend Cuz'n Roy "Hesitation Kills" Gittens
(see Cole Coonce's book Infinity
Over Zero for more on Roy.]
MES & co. took
the stage while they played Pander, Panda, Panzer over the PA. Started
very strong with Behind the Counter, Telephone Thing, etc..... (what's
the tune with the chorus "And therein lies the difference, and
therein"?) [And Therein] - yeah, they played that one, and another
one regarding mountains and fishing (?!?) [Mountain Energei].
I agree with the
earlier reviewer, Sparta FC was the standout of the newer stuff.
Sounded tight. Nice
rehearsal for the rest of the tour. Only $15 with a couple hundred fans
on hand. (no sell out). For what it's worth.
Feeling cosy and
empty in that way that you do after a night of drinks and good rock
and roll. I just put Olli on the train back to LA... and now a few notes
about last night's show:
Indeed Olli is a
mountain of a man...very agreeable chap. We ate indian food and talked
about astro physics before the show with Rondi (my wife) and Sandra.
The band got stuck
in some horrible traffic leaving LA. Apparently the driver chose to
disregard Cole's advice to skirt the main highways and they paid a heavy
toll as a result...
Upon arrival of
Cole and company we immediately ordered drinks and toasted the night
Before the gig,
I had a chance to chat with Dave the drummer and the bass player whose
name i forget. Despite their road weariness they were witty and engaging...a
good portent of the evening to come. Mark was in the van sleeping...
About midnight a
tape of Mark reciting began to roll. This immediately invoked people
in the audience into their MES imitations. As a result of this ritual
I made the acquaintance of Jason from Phoenix who had traveled the 7
hours with his buddies for the show. They were in high spirits. Jason
has roots in Manchester and even resembles MES somewhat. His presence
at the show seemed another good omen.
After the tape finished,
the band ambled onto the stage and Mark followed without much dawdling.
The most striking addition to the band was the young woman on keyboards
who I was told is the new Mrs Smith. She struck me as very attractive
and utterly disinterested in the music. Her eye make-up was very cute
and she made an interesting focal point to the other band members. I
can't say much for her playing...Sandra claims to have heard a few notes,
but I swear she just rested her fingers on the keyboard and stared into
the crowd for most of the show...
Mark did zero walk-offs.
He occasionaly turned his back on the audience to read a lyric sheet.
I think we were all surprised to see him walk over to his wife(?) and
smile, perhaps even stealing a kiss, although it was hard to say. He
seemed happy and relaxed, focused and clear.
The band was tight.
A couple times Mark left them in a groove for what seemed like a long
time, staring down at his shoe or fiddling with the mike stand while
they pumped away furiously. Then just when you thought he'd hung them
out to twist directionless, the song came to a screeching yet coordinated
After the show,
Ben the guitarist chatted with us. He's extremely amiable and was eager
to know how the gig went down...Brilliantly was the consensus.
Song list to follow
when Olli can get to a computer.
Just arrived back
in rainy Pasadena, from a very memorable trip down to San Diego. Without
Intro: Tape from
Panda Panther Panzer (or whatever it's called...)
- Behind the Counter
- Telephone Thing
- And therein... (wonderfully drawn out end, best rendition I've heard
- Green-eyed loco man (great)
- Mountain Energie (seemed a bit dull to me)
- F-oldin' Money/Kick the Can (there may have been a part inbetween
those two, but I didn't recognise it; I don't care very much for the
current line-up's attempts to rockabilly)
- Sparta FC (a classic, definitively; featured vocals by Ben and Mrs
- Bourgeois Blues
- Locus (this how it appeared on the band's setlist; my intuition tells
me that it might be called "Last Commands of Xyralothep via MES", but
I'm not sure) [yes, that's right]
- Mr Pharmacist (I'm getting very tired of this one)
- Big New Prinz (I didn't like this very much -- in my view this is
the definitive Steven Hanley number, and having heard them play it in
the early 90s, this one was pretty lame)
- I am Damo Suzuki (huge!)
Encore: - White Lightning
- Dr Buck's Letter
Overall it was very
very enjoyable, with a couple of absolute highlights (Loco Man, Sparta,
Damo would be my pick), and a couple of lamer numbers. MES very focused,
professional and well behaved. Ben's playing a lot more disciplined
and reduced than the last time I saw them, two years ago. Nobody was
very sure what Mrs Smith actually contributed apart from visually, but
I think I heard her play a few notes (and she did sing or speak on Sparta).
The rhythm section acted ably but didn't make any specific impression
Very nice venue,
friendly crowd and no annoying bouncers. Support was Killmetomorrow,
a local trio, Guitar, bass and a singing stand-up drummer, somewhere
between New Wave and Sonic Youth, easily the most interesting Fall support
I've seen. A big shout going out to Perry, Rondi and Sandra, who were
extremely hospitable, great people. And there'll be more tonight.
Things didn't work
out the way I had been expecting, but I got to see them down there [S.D.]and
not up here [L.A.]. I strolled into the Casbah about 10:30 even to catch
the opener, and then drink, and then jump around like a fucking nut
during the Fall.
The group was Matt,
Ben, Steve? + one of Robert Palmer's video drones with the thousand-yard
stare + MES (as Robert Palmer)
They played - behind
the counter, telephone thing, and therein, loco man, bourgeois town,
mountain energei, foldin money, kick the can, pharmacist, sparta fc,
big new prinz, damo... few others I've lost. Encores: white lighning,
dr. buck, ?
Some nimble coot
grabbes the set list and a couple of us had an anorak moment looking
it over, but right now it's a bit indistinct. It said Ghost but I never
[Jim Watts says it's
a guy called "Dingo" on bass, not Steve Evets. Dingo worked
on PPP, apparently. Not sure who this Matt is - isn't Dave Milner playing
drums? Stuart suggests that Dingo might be Ritchie "Dingo" Glover,
borrowed/ nabbed from Ten
Turns out that Dingo
was never in (nor had even heard of) Ten Benson. He did work on PPP though.
Real name = Simon Archer, I think.
20 - The Echo, Los Angeles:
Many thanks to Eric
Werner for the setlist and Dave Ehrlich for
Forgive me, folks,
but even tho I've seen every single set in LA by the Fall since 1979,
I don't know the most recent albums (the last 4?) well, so some of the
songs I didn't know by name (marked as "?", below) may have been from
those. Then again, some songs seemed to be new. Anyway, here goes:
0. (intro, on tape:
1. Behind The Counter
2. Telephone Thing
5. F'oldin Money
6. Bourgeous Town
7. ? (heavy with the new Mrs Smith)
8. Mr Pharmacist 9. ?
10. I Am Damo (encore)
11. Big Prinz
Someone said Mrs
Smith seemed a bit like Su Tissue. Well, I can see that a tad, but not
exactly. I enjoyed the set, but I do wish Mr Smith would do stuff like
"Totally Wired", or "Pat Trip Dispenser", or "Ed's Babe", but I take
what I can get. It's so much fun just being in the room with the guy
and his latest co-horts.
I'm so glad they
procured Roy as road mgr. He's such a huge fan, and judging from Mr
Smith's pleasant attitude on stage, Mr Roy should be in good shape!!!
God bless ya', Roy.
Anyway, I'm off
to SF tomorrow! I won't be near a computer there, but I'll take note
of songs, just in case no one else does! Yeah, right...
Xyling (from the
This was my first
Fall gig. I've been listening to them since high school- about 12 years,
I suppose. My friend from Portland, a fan for a bit longer, came down
for the event. Hellish traffic from LAX to the gig all the way, even
on the streets. The Echo is apparantly "Guatemalen Music Center" or
something like that. Thank god there was a long line of folks out front
and I had an address. Thanks to someone for leaving a parking space
in front of the door- don't know what odd twist in my back luck brought
that fortune to me. "Doors Open at 6:30" means 8:00 or something. Lots
of folks in Buzzcocks and Wire shirts. Opening band is pretty decent,
good energy, then they closed with a bad song. "We weren't born when
The Fall started." I was only four and living in Oregon, so I wasn't
attending gigs or buying records. As they closed up shop, my party made
out way to center stage front with great ease where we stayed the whole
show, getting a very close view of Mark's thighs and f'oldin' facial
skin. Second band was awful, but young- keep it up kids. Pander Panzer
Panda as the intro music. Black was the dress code- I didn't think it
was a planned thing, but the San Diego pics indicate otherwise. Good
god the band was tight. I really didn't expect that. I was under the
impression that Fall gigs were pretty sloppy, but for most of the show
they were dead on. Geez, Telephone Thing for instance had a fantastic
groove that just kept getting bigger. The guitarist was chomping gum
like no tomorrow and dressed for the lounge. The wah wah riff was great,
but the drums and bass under it were massive. I never looked back to
see how people were moving but how could you not? The crowd shouted
for LA; pertitnent, but that one needs Brix vocals, I think.Mark really
seemed to be at ease, coherent and relaxed. I really couldn't hear anything
he said off song unfortunately. Lots of mike cord wringing and shuffling.
The setlist at the feet of the stoic keyboardist kept about 30 percent
of his attention. He also looked at the cuticles and his wrinkly hand
for quite a bit. Fall songs are all about riffs and repetition, generally,
and the oldies like Pseud Mag Ed and Big New Prinz are so solid they
could go for 20 minutes. I really missed hearing the keyboard parts,
maybe it was my location, but it was all but non-existent save for small
spaces in the song where things opened up. Mark's vocals as well weren't
really so loud from where I was except for moments where he grabbed
the guitarist's mike simultaneously (guitarist sang promitnently on
hip Priest). Funny moments- Mark tried to wander off stage on the left-
pulled the curtain back and it was just a wall with a bunch of old equipment
and lights. Mark went over and banged the drums a few times with his
hand. They brought out a huge ice bucket and had lots of cold and warm
beers open and ready for the band, but none of them really drank so
I couldn't ask for a better view. I'd worried they'd not be so good
live, but was very pleased! Would have paid $125 ATP tickets just for
that gig! I'd like to see photos!
Awright then: In
LA the Fall used a proper back line, rented that afternoon. The night
before, they borrowed gear from the opening act and literally had to
use a toy drum kit, with a tom that kept falling off of its Hasbro-like
In LA, the lads
and the missus could focus on their performance and not the (dys)functionality
of gear. The guitar and bass were deffo crunchier, drums were crisper;
no back to the audience lyrics crunching by Smif (he was in very good
form) and the Plan 9 from Outer Space micro-keys from the Ghost of Su
Tissue were a nice texture, not just one big distorted square wave as
in San Diego. (Not that distorted square waves are a bad thing.)
No clams from Ben;
Dingo was more confident and in the pocket, Dave was percolating and
The rhythm section
is definitely coming together. By the north and mid-west dates, these
two should be totally simpatico (last night was Dingo's fourth foray
as a member of the Mighty Fall.)
Some said last night
was raw. And brilliant. I would say "close." But it definitely stomped.
Missing in Action:
Elena's coffin nail as gig-ending existential denouement. The stuff
of very expensive "art" books, that.
1 -- Behind The
2 -- Telephone Thing
3 -- Green Eyed Loco Man
4 -- Mountain Energei
5 -- Foldlin' Money (sans Kick the Can medley/segue)
6 -- Bourgeois Town
7 -- Sparta FC
8 -- Mr. Pharmacist
9 -- Mere Pseud Mag
10 -- I Am Damo Suzuki
1 -- New Big Prinz
2 -- Dr. Buck's Letter
sound check, as mixer Whitney futzed with the bottom end and mid-range
of the bass guitar, Dingo played the "LA" bass line, solo. Ben was sitting
down and I leaned over to him and said, "You guys should play that tonight."
"Well, we would but I don't bleedin' know it."
Graeme (from the
Loads of FVs [?]
in the last couple of nights. My mate Andy (plus others I'm sure) in
SD and dozens in LA as so many people looked well under 30 (anther sign
I'm getting old) and the Fall haven't been in town for ages. We were
so spoiled when I lived in Europe. They canıt have been disappointed
because it just doesnıt get much better than this. Spoke to a really
pretty girl in the line who had been holding on through 2 years of various
let-downs and postponements. She was so excited, bless her even when
I warned her that we've had off nights in the past. What did you think
It was touch and
go in for a minute in San Diego at the beginning of And Therein, but
they pulled it off and ascended to a higher plane. If anyone has a tape
of Damo Suzuki in SD, 1) You should hang on to it and 2) can I have
a copy?! Andyıs minidisc player bombed out and I think it was the definitive
version of a song that has never really grabbed my attention before.
That one wasnıt as good in LA, but Telephone Thing and Big Prinz were
better, Mere Pseud Mag Ed was a ripper and Dr Buckıs, Sparta and Green
Eyed Loco Man were again just awesome. More keys overall in LA, solid
drumming and tidy guitar and bass both nights. Some glorious patches
of repetition which had us mesmerised, I hope to catch them again later
in the tour, and if they keep on the current upward curve we are all
in for a treat and any tapes or CDs need to be shared out amongst the
Jason in Phoenix
here. Well, I have finally seen the Fall and I must say that they exceeded
my expectations (I'd watch Mark E. Smith do a puppet show). Everyone
I met in both cities was very cool esp. Olli, Perri & Rondi. We
weren't sure which show was better. San Diego was way more intimate
but keyboards were virtually non-existant. LA was packed and the band
was more confident. I think I enjoyed San Diego more because it was
my absolute first time and because it was more intimate even if the
sound was off more. The Fall were exceptional! If any one has tapes
of either show I would love a copy! Also, Ben is super super cool. At
the San Diego show I told him I was trying to convince my friends to
take me to LA for that show as well. Ben asked if I had a ticket and
then put us all on the guest list. That way my friends couldn't say
The Fall doesn't
get to Los Angeles much: they've been denied entry into the States,
they've cancelled shows and leader Mark E. Smith has sacked the
entire band mid-tour (or just as likely, the band quit). And
let's face it, they've never been known as paragons of consistency.
Off nights may just be the price their
fans pay for the times the Fall has been brilliant; Los Angeles happens
to have been on the receiving end
of more than its share of the former. But at the Echo Friday night,
Los Angeles got to experience one of the
seminal British punk bands at its best. Originally
scheduled as part of All Tomorrow's Parties, the band had to scramble
when that festival postponed; this show was booked into the Echo at
the last minute. Perhaps the uncertain nature of the evening inspired
the band, for they delivered a powerful, hourlong set that left even
the dyspeptic Smith smiling.
The band's famously
prolific, releasing 76 albums and 32 singles (with almost as many different
over its 25-year career; Fall concerts tend to concentrate on current
material. But at the Echo, it mixed recent tunes such as "Dr. Buck
Letter" and "Sparta F.C." with classic 1980s songs including
"Mr. Pharmacist," "Mere Pseud Mag. Ed" and "I
Am Damo Suzuki." Performing with a rare precision, the band nailed
the song's spiky clangerous wayward funk, topped by Smith's cantankerous
and nearly unintelligible Mancunian sneer.
silver anniversary, the Fall sounds more alive and contemporary than
the punk vaudeville of its contemporaries, i.e., the Sex Pistols or
the Buzzcocks. In fact they're more alive and contemporary than most
bands half their age.
An all-round good
show, excellent sound (even Elena E. Smith could be heard), solid playing
and high Fallnet turnout. Shorter than the San Diego gig due to subsequent
surreal Electroclash (or whatever) happening. Dissenting voices criticized
Dr Buck for being too heavy metal. They may be right, you know, but
at that point I'd already lost any remaining ability for criticality.
from the LA
There are compelling
front men, and then there's Mark E. Smith. Heavy-lidded and unsmiling,
switching between two microphones to no audible purpose, the Manc crank
commands attention by withholding it, barely acknowledging his own band's
existence, much less the audience's. This is a man whose idea of "getting
into it" involves scratching his ear throughout a lengthy instrumental
break. Still, by Smith standards, tonight's performance was positively
genial. He stalked offstage midsong only once, and later approached
the lip of the stage, croaking and gesturing at the crowd for a solid
In his way, Smith
is as autocratic a leader as James Brown, with whatever collection of
individuals he's currently calling the Fall as his Famous Flames. Barely
hearable keyboardist/spouse Eleanor Smith's impact was primarily visual
-- she's a delicate-featured gothette, seemingly half Smith's age. But
the core trio (guitarist Ben Pritchard, drummer Dave Milner and a recently
recruited bassist who answers to "Dingo") simply worked, disappearing
into monolithic rockabilly ("Foldin' Money") and funk ("Telephone
Thing") riffs with effortless drive, despite jet lag and rented
In this stripped-down
setting, material from the about-to-be-released Country on the Click
bordered on the comprehensible, with "Sparta F.C.," a variant
on T. Rex's "Bang a Gong," the obvious standout. But the most
satisfying moments -- the reliable garage cover "Mr. Pharmacist,"
a spacious, set-ending "I Am Damo Suzuki" -- were recognizable
even to non-obsessives. Smith even appeared to be enjoying himself during
the encore, clapping along with "Dr. Buck's Letter" before
tucking into a bilious checklist of modern necessities:
"Amex card - they made such a fuss about giving it to me, but I
spend more time getting it turned down."
21 - Slim's, San Francisco:
kindly sent in a Quicktime clip
of Telephone Thing.
Here's a review
from me, first time seeing them and I wasn't disappointed -
'Panda! Pander! Panzer!' plays as intro, band comes out first of course
and go into-
Behind The Counter (Mark comes out, "Good evening we are the Fall!")
F-Oldin' Money (no Kick The Can) (suffered from being too tight, mostly
the drummers fault, album version is loose and easy and this was stiff,
worst number of the night, although Mark's performance was pretty inspired)
Then straight into -
Mr. Pharmacist (Very good version, better than on record I think)
Theme From Sparta F.C. (Amazing)
I Am Damo Suzuki
Mere Psued Mag. Ed.
Big New Prinz (as song ends, Mark throws his microphone into the bass
drum and walks offstage).
Dr. Buck's Letter (Mark comes back out speaking into a disconnected
telephone, pretty funny. Steals the guitarists mic.)
I might have mixed
up the order of the main set a little, I'm solid on the opening and
closing numbers and the encores, though. The band is very tight and
very rock 'n' roll, minimal keyboards. Guitarist broke a string on Sparta.
Overall it was an excellent excellent gig, aside from a couple numbers.
One complaint, pretty short show, little over an hour, why?
Fun. Went with my
lovely wife Karin. We caught up with EliotVB, his gf Consuela, and their
actress/model friend Yooshclanbabbla-susie. MES in great spirits, even
put his arm around Ben and rubbed his back a little at one point, like
a good friend (har har har).
vocals, lots of words. Band was the most clear and crisp, even clean,
sounding Fall I've ever heard. Not at all the noise of previous lineups/decades
- this may have to do with the fairly simple backline setup. I like
the look and feel of this group and hope he sticks with them for awhile.
Overall I'd say it exceeded my expectations.
Set from what I
BTC - a little slow-paced.
Band should check out the live versions c. `95, `96
Telephone Thing - cool. Came together well, with the band making it
their own while still keeping its feel.
Green Eyed - this one will be forgotten in a year
Booszchwa town - excellent
new - Mountain Energei?
Sparta FC - a keeper
Damo - always good, particularly so tonight
Mere pseud - amazingly good rendition. Better than when they brought
it back in the mid 90's (see In the City)
Big New Prinz
Dr. Bucks - excellent
Nice to see MES
make a very big effort. Glad to not hear And Therein.
the message board):
After keeping us
waiting a bit, the show kicked off w/ a tape of Pander, Panda, Panzer.
The lights dimmed & happy Fall guitarist Ben skipped out looking
dapper per usual; the drummer swiftly disappeared into his drumset never
to reemerge; the bassist took up his ugly bass & positioned himself
in a gawky 3rd basemans stretch, seeming oblivious to everything; Poulou
stood mannequin-like behind her mini-casio ridiculously placed atop
a barstool & looked stunning, somewhat mod, & very uncomfortable.
As for MES, I wouldn’t fault his performance one bit. Excellent!
Demeanor-wise, he seemed really stoned at times – at one point
tripping pretty hard over his ring. He stalked around half-lidded, disdainful,
seeming vigorous in general. The bassist was his principal target throughout
the evening. Along w/ the customary twiddling w/ the amp, MES turned
it off altogether once & tried to turn it off several times but
was unable to figure out how. Other antics included grabbing at his
bass strings, putting his mic into the bass strings, & the most
difficult maneuver: walking backwards, w/ hand behind back, into the
bassplayers strings. He gets extra points for that one.
Vocally, MES was
fully animated & articulate the great majority of the show, while
the band kept a swift galloping pace behind him. I was really impressed
w/ the consistency of the rhythm section. Ben reigned himself in nicely
& had a good concentrated sound. Poulou was rarely heard.
You know the setlist.
I’d say that everything was top form w/ the exception of F-oldin’
Money. I think the problem w/ that number was that MES had just walked
up to the poor bass players amp & fucktup all the settings, so there
was a weird clipping that was throwing people off… If I had to
have a criticism, its that the band could become too paint-by-numbers
at times. But that’s probably better than the alternative.
It gets my 4 outta
Fall show was a night i won't soon forget, for a number of reasons.
first, mark was on form, even when crouching down in the back corner
reading from lyrics sheets. he started a number of songs early, letting
the band join in--which they did with marksmen-like precision (so to
speak). later, two random incidents of surreal
violence would wrench the night in weirder directions. here's how it
went down from here i was standing:
My first time, and i thought they were fine - reminded me of Can here
and there. I think my favorite was the one with the electronic beats,
that built for a while. I was slightly distracted by the all-important
process of assuring a sufficient degree of intoxication before the Fall
got started, because i knew i wouldn't be making it back to the bar
They made us wait for quite awhile between bands, enabling me to get
a leg up on the competition with a couple well-timed jack and cokes
to the jaw.
before the band took the stage, they played a recording of mark and
presumably the missus, who rocked a tiny casio later on in the show.
it's nice to have a woman back in the Fall again, they always seem cooler
that way. mark made quite a show of the big black ring on his finger,
fidgeting with and generally calling attention to it. sorta stunning,
so i understand his glee.
Behind the Counter
a bit lackluster actually, due to the tempo being just a bit slow for
my taste. but i was so excited to see the band that maybe it just seemed
slow relative to my state.
Excellent - a real crowd-pleaser, and funky as it's possible for the
Fall to be (see Dr. Buck's Letter as well). excellent work on guitar
- tight as all get-out.
one of the new ones i heard on the band's recent three hundred and forty
second peel session. it sounded just like the peel session, which is
a good thing.
Green Eyed Loco
is it about weed? nobody knows, or remembers anyway. the rising guitar
chord progression during the chorus really does it for me - even better
A suddenly relaxed mood - even the people in the crowd who were more
acquainted with other eras of the band's back catalog could get into
it, because it sounds instantly familiar. reminded me of seeing rockabilly
as done by aliens.
this was awesome, and mark seemed to snarl a little bit more, despite
the lack of marina-dwellers in the crowd. still, a point well taken
from a Salfordian.
Two new songs
I'd never heard either of these before - a fellow Fall fan identified
one as, perhaps, Mountain Energei. Mark was reading the lyrics, but
the experiment paid off.
This one had the crowd in a frenzy, and almost immediately, this guy
came charging up moshing everyone around. My girlfriend's head hit the
head of the girl in front of her, who turned around and realized that
it was the guy behind her who'd caused the problem. she has a few hard
words with him, and starts pushing him away as he
grabs her the throat and face. this all happened very quickly, and it
was hard to see. the next thing i noticed was that she appeared to be
kicking the shit out of him. she walked away with her boyfriend, and
security showed up. my girlfriend identified the now-sheepish offender,
and they escorted him outside, hopefully to administer a thorough stomping.
inside, the moshing
continued, and i was forced to deliver a sharp elbow to this other guy's
stomach to calm him down a little - luckily, no further hostility. It
was strange, but still only a precursor of the violence to come.
F*ckin ROCK. the shouty backup vocals added nice energy to this one.
this sounds like a band, i thought, as opposed to a frontman and his
hired guns. the Fall.
I am Damo Suzuki
this was good, but should have been so much better! What was the sound
guy thinking, not miking the Tom louder - the snare/tom beat is the
entire basis of the song! anyway... stopped it from being the corker
it was trying to be.
Mere Pseud Mag Ed.
An old, dissonant number that blew everyone away. Some people left at
this point, having been overcome by The Fear. Fast, loud, and ugly to
the point of pure beauty.
Big New Prinz
Perfect. But i couldn't resist the urge to shout out "APPRECIATED"
after the "he, is, NOT..."
Deeply funky, with a Tricky-like, claustrophobic sampler riff. Didn't
see who triggered it. I'd been yelling out for this before the encores,
since it's what they finished their ATP set with. EXCELLENT, as before.
After the show, I went across the street to call a friend, but before
I got to say Hello, I saw two people on a scooter get creamed sideways
by a gypsy cab, on the corner of 11th and Folsom. They'd been going
straight through a green light--he tried to take a left East onto Folsom,
and must not have seen them coming, because he hit them dead-on with
no attempt to avoid them. the guy in front flew somewhere ahead, maybe
even onto the sidewalk, and the girl did a sorta ninja-like backflip/roll,
and landed standing up after a few revolutions on the ground.
It took the cops
about 10 minutes to show, and the ambulance about 20. the people who'd
been hit seemed fine, although the guy was limping a bit. the idiot
cab driver never got out of the cab to say anything to anyone. their
lambretta remained crushed underneath the front of the cab - done for
sure, but at least their legs weren't pinned under it.
who kindly sent in these photos
Best show I've ever
seen.......I hope that Dingo stays on for a long time, he's quite good.
....but I doubt he can take much more of this gratuitous on-stage hazing!
Ben is a charming guy after gigs, happy to meet people and shake hands,
same as in '01.
I had a talk with
CUZ'N ROY afterwards. He is genuinly excited about doin this tour. He
was shocked that I knew who he was and that I had the "Infinity
Over Zero" book. We talked bout racing and I gave him directions
to get outa town via the east bay to avoid the gridlock trafic in the
north bay due to the big Winston Cup race on Sunday (great). Then he
signed my book in giant MES-like scrawl "In Nor' Caroliner Back
In The Hills -- Nah I'm a Millbilly!!, signed Cuz'n Roy"(Don't
ask me what a millbilly is*). When Elanor looked down at me 'n saw the
extatic grin on me face she busted out a great big smile, then got right
back to android ice princess.
I think I lost my
voice from screamin all the words to the extended Big New Prinz at Marks
face, and even after he walked off some of us kept singin another chorus
or two wit Mr. Pritchard. I was hangin around by the bar talkin to a
crazed man waitin to meet Mark when I was informed that I had to join
the masses of Fallheads and ravers in the streets gawking at a twisted
scooter buried under a cab
Oh, and I got hit
hard in the neck with a mostly full beer glass by the boneheads behind
me when fights broke out during Mr. Pharmacist.......people were actually
tryin to slam dance and hit poeple!
* Other John:
Takes a Cairliner boy (transplanted or natural) to tell you what a Millbilly
is. Upstate South Cackalacky and Middle / Western North Cairliner is textile
mill country. mill workers in South Cackalacky were sometimes derogatorily
referred to as lintheads, so you prolly don't wanna call Cuz'n Roy that.
but millbilly might be okay, if'n it's okay with him.
Dinner with Kent
& Rebecca Cates pre-show at the Golden Era in the scenic Tenderloin
district. Ask for the "Mongolian Chicken". Biked to the show
at Slim's, a good smallish club for sound, sightlines--although the
club always has an "industry showcase" feeling to me, with
insider-types doing deals in backstage coke rooms. My girlfriend, Suzane,
says I "cut her off all the time" as we ride, but I think
she needs bicycle-in-the-city lessons.
We arrived mid-way
through locals Zmrzlina's set (whose keyboardist, Mark, is an aquaintance).
Though he isn't the Mark I paid to see, Zmrzlina was excellent, and
that's two visits in a row with good warm up bands (Erase Eratta in
2001). The club is surprisingly unpacked and it's kind of a relief.
No line at the bar. For a couple of numbers, Zmrzlina was lit in a bombastic,
overly-dramatic style, with throbbing red and blue strobelights like
a prog collision scene.
lights darkened down to a dim red. Musicians took the stage, all four
unrecognisable--yet, instantly, I could hear the familiar subdued mysterious
sound. A minute or two into the first song (?), through the curtains
came Mark with his detached relaxed manner...never looked better (especially
with the lights down!). They did "Telephone Thing" and I was
surprised it came off so strongly accompanied with a sort of "Shaft"
wacka wacka guitar. Another new one (chorus is like "I hate the
countryside"?) had that wonderfully velvets-like ending groove
with beautiful meandering organ. "Green-Eyed Loco Man" I loved
and was singing chorus to Suzane who said I was one. "F'oldin Money",
crowd around me didn't seem to know the song or want to join in the
clap-along part but I was close to slapping everyone until they got
it. I think it was at this point that I saw Mark lean over to speak
into the guitar player's ear while patting his back gently, and I thought,
"gee, now what a sweetheart". Just before "Foldin",
Mark had walked over and turned up volume knob on the guitar amp, as
I pointed out to Kent. Just as casually, the guitarist turned it down,
and I pointed that out, too.
Anyway, they went
directly from "Foldin' Money" into "Bourgeous Town",
which I thought was perfect for post boom San Francisco; coulda-been
internet millionares now reduced to delivering gourmet pizzas and worrying
about getting held up. Overheard friends talking about ATP and how everyone
wouldn't pay one hundred and fifty dollars to see bands everyone has
seen one hundred and fifty times. Stu said, "It was the Magic Band
this year." Oh, well... some bands are coming through town that
maybe wouldn't have. "It's all good". (I hate that statement)
"Mr. Pharmacist" was good as ever and lots sang along. When
it sped up it sounded like echos of "Container Drivers", I
never heard that before. "Two Librans" more rockin' than original
with guitar, drums and keyboards joining background vocals. I think
it was at this point, for the first time it dawned on me that all the
songs they were doing were great songs-- old and new. "I Am Damo
Suzuki" with spazo-spoken singing, had a really compelling repeating
groove to end the set--with the crowd totally and completely into it
(Rebecca said to mention this).
During the short
recess, Suzane and I moved to stage front. We were soon rewarded with
"Mere Pseud. Mag.Editor". I listened to "Hex Enduction
Hour" constantly in 1983, but couldn't place the song, for the
life of me. "Twenny years it's been, sonny--cain't remember so
much." I tapped the shoulder of a young enthusiast next to me,
and he said something that sounded like "Marischiou Matinee"
which is what I wrote down; thinking maybe he was French. I asked him
again later and he was just sort of all-attitude.
"New Big Prinz",
with a yet again groove-out long ending and everyone along singing,
"he is NOT appreciated." I for one really appreciated that
we were treated to some songs we'd never heard live probably. A radically
different and great version of "Dr. Buck's Letter" brought
a wonderfull end to the show. After tonight, I must extend my respect,
more than ever, to M.E.S. & the Fall. This show was a high point,
personally. Whenever I read a bad review, I understand that it's a disapointment
to see and hear them on a bad night--but you limeys are spoiled. I'll
take continuously the worst Fall line-up on many a bad night just to
once have a show like this. Suzane and I rode back through the deserted
streets singing "Bourgeois town, spread the news around..."
23 - Berbati's Pan, Portland:
- mrs. MES was relegated
to the back right corner of the stage sans any lighting (stage limitations
or relationship problems?)
- to concur with
others and their reviews of past shows... sparta FC motherfucking rocked.
by far the highlight of the show.
- i was expecting
a large older male audience. was pleasantly surprised at the large number
of females in attendance.
- set list appeared
to be the same except for white lightning during the encore.
cheers MES et al.
this FF is on cloud nine.
"The tree stops
the rain that comes down the mountain"
The Fall - Portland, Oregon Monday June 23 2003
Band was tight and rocked. MES in good form and poetic. Unlike what
I hear from the LA gigs, you could hear the keyboards and they helped
a lot. People were dancing and a few moshed a little. Mark gave the
comp. beers that were on stage to a couple of boys in front. Set list
the same as other shows it seems. Damo was special. I don't know what
it was but the lyrics really came out front in parts. Mark fiddled the
nobs so the bass sounded all tinny for it. Good vibe and some crazy
dancing as the band went between down tempo and up tempo - Mere Psued
Mag Ed was cool. There seemed to be a more sexy subdued energy (more
lyrical) this time compared to the last tour when I saw The Fall in
After the show the band came out minus MES. I asked if they thought
Mark would sign my Man Whose Head Expanded single sleave. The drummer
took it into the green room. While he was gone I chatted with the Bass
(dingo?) player. I asked if he was from Manchester, he said he was born
and raised. I said welcome to Portland, he said cheers. How long in
the fall? He counted Portland his sixth show. How did he like it? He
liked it with a hint of a smile. But he added "he" meaning
mark, keaps them on their toes. I told him it sounded great. I told
him I like the show and how great they were. I told him Portland was
where Louie Louie was recorded and that I wanted to try to get them
to play it but I forgot. He said "Naaaa, we wouldn't have done
it." The drummer (name?) came back with the sleave and said. "It's
in red ink so be careful with it." The words "All the best!
Mark E. Smith 2003" were still drying on it.
My girlfriend and I decided to try an wait to meet Mark but changed
our minds, not wanting to be pushy. Then almost out of downtown changed
them again and got back to the bar just in time to see Mark leave the
dressing room. For a moment I thought I would meet his wife (Helena?)
when she walked right over to where I was standing and between me and
the bass player put down her bag, only to have mark call her away to
get in a cab! "Helena...Helena!" Another fan was telling mark
how great he was that night as he was out the door. I went up and said
thanks and as he turned out the door to his cab I got out the words
I want to thank
the band and Mark for going out and playing this tour and for loving
what they do. God bless you Mark E. Smith!
24 - Graceland, Seattle:
From The Stranger
- Seattle weekly music/arts newspaper/magazine (thanks to Jack
for sending it in):
THE FALL, KRMTX
Despite visa problems, fistfights, bass-player dismissals, international
incidents, and the fact that any currently hyped-up group, good or otherwise,
ought to pay them their first round of royalties, the Fall continue
to exist as a creatively unbloodied, unbowed force. The newest record,
Country on the Click, will be their third since 2000, and you can't
walk five feet without Sanctuary reissuing some sort of essential collection
or a limited-edition repressing of their 17th album plus live cuts taped
in the Congo, or so it seems. You can even go rent 24 Hour Party People
at Blockbuster and see Mark E. Smith in the privacy of your own home.
What this means is that Fall penetration is in full force (as it was,
as it will always be), and anyone worth his or her weight in bitter
cynicism and/or white belts better be there, front and center. JON PRUETT
Many thanks to Hellschreiber
for the setlist (posted on the message board), and to Ron
for the ticket:
(from the message board):
Sorry if this isn't
the proper format but I've just come back from the gig and I'm fairly
well loaded. From the other reviews on visi.com, it sounds like this
one was par for the course. Thus I will only give my drunken impressions
of what I think is probably an archetypal Fall set for this tour. First
and foremost, Mr. Pharmacist and I Am Damo Suzuki must be retired soon
and for a few years at least. Yes I like to listen to either of them
from time to time but I heard them the last tour - the only previous
time for me - and they sounded at least as good then, which is to say
"okay". They are not the most exciting Fall singles around,
even if Mr. Pharamacist broke the top 40 in England and some of the
kids like to bop around to them like human Fraggles. I've been paging
through the old albums and today I hit the latter half of Palace of
Swords Reversed. My God, how I wished they'd have played something from
Slates or else something like Wings. The new songs which screamed "Repetition,
repetition, repetition" were generally dull. The exception being
the closer, whatever it is called. That felt like an 8 minute song (to
my pickled brain) but it could have turned in another 5 minutes without
becoming taxing on the ears. The new uptempo rockers were quite good,
as was "Big Prinz" (or whatever it was from Kurious Orange
- forgive me, I drink the pain away). The rockabilly numbers felt okay
but not fully into the swing of things. I guess, perhaps, it was from
having them be another repeat from the last Fall appearance here in
Seattle. I do like the songs, though. I guess I would have preferred
hearing "I'm a Mummy" which is close enough to rockabilly
(60s surf; whatever) and yet hilarious in a way F'oldin will never be.
The other reviews are correct in that the new (or supposed?) Mrs. M.E.S.
is nothing but window dressing. The lighting was so dim that I don't
think she even qualified as that. I really tried to listen for keyboard
but it just wasn't there.
A few more piddly
things I noticed: The opening band wasn't good but it was annoying in
a way I could respect. Really the only thing I truly disliked about
them were the effects used on the vocals. They closed their set doing
a Can cover. I'm not sure which song but it must have been from Ege
Bamyasi as that's the only Can album I own. Perhaps I'm completely off
- we'll all soon see the correct set. Another note is that the Graceland
is a much better venue than the Crocodile, if for no reason other than
much less meddlesome support beams. The audience seemed a little more
aged this time around; plenty of young people but a lot more meaty and
older guys around. A little peculiar to me, trying to figure out who
was there because they liked The Fall and who was there because they
read that they should be there. More interesting were the number of
attractive women who attended the show by themselves. Even though I
don't think the event lived up to the full potential of M.E.S. and the
Fall (why didn't he marry the girl from Light User Syndrome?) it was
still of course a great experience and makes me think all the more about
moving to the U.K. for a few years.
Did I mention that
MES did Hip Priest? Gotta be one of my favorites. Felt like I was back
in 84. Something about those rambly, repetitive missives.
Graceland aint that
big and it wasn't sold out but a respectable crowd ready for the band.
I'm not good w/set
lists but very similar to the LA one w/HP addition.
Got close up front
for Damo Suzuki and Dr. Bucks -- Mark singing his heart out -- or at
least looking like he's the hardest working man in show business. Maybe
he should try PowerBars.
Ben expanding more
on guitar-sure of himself and a little noisier than 2 yrs ago.
Keyboards were low
in the mix but nice seeing a female on stage w/MES.
About 75 minutes
including one encore. Crowd very appreciative.
Never did meet Terence.
Stop here unless
you want to read my tirade about Hip Priest
OK, now that we're
alone here's what I think:
John Coltrane re-worked
My Favorite Things hundreds (thousands?) of times and each one sounds
uniquely different. I feel the same way about some of MES's rambling
songs. Hearing the fresh nuances he threw into the mix of Hip Priest
was much appreciated. Trying new lines/sounds/inflections keeps the
old songs new. I own 4 or 5 versions of "Smile" and, while
they are the same song, each one stands on its own as a unique moment.
I LIKE this old with the new. It fits Mark and it fits this band.
Jack realized later
that they didn't play Hip Priest after all, but Big New Prinz...
I saw the fall last
night, and heres what I think:
set list was the
same as LA, but with the addition of And There In towards the beginning.
whats the point
of bringing over Elena Smith if she is going to play a toy keyboard
you cant even hear??
I saw Smith playing
with Ben's knobs.
Couldnt get a good
look at Smith, it was too dark, couldnt see how worn out he looked,
but he did put on a good show.
I am always amazed
that there are so many Fall fans, people have always been very excited
whenever I've seen the Fall. I think this means they need to make the
trip over here more often.
I was prepared to
be disappointed, with the new band, but it was a great show.
during Dr. Buck's
Letter some guy came out and played a washboard along with the song.
Who the hell was this guy? [Cuz'n Roy - tour manager]. I could only
see his back. He kept stomping on the stage too.
I didnt see Jack
Well, I made it
to the show. It was at the Graceland which is a little dive that used
to be known as The RCKNDY (Rock Candy) for several years*. It's painted
entirely in black on the inside with hand bills plastered everywhere
including in the head. I went with my punker nephew, Aric who plays
in a band himself. He talked his bandmates into coming,...easy enough,
after all, they know "Uncle Ron" has good taste in music.
We got there early, and scored one of the padded booths that sits up
high on the back wall,...HA, the back wall is maybe all of forty feet
from the stage - best seats in the joint! We were almost immediately
joined by a raven haired Goth beauty named Mary who as it turned out
is a traveling groupie. She had followed The Fall up the coast in her
old beater van, and bragged that she had finally made it back stage
by the Portland show,...Yikes! Mark E beware!
After a fairly forgettable warm-up act, and three beers consumed by
yours truly, The Fall finally took the stage around 11 PM. Mark E looks
good!,...of course it was dark :>) He also looked just as most pix
I've seen of him; light weight black leather coat, maroon long sleeve
broadcloth shirt and gray slacks. With his left hand stuck cowboy style
in his pocket he grabbed the mike, announced his usual, "Good evening,
we ARE The Fall"!, and the band lurched into a groove rocker that
I did not recognize. Smith let the band play for awhile while he wandered
around the stage twirling knobs on amps and checking wires. He them
squatted on the floor with his back the audience, and proceeded to read
the lyrics from notebook paper with a little lamp - HA, classic! He
did this for about three maybe four tunes - usually long ones.
I recognized a little over half of the songs although some I would be
hard pressed, without looking through my albums, to name for you. The
highlights for me were superb renditions of Bourgeois Town, a new longish
tune I've not heard before, and to my great delight, Mere Pseud Mag
Editor,...ohhh, yeah that-was-HOT! They also did F olding Money, Big
New Priest, Mr Pharmacist to name three. They came back out for a two
tune encore of songs unknown to me. By the last tunes they had that
tired old building smiling and dancing,...the wall sound applied pressure
to my chest - it was visceral to the extreme The new tunes, or at least
those that I did not recognize, were universally tasty.
My newphew broke
his glasses pogoing in the mosh pit, but didn't care,..he (and his bandmates)
had a great big grin on his face. We left and I was unable to hear anything
Aric said to me on the drive home - my ears were toast!
wrote in: "Actually, Graceland was known as "The Off Ramp".
RCKNDY (Rock Candy) was nearby, but was torn down for a Marriott or a
Residence Inn or some equally stupid hotel.
(from the message board):
So I too witnessed
the mighty Fall show in Seattle and after seeing all of their Northwest
dates on the last tour and catching them at All Tomorrows Parties this
was their best showing. Some notes:
The club (Graceland)
was at about half capacity, which was nice since they usually over sell
the place. The band formally known as The Chromatics (now simply KRMTX)
opened with a so-so set. Once again a mediocre opening slot for the
Fall. Before taking stage the house played segments of 'Pander Panda
Panzer'. Ben Pritchard has really improved since I last saw / heard
him. He played through a great sounding Fender set up and hit the back
up vocals wonderfully. Dingo played suprisingly well being that he's
only played a handfull of shows. Elena was heard from her spot in the
far back corner only a few times ('Green Eyed'-vocals, Janet vs. Johnny-keys,
'Dr Buck's'-keys). Was surprised to hear them play 'Janet vs. Johnny',
which sounded great as well. 'F'oldin' Money' was a tad sloppy and 'Locus'
left the crowd unimpressed. 'Sparta' was the rocker of the evening,
'Damo' sounded incredible, and I never thought I would see a sing along
to 'Big Prinz' but there it was. No walk-offs, one or two lyric checks,
some minor "tinkering of instruments" by Mr. Smith and an
extended encore of 'Dr. Bucks Letter'. I'll be sending a scan of the
gig flyer along in the next day or two.
27 - First Avenue, Minneapolis:
From the Twin
Legends of the Fall
Mark E. Smith: Misogynist? Alcoholic? Anti-hero of an indie rock era?
by Chris Zielger
Rock 'n' roll may
never die, but volatile Fall singer Mark E. Smith will still bury all
the rockers. When Iggy Pop drops in 2004--an onstage embolism during
an ill-advised "We Will Fall" that sluices torso-vein blood
over the first six rows--Smith will be healthy, if drunken beyond consonants,
on a tour through the deep South. When Lou Reed kicks in 2006--alcohol
poisoning after a despondent set at the Orange County Fair in California--Smith
will cover the Sonics' "Strychnine" for an audience too illiterate
to get the wink. When Morrissey is felled by a jealous sniper (later
ID'd by the feds as a guitarist for a tribute band) at a 2008 Smiths
convention in Yuma, Arizona, the gunman will float down the Colorado
River to Mexico while, somewhere far away, Smith stutters through a
knowing "New Face In Hell" (an unsubtle but appropriate title--they've
written a lot of songs like that).
And when Smith himself
hiccups for the last time--late in the 21st century when technology
has figured out how to implant the Fall's entire discography directly
into your brain (by 2084, they'll have special clinics for when the
process goes awry; instead of methadone, they'll detox you with Pavement
LPs)--devotees will haul his sarcophagus into a crypt built over Manchester's
old Salford Docks, where our young prole-art threat famously started
his band. They'll round up everyone who's ever stepped onstage under
the name of the Fall--by then, a veritable orchestra of geriatric post-punk
never-rans--and they'll seal them up alive, like Pharaoh with his attendants,
to cater forever to the afterlife whims of Mark E. Smith (officially
voted the greatest Mancunian of all time) who will never be sufficiently
feared and revered until he is safely too dead to talk back.
did a thing for me," Greil Marcus said of the Fall last year. As
justification for a roaring vacuum in his punk-crit (check your indexes,
kids; they always go from "Fairytale in the Supermarket" to
Faude, Jeffrey), that barely makes it to a whimper, but he's still right.
The Fall never did a thing for a lot of people, from the many record
labels they left stranded to the many, many band members Smith uprooted
and replaced to the many, many, many hopeful fans who slunk out of shows
with their good taste hanging limp between their legs. ("Mark E.
Smith is a wreck, and not in a cool way," reports Los Angeles dragabout
Tippy Spangler. "I left halfway through their set--I got in for
free and part of me still felt cheated out of something.")
Their newest album--number
thirty-something--keeps creeping away from release; they're touring
now on the practically unimpeachable Rough Trade singles comp, Totally
Wired (Sanctuary), and another singles comp It's the New Thing! The
Step Forward Years, which is to say they're touring on Mark E. Smith
as he was 25 years ago, with a no-original-members band that's mathematically
less legitimate than the reformed Doors, Stooges, and Sex Pistols put
together. If you have the guts to pay to see them, you're in for a freak
show, a grave-robbing, a scared-straight program, or even a boxing match.
Smith's been upgraded from curmudgeon to fucking asshole: In 1998, he
was arrested for assault after allegedly hitting then-girlfriend-and-bandmate
Julia Nagle in New York; he had to go to alcohol counseling and the
entire band quit... so he replaced them. You might want to punch him
yourself--a direct hit wouldn't be too satisfying, though, because most
of his teeth are as long-gone as those early Fall singles--but Smith
and whoever he's dragging behind him will inevitably endure.
In 1976, the Fall
were already extricating themselves from punk; in 2003, leathery old
Smith (in 24 Hour Party People, they could only show him for five seconds,
else they'd get an NC-17) is "anti-" incarnate, the anti-poet
anti-leading an anti-band to anti-acclaim. Dismiss the Fall and he will
anti-care; ignore that vacuum where they've always thrived and you've
anti'ed a discography so deep it's better studied as cosmology, a sound
so fluid and idiosyncratic it's almost a language itself, a Galapagos
archipelago of a band irreducible beyond itself.
So buy the Fall
used. Let Smith pay for his own beer, his own alcohol-abuse counseling--it'll
keep him alive longer. But buy those early singles: "Repetition,"
"Various Times," "Rowche Rumble," the canonical
"Totally Wired." Test yourself: If you can make it through
Hex Enduction Hour or Live At the Witch Trials, you can start to translate
the rest of the band. There could be a switch--as with the Stooges,
the Sex Pistols, Bikini Kill, what the guy at the record store calls
"the life-changers"--waiting to flip. They put out a 10"
EP (the most contrary format) in 1981 called Slates, Slags, Etc. It's
not necessarily regarded as the Fall's very best work: It's twenty years
removed from the band that's playing out today, and it only has six
songs. But there is a librarian in Cleveland, Ohio who listened to it
the first time around, and the first few bent chords atomized everything
else he'd ever heard. Once, someone told him the Fall were overrated.
"How can you say that?" he asked. "When I heard the Fall,
it was as if I was hearing music for the first time."
Saw the Fall for
the first time this evening. Setlist appears to be the same as seattle,
when MES came out and said: Good evening we are the Fall- I got chills.
The set started slow, didnt seem to pick up until And Therein when towards
the end Mark seemed to come alive, snarling and spiting into the mike.
The rest of the night continued in a similar manner. The band was good,
effiencent but rarely transcendent. False start into F-Oldin Money,
Mark- Lets try and get this right, but w/ a smile. The band laughed
it off. I was suprised how relaxed the band was, they appeared to get
along (onstage at least) well. Mere Pseud was great worth my ticket
price, Pharm was the big hit of the evening. Washboard during Dr Bucks
Letter was inspired, wished had played the whole show. Did a second
encore after that, cant recall the song but it was good. Overall I enjoyed
it. Not as familiar w/ the newer (post 1988) material and wished it
was april 1983 (the last time they played the first ave mainroom w/
rifle sport [local legends] opening) instead of 2003, but I was 7 at
the time and probably had school the next day. Most of my friends seemed
to not enjoy the show, but fuck em. I thought it was good. Please excuse
the rambling, after the Fall I had to rush across town and play w/ my
band so I had a full evening of rock. Local band TVBC opened.
Behind The Counter
Green-Eyed Loco Man
* F-oldin' Money is started & then cut off by MES after a few seconds
F-oldin' Money >
Last Commands Of XYRALOTHEP Via M.E.S.
Theme From Sparta F.C.
Janet Vs. Johnny
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
I Am Damo Suzuki
Big New Prinz
Dr. Bucks' Letter
There's A Ghost In My House
one other song that escapes me now....
Started off decent
enough, and I would've been reasonably happy just seeing a no-nonsense
MES & competent crew, but from "Mere Pseud Mag Ed" on,
the energy level never flagged once.... all told, it came to 90 minutes
-- a little longer than the other gigs on this tour, from what I gather?
I wanted to note
that the 2nd encore at the Minneapolis show was:
There's A Ghost In My House
each. A fantastic show all around, and exhilirating from Mere Pseud
Hello all! Arid
Al checking in with a brief report on the Fall's set in Minneapolis.
Hours before the gig I was afraid we wouldn't be seeing Mark E afterall
as the bar looked deserted. But sure enough, after a short warmup by
the wonderful TVBC out they came. I was surprised by how tight the band
was. (Too tight maybe, whatever...) Mark took the stage with "Good
evening we are the Fall". Opening songs tracked the same as the
other shows as best as I could tell. I was right up front on the stage
and I think the vocals were better behind me so some of the new songs
were a bit unclear to me. What was really kewl though was how warmly
the band was received. Although the band looked somewhat frightened
of our Mr. Smith, they played on bravely. I think it was "and therein"
that started and then was stopped quickly. A loud cheer in the room
surprised Mark as the song died and he smiled and restarted the band.
After that he seemed to enjoy himself more and more with each song.
Towards the middle of the set Mark walked over to Ben's amp and turned
him up a bit (thankfully). He repeated this once or twice more. He did
the same for Mr. Bass once. At one point he started pulling mikes away
from the drum kit, but during an excellent Damo he put them all back
AND added every other mic on stage to the drum kit. Then, much to my
surprise he and the Mrs. began smiling and laughing at each other. That
was new to me and I quite enjoyed it. The crowd was very responsive
(and very large) and the band ate it all up. Mark warmed up to the crowd
more than I imagined possible and the entire band seemed loose and very
happy by the end of the set.
I hope to NOT to
be corrected (hope hope hope) but they did do Hip Priest and it took
the top off the joint [sorry Al, it was Big New Prinz, not HP]. I was
sure I'd miss Scanlon and Hanley but the new kids do it well, I was
pleased. The band does seem to miss a second drummer though. :) It's
probably true that Mark could play with a band of old grannies and still
be the Fall.
Afterwords we spent
a good deal of time talking with Mrs. Smith. She was very nice and very
excited about how warmly recieved the Fall were in our little town.
The two nights before
the show I spent in Chicago seeing Wire perform two shows in two clubs.
As much as I love Wire nothing can stand up to the Fall. Excellent show,
excellent! In a few days when my hearing returns (hopefully) I'll be
back into my Fall collection yet again. The show tonight in Chicago
should be amazing if last night is any indication. Go see them now!!!!
Arid Al (still smiling)
(from the message board):
I just started listening
to the Fall a few months ago through a friend and thought I would check
them out. Only $12.00 and figured it would be worth a shot. The show
tonight sure made a fan out of me. And Dr. Buck's Letter was amazing!
And I was surprised Mark did two encores. The crowd wouldn't let him
leave even though he didn't acknowledge us once. He had to refer to
lyrics sheets for about four songs which was slightly humorous. One
of them he had his back to the audience and because the lighting was
so dim he had to hold up the sheet in the light. Quite a sight.
But what is with
the keyboardist? Is that his wife? She just had a cheap Casio sitting
on a bar stool and spent the show looking confused and worried. But
the rest of the band was super tight. And does Mark usually fiddle with
the mic stand constantly? But he did smile once and even did a little
dance, which was worth the price of admission. Kind of reminds me of
another Mancunian I saw a few weeks ago, Johnny Marr. Is smiling prohibited
in Manchester? Anyway, it was an amazing show. Hopefully he will keep
it going for another 25 years and get this new record out soon.
the message board):
So I talked to Mark
E after the show to see if he remembered this bill, and he claims to
remember it as well as my former band.
I offered to set
the band up with a free breakfast where I work, and they showed up.
We fed them well and Mark gave me a bottle of 12 year old Glenfiddich.
He was very, very nice as were the rest of the band. Cheers!
(Ham and Gruyere
omelet for breakfast)
(from the message board):
Friday night I caught
the Fall at First Ave. in Minneapolis. There were maybe 8 people waiting
when the club opened at 6pm. Had a few drinks in short order and watched
the opening band, a local group by the moniker 'TVBC'. Noisy, but not
the good kind of noisy. They had no momentum whatsoever. After a drunken
game of pool myself and two friends headed to the front as the Fall
took the stage. I was towards the front standing in front of Mrs. Smith.
Mark seemed a bit distracted, spent a lot of time suffling through a
sheaf of papers and staring intently at his fingernails. Dear god his
ears are big. They say your ears keep growing for your entire life.
The sound was a bit unfortunate- Smith was pretty low in the mix, Mrs.
Smith was inaudible, Ben's guitar was utterly muffled. Drums and bass
were pretty solid though. The band was tight but didn't seem to be enjoying
themselves very much. Highlights included Dr. Buck's Letter, New Big
Prinz, Sparta FC and Behind the Counter. Before the show my friend _c_
had announced with certainty that he would have the set list, and as
chance had it, as Dingo left the stage after the encore he threw it
in _c_'s face like a discarded facial tissue. Enjoyable show, but not
28 - Empty Bottle, Chicago:
Many thanks to Bob
Gilroy for these photos.
(from the message board):
The next morning
_c_, myself, and my girlfriend Beth set out for Chicago to catch the
Fall again at the Empty Bottle. After a Subway sandwich in an establishment
with thick bullet-proof glass we found our way to the club. The opening
band 'TV On The Radio' seemed promising in a vague sort of way, but
they really didn't have they're act together. The frontman spent the
majority of the performance wincing. From the looks of it they had recruited
Morrissy to handle the beat-boxing duties. Bad choice. After an interminable
spoken-word recording the Mighty Fall took the stage. This time they
sounded incredible. MES was easily heard (which isn't to say intelligable),
the keyboard bits were clearly audible, and Ben's guitar sounded great.
The band was in exceptional form; almost super-humanly tight. Green
Eyes and Locus were quite good, as well as Sparta FC, and New Big Prinz(again).
Smith screwed with mics, two at once, taking the bass drum mic out,
etc. He'd be singing into one and groping about behind him for the other
mic stand - had to stifle a laugh. He kept messing with the sound -
he'd walk over behind Ben and adjust his guitar volume, first cutting
it out completely, then feeling around till he had the right volume
as Ben shook his head in helpless dismay. He turned the bass up several
times. Smith even seemed animated/excited at points, much less time
was spent leafing through lyrics (he only seemed help with one song,
I can't remember which). Dr. Buck's letter was the encore. Afterwards
Elena bent down to ask _c_ if we were going to be present at the subsequent
Sunday show. Sadly we all had commitments to meet on Monday (i.e. work),
and so had to head back. We may yet make it to one (or more) of the
Texas shows, however.
These were my first
two Fall shows and an excellent experience all around.
So here as best
as I can recall is the setlist and my review of The Fall at the Empty
Bottle on Saturday night in Chicago. Alas I never made it for the Sunday
show and even Saturday had been touch and go but it was well worth it
and one night is better than none.
This was my first
Fall show in NA having missed every other tour since I've been over
here either due to work or MES not getting into the country and it was
worth the wait. It's also my 5th overall having seen a couple of QM
shows in the early 90s, The Garage about 1997 and Phoenix 1996 but that
still makes it 5 years since my last Fall fix and it was well overdue.
And it was worth it though i hope not to go through such a long period
between this and the next one.
Anyway, before the
post-mortem of the show, big shout out to those Fallnetters I met, Bob
Gilroy who above and beyond the call of duty gave me a ride between
South Bend, IN and Chicago, Mike Wright and Etan.
Setlist (or as best
as I can remember it/decipher my scrawled notes)
Panda Pander Panda
(played over PA)
Behind the Counter
Green-Eyed Loco Man
New one, looking at other people's reviews, probably mountain energie
from COTC, I caught snippets of Water is Flowing and such in the lyrics.
Last Commands of Xyarlothotep via MES
F-oldin Money /Kick The Can
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
I Am Damo Suzuki
New Big Prinz
There's a Ghost in My House
Dr Buck's Letter
Venue was pretty
good, we got there early and ate at the wee place next door before joining
the line of about 10 people. As we stood, we could hear the band, though
not MES running through Green Eyed Loco Man and Sparta FC for the soundcheck.
Just from that, you could tell it was going to be a good show. The venue
is pretty small, has a sort of lounge area with pool table and such
but where the stage, the place is more shaped like an L with the stage
at the corner point. The short edge of the L had a couple of fairly
heft steps up so it was elevated which made reasonable seats until the
venue staff made us stand but it put us about 10 ft off the stage and
high enough to see well though i am a tall bastard.
Opening act, TV
on the Radio told us they were just out of the van and had driven from
Brooklyn. too bad, they forgot to pack their songs. A sort of combination
of laptop rock, sparse guitar and human beat box. It just didn't work
and the lack of any visuals or even motion from the band really made
it stretch out to a painful length. But at last they were over and the
As with the rest
of the tour, bits of Panda, Pander, Panzer were used as a warm up tape
though it did seem to go on just a little too long. the rest of the
band came on and started into Behind the Counter riding on the riff
for a minute or two before MES hit the stage in black leather jacket
even though the atmosphere was sweltering. As usual, he got the roar
of applause that he seemed oblivious to. Band hammered through BTC,
taking a bit of time to really hit the groove then into Telephone thing
with Mrs S. signalling to get keyboards turned up in the mix after which
we could actually hear her.
The band were overall
pretty tight and Dingo played what looked like a MusicMan Stingray(ok,
i admit to being a bass player and bass geek) and had a pretty good
bass sound keeping the groove locked down for the majority of the set.
MES must have been on best behavior as there were only a few incidences
of screwing with the band's gear from turning the guitar way down on
one track to eventually knocking away the bass drum mic at another point.
A few points when he battered the drum kit by hand and the mic was slammed
into the kit near the end of the set but for the most part, the sound
was pretty good. Mrs S spent most of the set scowling which probably
kept him from interfering with her sound though it may also have been
boredom as her parts were not the most exciting and challenging.
Set highlights included
Green-eyed loco man and Sparta FC which had as much energy if not more
than the Peel 23 versions. The yelled vocals by the rest of the band
really make Sparta and i hope this stays in sets in future years. Set
closer, New Big Prinz where myself and Mike yelled ourselves hoarse
on the Appreciated part and a storming version of Dr Buck...
Alas, there were
a few low points, F-oldin Money was a bit too rigid and Mere Pseud was
shambolic. And then there was the encore fiasco. After the main set,
Contraflow was played over the PA and the crowd did the usual yells
and cheers to encourage the band back for an encore. We got Ghost and
Dr Buck then they went off again and we got the tape of contraflow which
played for about 10 min really building expectation. Alas dashed when
the lights were brought up, i don't know if there was a second encore
planned, since Contraflow was not played, it would have been nice to
hear it but it didn't happen.
Anyway, a good show
though Etan's Sunday review makes me wish i could have made it, And
it was good to put a face to one or two of the 400 emails I had waiting
for me when i got back.
From the Chicago
The Fall rewards
fans with jagged, snarled sounds
By Bob Gendron
Special to the Tribune
After visa problems
caused The Fall to abort its previously scheduled dates in April and
October 2002, Saturday's sold-out concert (the first of a two-night
stand) at The Empty Bottle was no sure thing. Just three weeks ago,
the band inexplicably canceled two Canadian stops before their tour
had even started.
For most artists,
such unpredictability would be ruinous. But for The Fall, the prolific
but inconsistent post-punk group that's endured more than 30 lineup
changes and released more than 70 albums since its 1977 origins in Manchester,
England, eccentricity is the norm. On this night, The Fall's autocratic
founder and sole original member, Mark E. Smith, rewarded the cult followers
who continue to stick with the band's every ebb and flow. Nearly 10
years removed from their last Chicago appearance, he and The Fall turned
in a venomous performance that drew heavily from their '90s catalog
and forthcoming "Country on the Click" record.
Although his worn,
wrinkled face made him seem older than he really is, Smith remains
a spiteful vocalist whose prickly, vitriolic tone
has few peers.
Dressed in a black
leather jacket, white button-down shirt and gray slacks, he looked like
a disgruntled high-school principal who just lost his job and couldn't
have cared less. Focused and bitter, Smith didn't crack a smile and
seldom made eye contact with the crowd. During his tossed-off sing-speak
deliveries, he garbled the vocals by shoving microphones toward his
mouth and cupping his hand over his lips. Rather than muddling, these
detached mannerisms helped elucidate the music's message and intent.
Save for keyboardist
Elenor Poulou, who stood motionless and played the same ominous
refrain on each song, this incarnation of The Fall was tight, sharp
and jagged. While Smith growled, snarled, stuttered and sneered,
the four-piece band poured over repetitive two- and three-chord
passages, regurgitating and bashing them into submission. Single
guitar notes were skewered, served up as bait, then stabbed. Aluminum-tinted
bass lines constantly collided with Smith's splintered vowels, causing
the music to boil over with resentment. Particularly confrontational
were the scathing "Bourgeois
Town," on which Ben Pritchard made his guitar sound like a gravel-chomping
lawn mower, and the hypnotic "I Am Damo Suzuki," where drummer
Dave Milner sheared the heads off any melodies that dared crop up.
During a run through the stomping "Mr. Pharmacist" and "New
Big Prinz," The Fall became a primal '60s garage band. But nothing
came close to topping the ferocity of "Sparta FC," which
sounded purely murderous. As Pritchard and Poulou barked, "You
have to pay for everything/but some things are for free," they
brought to a close what is the best new
Fall song in an age.
Though it would
have been nice to hear a longer set (the band played for 70 minutes)
or a few selections from their seminal Rough Trade period (which was
completely ignored), that The Fall showed up was enough for most. That
their newest music sounded so vital was a surprise - another summit
in Smith's ongoing roller coaster of a career.
And there's a review on the
29 - Empty Bottle, Chicago:
Some photos and short
audio clips are at http://www.roundpeg.net/epost/chicago/fall.html,
thanks to Matthew Cook.
Many thanks to
Nikola Blichfeld-Tamindzic for the following photos:
not quite in order:
Green Eyed Loco Man
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
Janet Vs. Johnny
Last Commands Of Xyralothep
I Am Damo Suzuki
New Big Prinz
Dr. Buck's Letter
Full review later. Detroit tonight.
a bit of a dismal
band opened called 'TV ON RADIO'...some indie superstars instantly signed
to touch & go who tried to do an electronic soul thing, their singing
way off...but their volume level was very low, so it wasn't too obtrusive.
played a tape of
PANZER before the Fall set, which sounded great, much better than the
spoken word effort. Band comes on, slogs through some songs...DANCING
ENSUED! some weirdos bumping into the stiff-faced arms folded head-bobbing
jaded twenty something crowd. Smith had on leather coat (90+ degrees
in club) with a crumpled up paper bag in his pocket like some mental
patient pack-rat (containing lyrics I presume) The new keyboard player
is a great addition! She is extremely gorgeous with a beautiful mouth
and a surly attitudde, constantly hitting mark E. Smith with a 'Eat
shit and die' look. She is what the fall has been missing for 20 years...total
incompetence! These new guys, they play OK, they play well...but the
Fall, to me, has always been about these kooks who just picked up intruments
and perfect their own skewed way of playing them.
telephone thing- wakwaka funk
big new prinz- for
encore, Mark passed around mic and he sand along with people, great
duets with audience members. I have never been too big of a fan of the
Curious Orange album, but this live version was great!
a song I didn't
recognize- guitar player and keyboard lady giving backup vocals and
each having their solo singing...it added a good counterpoint to MES's
Mere Psued Mag Ed-
what a butchering of great song! what used to be a harsh jagged 3 minutes
got excreted as a jangly 5 minute jam. oy-vey!
Damo Suzuki- always
an amazing song.
and of course, MES
looking at his notes, the constant smile of the drummer's face, the
guitar player in his little suit jacket crumpled into the corner, the
lankiness of the bass player, lady keyboard player's cat eye make-up.
there's this hack
idiot in Chicago named MARC SMITH who runs these idiotic 'POETRY SLAMS'
in Chicago at the Green Mill. I always found it funny that they share
the same name, BLASPHEMOUS!
Agreed, a nice
improvement over Saturday's show (which wasn't too shabby itself,
just a tad lackluster as the band seemed tired). MES in absolute
top form, growling and prowling and enjoying himself. It's weird,
I've never been able to figure out if he gives a shit or if he even
knows what he's doing for that matter, but last night settled it:
He knows exactly what he's doing, the chaos is controlled, and he's
damn proud of it. And as unconventional as he is, he's an incredible
vocalist, lyricist, and frontman--an honest-to-god talent, which
I strangely never noticed before this weekend's shows
The rest of the
band was adequate--I find it odd that more oldies are being played when
the band seems much better suited for the newer stuff. The repetition
creed is very evident these days too, which was nice, though it got
a little boring at times. Oh, and the wife has to go. She adds virtually
nothing, and when you can hear her keyboards they detract from the songs
more than anything and sound as bored as she looks
Sparta FC, F-Oldin Money, Dr Buck, and Touch Sensitive. Sorry Saturday
folks, but most of Sunday's renditions trumped Saturday's. Livelier
- MES played with
Ben's amp a few times Sunday night, much to his almost-staged annoyance
- I've never heard a Chicago crowd as loud as Saturday's. The call for
the 2nd encore (which didn't happen) must've lasted 10 minutes and was
deafening. Sunday night was the normal polite applause and occasional
yelps. Just as crowded though.
- MES passed the mic into the crowd during Big New Prinz on Sunday when
no one yelled "appreciated" back (unlike Saturday when the
whole club yelled it). A couple grabbed it and took the lead nicely
for a chorus or two
Great to see the
Fallnetters that came into town Saturday night--hope you all make it
back to Chicago someday. I'll leave it to you to recount the details
Ah, and as good
as the shows were, I liked San Francisco 2001 better--do the west coasters
who saw both tours agree?
30 - Magic Stick, Detroit:
Thanks to Chris
McGorey for these photos of
MES. And Margo has put together a slideshow
of the gig.
again, not in exact
Green Eyed Loco Man
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
Last Commands Of Xyralothep
I Am Damo Suzuki
New Big Prinz
There's A Ghost in My House
Dr. Buck's Letter
All in all the show
was more chaotic than the previous night. Full review later, I promise.
It began with "Touch
Sensitive" followed by "Telephone Thing", and seemed
at first as though the Detroit show would be a total repeat of Sunday
night's show in Chicago, in terms of performance quality and song selection.
Sure enough, they played all of the same songs between the two shows
(only with "Ghost" substituting "Bourgeois Town"
and "Janet Vs. Johnny" in Detroit), but the performance itself
came from somewhere else entirely.
The first few songs
were the same competent, professional Fall that we've come to expect
in 2003. However, four or five songs into the set, "F-oldin Money"
had a false start when Dave started playing a completely different song.
This really set MES off -- he angrily waved a setlist at Dave, gave
Dingo a shove, knocked over Ben's mic stand, and gave an especially
intense reading of the old rockabilly cover. It seemed like the tour
had been going great up until this point and I wondered if this would
be the night when everything went wrong. Detroit has that effect on
a lot of people -- everything you've heard about it is true.
I can say with complete
certainty that Mark drank only water onstage at the Magic Stick, but
who knows went on backstage -- he did seem a bit more wobbly and slightly
less focused than before. Most of Mark's problems revolved around the
sound setup -- no microphone cable seemed to be long enough, no microphone
stand could stay upright for more than two songs, and there was a hapless
soundman, unfamiliar with "the rules", who somehow thought
it was okay for him to invade the stage mid-song to make miniscule,
imperceptible adjustments to the drum mics. The nerve!
Mark's mood seemed
to lighten a bit when he checked the setlist and saw that "Locus"
was next. "My favorite!" he declared, before crouching down
next to the drumkit and channeling "the last locus and testament
of the GREAT-ah GOD-ah... Xyralothep-ah!"
The next few songs
went fine, but by the time "Mountain Energei" came along MES
had gone through three microphones and decided to steal Elenor's, which
was attached to a short cable that restricted him to Elenor and Dingo's
side of the stage. He pushed over a stage monitor and tried to pull
some cable slack out from under the stage but became frustrated and
gave up. He had a brief argument with the monitor man and ran his hands
over the mixer (probably zeroing all the monitor settings) and then
stormed backstage. So ended the set proper.
and "Prinz" made up the first encore. By this point, Mark's
mobility was hindered by the horrible knot of mic stands and cables
in the middle of the stage. Unlike at the Empty Bottle, Mark received
a healthy reply of "APPRECIATED!" from the Detroit audience
during the chorus of "Prinz", and smiled to himself about
it [insert cliche re: "appreciation" here]. Once again he
handed a mic to the crowd and I could have grabbed it, but decided that
singing the same song two nights in a row with band would have been
selfish and tacky.
For the second encore
the band sleepwalked through "Ghost In My House" but woke
up just in time to deliver another ferocious version of "Dr. Buck's
Letter". The current Fall plays this type of heavy, plodding, hypnotic
music very well and I wouldn't mind hearing more songs in this vein.
You should have seen the front rows bobbing their heads in slow-motion
unison to this one. Towards the end, Mark picked up a pair of sticks
and bashed away on the floor tom and ride cymbal, proving that he does,
in fact, have some sense of rhythm. After one last, impressive crash
on the ride cymbal the band filed offstage one-by-one. All in all it
was a fine show, but basically an angrier, more chaotic version of the
show I had seen the night before.
Zachs account of
this is dead on.
A few things to
Yes, I was the one
who was lucky enough to be the first chosen one to be handed the mic
during Big New
Prinz. I decided that since I passed this up in Philly (and I beat myself
up for not doing this pretty bad) that this was my chance.
I have to admit,
I have lived my dream.
I can say I lead
the Fall for a brief moment. It was awesome. I was not nervous, and
I concentrated on the words and it was great.
The highlight of
this (and why this made for a great show for me) was during my vocals
on this at one point I looked up and I see Ben/Dingo/Elanor concentrating
on their parts to make sure we are in time.
After 2 versions
of "rock the record..." where crowd backs me up with "APPRECIATED",
I decided I too do not want to hog said mic, and I pass it down to the
first guy who didn't want to take it, and then another guy who wanted
it. I don't think he got through a verse when the band chopped him off
Now my impression
from him was that he was awful, and my impression of me was that I was
Now I have idea
the real truth, so maybe Zach and others can let me know, but either
way it was a great fall moment.
I'll add more feedback
over the long weekend.
I'm too old for
this crap. Sat.'s chicago show and Detroit's Monday show has my sleep
schedule all out of wack and work is busy. I need to get some more sleep
and make some proper comments concerning both shows, albeit pretty late.
1 - Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland:
A review from the
Cleveland Free Press (thanks to
Pakrin for sending it in).
the message board):
been waiting a LONG time for this. Had my Detroit ticket for the earlier
canceled tour until it blew up without work visas. Now this in my own
backyard! I started listening to The Fall in 1984 but this is my first
gig. All right already….
200 people in a 550 capacity house. Played more than 75 minutes. They
hit the stage around 11 pm. The sound was great! The band was good,
tight and powerful but I would have liked to have seen a Craig Scanlon
show for comparison. The crowd very controlled but appreciative. No
technical gaffes other than MES doing his bits ‘n pieces with
paper and tweaking amps occasionally. Nothing major. You could hear
and see it all as they were on an elevated stage. MES came out wearing
white slacks, white shirt and his, I guess, ubiquitous leather jacket.
Not sure why as it was nearly 85F yesterday except perhaps to weight
himself down against any prospective Lake wind. The dude looked a mere
slip of a man, elfin-like with those ears and that nose. His face in
a constant sag. His head defiantly tilted up throughout the show looking
down on and admonishing the audience from beneath a pile of half-combed
hair. Almost nodding derisively at us yet encouraging us on. He made
his point throughout the show, rolling out his left arm, flashing and
flicking his fingers punctuating lyrics during pretty much the same
set-list in the earlier tour gigs. Yep, he used two mikes carrying one
and posting the other one and off. He kept popping his open left palm
on the mike head stalking about the stage snarling and streaming his
rants while facing backstage then wandering off and squatting down extreme
off-stage left buried somewhere behind the amps. His pace made you think
he was just trying to maintain his blood circulation. It was really
great. Casual, taunting, second nature. Refreshingly anti-pop. At one
point he wandered off striking some random notes on Mrs. MES’s
little keyboards just to show he controls it all.
In no specific or
And Therein, Sparta FC – quite good
Damo Suzuki – Great! Not hammering and overwhelming as on TNSG
yet very memorable.
F’ldin Money/Kick The Can – very good. Yeah I would have
like a more over the top rockabilly rendering of F'ldin Money but great
to hear live. KTC was optional.
Bourgeois Town – yes, great.
- great venue, one
of the very best places (beachland) to see a show. reminds me a bit
of bogart's in cincy but cozier.
- fallnetohio picnic prior to the show was a definite high point. great
to see so many fine fuckfaces gathered in one place.
- the tinyness of eleanor's keyboard cannot be overstated. it was easy
to hear, however, and did contribute a sort of minimal b52's-stylee
- i thought the best performance was of Big New Prinz because MES really
stretched to make it sound different & engaging. many of the others
were kind of drab run-throughs, sorry to say. BNP, though, was phenomenol.
Xyralowhatsit was a close second.
- never take tylenol/acetaminophen on top of a bad hangover... it is
hepatoxic & cookies will likely be tossed. they were in my case.
greg's car was unscathed however.
Cleveland on Tuesday
was my first ever Fall gig, and I had a great time. As Trent mentioned,
started with a FallnetOhio in Chris Wyatt's backyard with Will, MJ,
OJ, Trent, Chris, Missy, JC, Kat and myself. I thought the show was
very good, maybe not amazing but quite good. MES walked off three or
four times but he was right back each time. The highlights for me were
Green Eyed Loco Man and of course Big New Prinz where OJ, Myself, Will
and a dude named Byron (who should be joining Fallnet soon) got to sing
the "appreciated" line into MES' fallen second mic.
What I don't understand,
however, is how a band like the Fall chooses the songs to play on tour.
It just boggles my mind that a band with such a brilliant catalogue
would choose some of the crap they do to trot out night after night.
The new stuff was great, but why in the hell do songs like Mr. Pharmacist,
Bourgeois Town, F-Oldin' Money, Kick The Can and And Therein.. keep
making the cut? Now I can understand difference of opinion, but are
these really the songs that Smith thinks are the best?
to OJ's pictures.
pictures are here, and Conway combined a few of them to make this
great, virtual Fall stagescape (click the photo for a 1730px x 430px version).
Area Man Forces
Friends To See Band They Don't Like
CLEVELAND, OH --
After telling them that he was visiting Cleveland "to cook for
them, and maybe drink some Genny," Columbus resident John Lorio
forced a dozen unsuspecting friends and acquaintances to go see a show
by his favorite band, The Fall.
According to witness
Katherine Stewart, the 36-year-old Lorio, an unemployed self-described
"writer," used the ruse that he would be cooking Chicken And
Tofu Tikka Masala to get the assembled guests together for what he called
"the event of a lifetime."
"He kept running
around wanting us all to get together so he could take pictures of us,
like it was a fucking wedding or something," Stewart said. "He
had this digital camera -- it wasn't his, of course -- and he kept saying,
'Okay, you all get over there by the grill, okay? And get the squirrel
in the picture.' That was the worst part -- he had this driveway squirrel,
holding a reflector, and he wanted the squirrel in every goddamn picture.
And then he took pictures of the squirrel, like the squirrel was more
important than us. And then he made us go see The Fall. They haven't
done anything relevant since 1985. Fucking $17. If I weren't dating
someone who knows the club owner, i would have never got in."
The Fall's frontman,
legendary Mancunian curmudgeon and AA resister Mark E. Smith, said that
while he appreciated Lorio's enthusiasm for his band, it was no excuse
for ruining a perfectly good cookout.
"Uh, aye, the
kids today, they're alright, but y'can't make 'em come to a show, they've
got to want to come, right, else you might as well be taking 'em to
see Travis, y'know? This git, Lorio, whatever, i'm on to him. He's done
this before, y'see. Aye, forced a convent of nuns to come see us on
our '95 tour. Well, they were expecting some, uh, Bach, y'know, or summat,
and well -- they bottled me good, so of course I walked off. And then
he cornered me backstage, wantin' his t-shirt signed or summat, so I
got me Sharpie, and wrote 'You are a gormless fuckwit' on it, and that
seemed to be fine with him, y'know, and I told him to clear off. But
that's no guarantee he won't be back. So I've dogs with me this time,
y'see? Trained to attack at the first scent of andouille sausage. Mind
ye, Lorio, if you're reading this -- Cuz'n Roy's got orders to kill,
y'see? KILL-UH! So there."
Friends say this
is not the first instance of this type of behavior Lorio has displayed.
He has in the past forced friends of his to attend Kurosawa retrospectives,
an exhibit of historic quilts, a Louise Nevelson installation, a tour
of Chicago buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and a "Discover
Indonesian Food" festival held last year in Marion, Ohio.
Lorio himself stated
"it's great to introduce the people you really care about to exciting
new things." He then handed this reporter an Exies CD.
other john, for
:) <---his gormless mark
(from the message board):
Mostly agree with
the above - pretty good show. The crowd seemed into it, but I had a
hard time figuring out who was there to see The Fall and who was just
there to see a show and/or the opening act, as the audience seemed to
be mostly made up of 20-something local hipsters. About 1/2-1/3 capacity,
and a pretty intimate venue, so I was able to get right up next to the
Didn't much enjoy
the opening act, This Month in Black History. Two horribly obnoxious/earnest
lead singer comments: "The Fall afterparty's gonna be at the Lava
Lounge! I don't know if The Fall is going to be there, but we will"
and the sub-Jello Biafra "It's almost July 4th, and we've got petitions
to impeach President Bush in the lobby! Because we're proud to be Americans,
and it's important to exercise your freedom of speech!" I wonder
if MES signed one?
The Fall started
playing at about 11, MES following the band. The energy level was quite
high for the first few numbers, and mostly stayed that way - Janet vs.
Johnny and And Therein were the only numbers that seemed a little shambolic.
There were a few MES walkoffs, apparently to retrieve lyrics or get
a smoke, leaving the band chugging away and shrugging their shoulders
at each other. At times MES seemed to be pretty irritated at the web
of microphones that the sound guy had placed on stage, at one point
offering an improv lyric about it (the only word of which I could make
out was, of course, "microphones"). Two hilarious between-song
comments, though (I paraphrase):
At the start of
the last number: "If anyone would like to adopt the band members
and use them as farmhands, they are good workers. It would be to my
and their benefit."
And, at the start
of the encore: "We are the Fall, and we are going to do two more
numbers for you, Bourgeois Town and I Am Damo Suzuki, BECAUSE WE ARE
SO HAPPY TO BE IN O-HIO" (in 'Crop Dust' 'drunk' voice).
Rough set list,
not in order:
behind the counter
green eyed loco man
mere pseud mag ed
last commands of xyralothep
f'oldin money/kick the can
janet vs johnny
new big prinz
i am damo suzuki
Firstly I'd like
to second the remarks made earlier about the pre-gig cook-out at CW
& Missy's house - it was a great time - I haven't eaten so much
french onion dip in probably about a year and a half! yum..
anyway, on to the
The openers, This
Moment in Black History, which have created quite a buzz around town
somehow, completely underwhelmed me with their pretty generic sounding
rock stuff. Dunno where comparisons to the Fall and Pere Ubu come from
with them, but nothing like that was in evidence this night anyway.
In fact the band sounded best when the singer accidentally pushed over
the guitarist's big speaker stack and knocked the cord out of it! That
guy didn't know when to stop playing, and apparently that was the only
way to do it. I've pretty much lost all interest in this band for the
As it seems like
they've been doing in other towns, the Fall made us wait a *long* time
before coming on stage, although we all knew their set was about to
start when bits of Pander Panzer Panda or whatever it's called started
coming through the speakers (at least that's what I was told it was).
Anyway, now I'm
going to cut & paste from an email I sent out earlier today because
I'm a lazy ohioan:
In a nutshell,
though, I think it was possibly the *best* performance by MES that
I've seen him do since possibly 1988, but I thought the band was really
mechanical and tight and actually downright boring in their non- shambolicness..
It's the first time I've seen the Fall where it *didn't* seem like
it would fall apart at any minute, and to me, that just isn't what
the Fall is about!
[It was] the most
I've seen [Smith] be 'into' the performance in yonks. I think every
show I saw in the 90s I thought to myself, 'what the fuck is he even
bothering for, he obviously would rather be home picking his teeth!'
but he was coherent & assertive, even a bit passionate at times.
Hell, I decided I think the reason he goes & fiddles with the
amps & stuff during the sets is to try to *make* the band's set
a bit rougher-edged, a bit livlier, a bit less mechanical or something.
Ben told me afterwards that they had had a great sound check before
the show, then before they went on stage, MES had the sound guy turn
all the stage monitors OFF!!! The band couldn't even hear each other!!
They were amazingly tight in spite of that though, but again like
I said, that's not what you go to a Fall show to see..
So yeah that was
my general impression of the show overall. The band did a great job
keeping their act together, but somehow it just seemed like one of these
'famous singer with a backup band' kind of acts, instead of A Band Called
Anyway, the show
wasn't without its highlights, although mostly it was the audience-participation
Big New Prinz, which surprisingly few people as far as I could hear
were singing along with, besides the group right at the front of the
stage.. It was also a treat to hear I Am Damo Suzuki at the end of the
encore, but again, it was the same thing - Great performance by Smith,
paint-by-numbers backing by the backing band.
I hate to put them
down, because they are obviously working so hard to do what they're
doing, and are putting up with a lot of backstage stress, it sounds
like, so really I have to give them big props just for getting as far
as they have, and I hope the rest of the tour goes well for them. Also
I have to say that it was nice to meet & chat with Ben, someone
who is too nice to deserve actually being in the Fall!
Anyhow, it was great
to get together with all the OhioFFs, and the new FallNet recruits (welcome!),
and it was great to see MES back on top of the game, seemingly in full
command of whatever it is he's trying to do..
I actually saw the
Fall in NYC in November '01, and was at the same show as Trent, Pinto,
and some other fuckfaces, who I didn't know yet since I wasn't on FallNet.
But I didn't write a review of that show, since no one cared. So now
I'll write a review, since maybe someone cares this time.
The opening band
was vastly dissapointing. I had heard that This Moment in Black History
were like a combination of The Fall and Pere Ubu, but they were more
like generic alt rock. They had a keyboard on stage, but I don't think
it was actually plugged in. At least now Black Cabbage will be allowed
to resurrect the cult of Pere Ubu on our own. After This Moment in Black
History, the combined force of FallnetOhio rushed towards front and
center and waited. And waited. And started at the teeny tiny keyboard
sitting on top of a stool. Now I remember why I'm usually not up front
at any shows. After all this waiting, some 25 year old guys and a woman
who looked like she was on her way to an audition to play Vampira came
on stage. I guess this is the new Fall. I know there's been some changes
since the last time I saw them, but if I hadn't heard that Jim Watts
got sacked I probably wouldn't have noticed anyone but the keyboardist.
The bassist (who
everyone said was named Dingo or something) had a Musicman. I hate those
things. Most of the purpose of writing this review is to note that I
really hate Musicman basses. The first time I saw someone play one live
I thought it was some sort of wanky 5-string because of the headstock
having a weird 3 tuning pegs on one side, 1 on the other configuration.
The guitarist had
some guitar. Whatever. I don't care about guitars.
The drummer had
really big drums, or at least that's what Jeff kept telling me.
seemed like a better fit for MES than his 9 previous wives and girlfriends.
She's about 5 feet tall, and has kind of a zombie Poison Ivy thing going
on while playing the two different chords that MES taught her. I really
don't like it when chicks are in bands just to have chicks in bands
and obviously can't play their instruments. She doesn't seem to have
the ability to co-opt the band that Brix and Julia did though, which
probably makes MES happy. Anyway, she was really icy on stage, but then
at the end when she stepped off, she was smiling and talking to people
in the audience!
I guess the Fall
played some songs. I liked the "I hate the countryside so much"
song, Big New Prinz, Mere Psued Mag Ed, and Damo Suzuki. The rest I
could give or take. They seemed a lot more interesting in NYC, maybe
only because I'd never seen them at that point. It was definetly a more
shambolic show, with MES doing six encores, baiting the audience, and
so on. MES actually said he was happy to be in Ohio! That's not the
MES I know!
We met the bassist
and guitarist after the show. I didn't say anything to them, but they
both seemed like nice guys. Ben knew who Jeff was!
I don't really care
about the Fall much these days, and probably mostly went for nostalgia
and to see the rest of the Ohio fuckfaces. I've seen at least two better
shows in the past month or so (The Cramps, Rocket from the Tombs). It
was a good show, but not particularly memorable. Eh.
This was The Fall's
first visit to Ohio, I believe, since '94. That, plus the positive reviews
from the earlier shows on the tour, persuaded me to make the almost
500 mile round trip from Cincinnati.
The Beachland Ballroom
is one of the best clubs I've ever been in for a rock show, surpassed
only by The Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky (across the Ohio River
from Cincinnati--The Fall should definitely play there sometime). The
venue is in an old Croatian neighborhood (which is now "in transition"
as real estate agents say in codespeak) and was formerly the Croatian
Liberty Home. Certainly worth checking out if you're ever in the area.
The only negative note occurred when I asked one of the barmaids at
the back bar if I could get a burger and fries with my beer--she rather
testily told me "I don't think she's ready to start cooking yet."
And this after the club's website made a big deal about their menu.
Oh well, the bag of Synder's of Berlin potato chips was excellent. And
you can't complain too much about a club that sells Straub beer.
The opening band
was by far the worst act I've ever seen open for The Fall--even more
wretched than Magnapop on the '94 tour. Oh well, on to The Main Event's
setlist (in order):
1. Behind The Counter
- The band took the stage without MES and vamped for what seemed like
a long time. Just as it occurred to me that we might be seeing "never
walk on" instead of "walk off in the middle of songs,"
the Mancunian Grouch appeared! Did an OK version of a second rate Fall
2. Telephone Thing
- Better than the studio version, which is faint praise indeed. Ben's
wah-wah wanking got a little irritating, though.
3. Green Eyed Loco
Man - Not a bad tune, although I agree with the prior review that it'll
probably be forgotten in a year.
4. And Therein -
Much more lively than I would have expected.
5. Mere Pseud Mag
Ed - I'm sure this sounded better back in the day.
6. Contraflow -
Things started to pick up with this one.
7. Foldin' Money>Kick
The Can - This
was much better than I would have expected. Great energy displayed by
the band. Eleanor's backing vocals on Kick The Can brought back found
memories of Brix.
8. Touch Sensitive
- Somewhat disappointing take on the one of the better latter day Fall
9. Last Commands
of Xyralothep via MES - One of the highlights of the evening. It's good
to see that Mark can still put together a long, rambling lyrical excursion.
10. Sparta FC -
The old Fall power and intensity came through on this track. Wow!
11. Mr. Pharmacist
- All right, all right, but would rather have heard something else.
12. Janet vs. Johnny
- Change of pace, more subdued, nice performance.
13. Way Round -
Way better than the studio version on The Unutterable.
14. Big New Prinz
- Far superior to the versions from the '93 and '94 US tours, MES and
band really into it.
15. Bourgeois Town
- One of their better cover tunes.
16. I Am Damo Suzuki
- Good, but this song is so great it's hard to mess up. Far inferior
to when I saw the band do it in '86 with Scanlon, Brix and Simon Rogers
churning out a true descent into the maelstrom.
people may complain about Eleanor's keyboard playing, but she's not
starting from any further back than Dave Bush, who probably can't play
a scale; MES in a droll mood, sort of like, "OK, I'll put a good
effort into this show even though I don't feel like it."
After the show,
spoke with an intelligent, passionate Fall fan who came from Pittsburgh
to see the show. He was disappointed and very much misses the days of
Scanlon and Hanley. My own take is that the best moments of this show
truly equaled the power, drive and brilliance of The Fall at their best,
and that even the lesser moments were better than most other bands could
ever hope to accomplish. But I guess I've been spoiled by seeing the
band on past tours where the brilliance permeated the entire set, with
musicians who were substantial talents in their own right, and not just
a backing band for a famous vocalist. So by Fall standards, a good show,
but not a great one.
July 5 and
onwards on the current Fall News.
recently interviewed John French of the Magic Band and
the transcript is up on Playlouder.com.
It's a great interview, too.
Media has once again shamelessly co-opted the recent Fall News and
regurgitated it onto their site. Thanks.
- Issue 233 - July 2003:
A User's Guide to
Helter Skelter Publishing PBK 12.99
By Simon Ford
With releases by
The Fall now safely into three figures territory, the group's number
crunching and list making potential is phenomenal. In 2002 alone The
Fall released one single, one live album, one spoken word album, one
picture disc, five compilation albums, played 32 live gigs (including
organising and cancelling two American tours), reissued eight earlier
albums, contributed to three various artists compilations and provided
the soundtrack for a Vauxhall Corsa TV advertisement. Navigating this
maze of remixes, rerecordings, reissues, cover versions and live variations
has consumed many a lonely soul. Now one of them, Dave Thompson, has
returned and collated his findings into a book.
each chapter starts with a narrative introduction in which Thompson
outlines that year's main events. This is followed by entries for the
year's singles, albums, live recordings, studio recordings and BBC radio
sessions. Each of these entries consists of, where available, chart
positions, song titles, release dates, and a 'Comments' section. This
typically consists of Thompson's description of the recording, his opinion
of its relative value and a germane quote from the Mark E Smith interview
archive. Thompson's powers of description are sometimes stretched ("keyboards
slice across the entire landscape like an avenging axe"), but usually
he hits the target (Stephen Hanley's "ticking time-bomb bass"
on "Living Too Late").
Thompson is obviously
smitten with Smith, but he's not afraid to pass critical judgement.
Many will nod in agreement at his criticism of parts of the recent Are
You Are Missing Winner as "unbearable", but many, also, will
shake their head disbelievingly at his offhand dismissal of "Pinball
Machine" from Seminal Live - and note smugly its omission from
a subsequent list of Fall cover versions. Of course, in a book filled
with so much information mistakes are bound to be made. A couple I spotted
include naming Tony Friel as an ex-member of Nuclear Angel when it was
actually Martin Bramah, and listing Brix E Smith's last gig as being
in Cheltenham on 4 October 1996 when it was actually on 11 October at
the Forum in London. But there is plenty of information here that will
be news to even the most obsessive fact-addled Fall fan. Did you know,
for example, that Smith's first appearance on vinyl was introducing
John The Postman's version of "Louie, Louie" on the John The
Postman's Puerile album of March 1978? Or that Deep Freeze Mice used
a Una Baines copyright Snoopy Organ sound on their debut album My Geraniums
Are Bulletproof in 1979? Thompson also clears up such perennial mix-ups
as who really deserves the writing credit for "Why Are People Grudgeful?"
(it's Joe Gibbs rather than Lee Perry).
provide a complete list of BBC radio sessions, selected compilations
and anthologies, a listing of Cog Sinister releases, a 'tape-ography'
of live gigs and a helpful directory of former group members. The book's
usefulness as a reference work, however, would have been improved with
even a rudimentary index, and for all Thompson's reliance on cuttings,
his 'bibliography' is miserly at just half a page and a list of Websites.
Maybe I'm being a bit too anal about this, but books such as A User's
Guide sink or swim in just such nether regions.
Judging from the
current edition of Fall News, I’m the first person in any position
to comment on Dave Thompson’s A User’s Guide… beyond
Simon Ford. I picked up a copy from Helter Skelter on Friday. It’s
very nice to see the Fall’s bibliography bulging this Summer,
but I can’t help being reminded of the way crappy compilations
used to follow new albums like a pack of wolves.
assessment of the biggest library yet is perfectly readable and I feel
obliged to be more even handed with it than I suspect a great number
of fans and list-makers might be. It’s okay but it’s not
really for Fallnet regulars, is it? As an introduction to The Fall,
I’d happily recommend it to a baffled newcomer. It’s perfectly
adequate and gives the back catalogue a substantial spring clean in
the compilations department. (Mind you, didn’t someone identify
the sources for the Receiver stuff in 1998, which in fact betters this
listing? I can’t find the link anymore.)
My main problem
with A User’s Guide… is that it’s a primer compiled
by Bambi. This is in desperate need of an index – an a to z of
songs for the true newcomer, plus a more general listing of names, album
titles and other markers. Without these it must run the risk of frustrating
what he irritatingly describes as the ‘newbie’. The book’s
basically impossible to dip into with any certainty that you’re
finding all the information you require. The analysis and background
for ‘I’m Into C.B.’ is split across two separate entries,
whilst ‘Wings’ is introduced (infuriatingly) in passing
for the Kicker EP and then gets a proper write up several pages later.
It’s all very confusing for a ‘manual’ and only really
functional as a continuous read. I think it excels in this way –
for fan and newcomer, it’s a handy collation of commonly held
myths, accepted history and the well-worn anecdotes that belong in any
The main drawback
is the lack of a rigorous proof read. Most of the problems with the
list making (nitpicky perhaps, but irritating all the same), not to
mention the prose, could be ironed out with the critical eye of a decent
discographer. Perhaps Thompson was writing to a severe deadline but
it’s a major deficiency regardless of that. He seems to have issues
with definitions of RTL and Slates, Etc.’s format. Single? EP?
Album? For the former collection’s review he’s even arguing
with himself. Now, that just comes across as being contrary, but there
are meatier inconsistencies with the format he uses. Numbering the songs
is a good idea, but there is indecision as to what’s honoured
as ‘UNR’ (ie. unreleased). I see no harm in placing ‘Hey!
Marc Riley’ within the live/studio oddities listing for 1984 (p79),
but instead it’s in the ensuing text. Why not do both? And then
we have the selective reissue and compilation information throughout
the book, which necessarily duplicates what you get in the appendices.
Hip Priests And Kamerads is introduced without any explanation on page
64, whilst ‘458489’ is snubbed from the singles listings
apparently out of page-count convenience.
Some factual errors
then… The Tube was on 24th November 1983, not in 1984. The Old
Grey Whistle Test was actually plain old ‘Whistle Test’
by the time of The Fall & Michael Clark’s 20th November 1984
appearance, which he also fails to date. Providing a sensible rather
than dismissive look at Clark’s work is to be commended in this
section, but he weirdly makes no link with the WT clip, almost as if
he hasn’t seen it. Even my mother’s seen the panto suit
and ribbons pulled from arses…
I had no idea that
the chant which opens ‘Lay Of The Land’ was from The Quatermass
Conclusion (which’ll teach me for having it on tape forever and
not watching it), but Dave Thompson should be aware that that was the
title for the subsequent TV Movie edit. The 1979 four-part serial was
plain old ‘Quatermass’, recently reissued on DVD in both
forms. Write it in the margin or something.
What else? Ah yes,
I wanted an argument with this book. I wanted something which might
spark debate a little – contain responses I don’t agree
with, rather than the superficial assertions and ridiculous comparisons
which all too often circumvent actual close criticism in A User’s
Guide… I wasn’t expecting an academic work from Thompson,
because after reading the brilliant Wreckers Of Civilisation I’m
sure we’ll get just that from Simon Ford. However, I expect some
sort of discipline and critical attitude to seep through. A User’s
Guide… is all too often swamped with the received opinion of old
music press and pub arguments. It’s strong on history, but weak
on ideas. Look at the Grotesque review – very informative as reportage
of the era, but fairly useless if you’re looking for advice or
something you might have missed.
So, not a hack’s
job, but still fairly average.
Quartet very kindly
sent me a copy of Simon Ford's book Hip Priest.
This is the book I've been waiting for ever since reading Brian Edge's
Paintwork, which it outclasses by many a mile. It's painstakingly
researched, very well written and organized, and full of information I
didn't know before. Simon really went out of his way to interview as many
people in the Fall circle as he could. I'll do a slightly longer review
when I'm not so very busy, but I just thought I'd tell you ... you're
in for a treat!
now says Country on the Click will be out August
4, but the CD's not on the upcoming release schedule. It might be
out sometime in August though.
While waiting, you
could stock up on some earlier releases. Voiceprint
are getting rid of their Fall stock now that the catalogue's been bought
by Sanctuary - all Voiceprint/Cog Sinister Fall CDs are
£4.99. However, be prepared to wait a couple of weeks (or longer)
for your shipment to arrive, and don't be surprised if your package doesn't
contain exactly what you ordered. If there's a problem with your order,
try contacting Ann Marie
posted to Fallnet:
Just got my package
from Voiceprint today, 3 and a bit weeks to arrive. Return address,
bizarrely, Malmo Sweden. Anyway, of the three spectacularly smashed
CDs inside, two of them are even the correct ones, so I suppose I was
lucky. What a fucking joke.
Thanks to Jeff:
ONTARIO SAYS UNIVERSITIES
WILL HANDLE FALL CRUSH
of Ontario says every qualified high school student who graduates this
year will get a spot in the Fall, despite a surge in enrollment.
FULL STORY: http://cbc.ca/stories/2003/06/19/doublecohort_030619
also sent in this great flier for the Cleveland show. Click the thumbnail
for an 8.5" x 11" version.
Thanks to Becky
Harris for the writing, Samantha H. for the
prodding, and Jon Anderson for the scanning of this MES
interview from Cambridgeshire's Ely Standard (May
27, 1999 p.12).
A couple of
PBL dvd reviews:
New York Times,
June 22, 2003:
One of the
year's shoddiest music DVD's is also one of the most entertaining. When
you buy "Perverted by Language/Bis + Live at Leeds" (Cherry
Red), you get no liner notes, no extra commentary and atrocious image
quality; even the credits are garbled. But this collection of manic
short films made by the Fall in the early 1980's may be the best way
to appreciate the British group's perverse charm, not least because
Mark E. Smith's ranting is best appreciated in four-minute doses. In
any case, the images here are as striking as the lyrics. For "Kicker
Conspiracy," the members swarm a soccer field while Mr. Smith turns
sports lore into a mad rush of hard consonants. In the marvelous and
disgusting clip for "Eat Y'self Fitter," he delivers a wide-ranging
monologue that includes a meditation on the futility of VCR's ("Do
you know the progs you miss / Are worse than those you single out?")
while his bandmates sit around a banquet table, drinking and then, to
put it delicately, un-drinking.
July 2003 (p.121) by Chris Mugan:
The Fall - Perverted
by Language/ Live at Leeds Cherry Red CRDVD 030
Trust the first
DVD from Britain's most cantankerous artist to arrive worse
for wear. Translation to digital for these two lo-fi video nasties
has not been smooth, though they remain worthwhile testaments to
Mark E Smith's eccentric talents at high-water marks.
From 1981, the
Leeds live set come between two classic Fall albums, the complex
Grotesque (After the Gramme) and the rollicking Hex Enduction Hour.
An intense performance is filmed in suitably claustrophobic fashion
from one camera stage right -- all you need to capture the serious
young band, that includes a green Mark Riley. They tear through the
rockabilly punk of
"Container Drivers", top-speed anthem "Totally Wired"
and a demonic "Prole Art Threat". All that is missing is
Mark E Smith sneering at them.
Basically a collection
of promo, live footage and an interview, Perverted by Language finds
Smith on unfamiliarly playful form. This is unsurprising, really, as
he had just got together with Brix. Still, for those of us used to his
increasingly clichéd behaviour, it is amazing to watch him dancing
solo in a promo for "Eat Y'Self Fitter". Nowadays you couldn't
get him on a sofa to talk in relaxed fashion about songwriting, criticism
and taking kids into pubs, so this is a perfect reminder of what we
Thanks to Jon
for scanning in this review from the July 2003 Uncut:
And a useless
dvd / Simon Ford combo review from the Guardian:
Hip Priest: The
Story of Mark E Smith and the Fall, by Simon Ford/ The Fall:
Perverted by Language/ Live at Leeds DVD
Friday June 27, 2003
The book starts
unpromisingly: "Despite all the interviews, reviews and analysis,
The Fall still defies explanation." Oh dear.
The DVD sounds even
more futile: according to the New York Times' review, this is one of
the year's "shoddiest music DVDs", with no liner notes, no
extra commentary and atrocious image quality.
So that's how the
Fall's 25-year legacy is to be celebrated in 2003 - by a book that
tells you nothing, and by an unwatchable, unlistenable DVD. It seems
After all, the Fall's
frontman Mark E Smith, that curmudgeonly old git, has maintained what
Ford calls an occult policy of secrecy throughout his career, and the
band has never bended the collective knee to consumer-friendly production
But both book and
disc turn out to be better than one might fear.
Ford's book is one
that Smith might well hate, for it eloquently unravels the band's enigma
and depicts the self-styled renegade genius as a bad-tempered despot.
And the DVD is disarmingly homespun and weird (each of the early-80s
videos is a baffling curio).
there's no space on the disc for The Lie Dream of Casino Soul, that
still-resonant defence of Wigan's lasting contribution to popular culture.
Cherry Red, £16.99
has fine-tuned the breathtakingly great discography
section and also added many updates and notes sent in by legendary TBLY
contributor Stephen Fall (real name) -- many thanks,
Fall Multimedia Project website has Touch Sensitive on the Jerry Sadowitz
show and MES accepting his Godlike Genius award at the NME Brats.
This is the latest
news and gossip off FallNet for those with weak stomachs.
If you have anything
to say, you can mail Stefan,
but you can't mail the FallNet mailing list direct anymore. To subscribe
to FallNet, send mail to fallnet-subscribe@
ATP cancelled, the fall uk, Fall books, Damo vs. USA, MCR's greatest frontman,
Meltzer, Bad Man Wagon, Adult Net debacle, comp reviews, Brix '87int.,
MES '82 int., "Idiot Joy Show"
27may03 PBL/Leeds DVD reviews, Aarhus gig,
great 1981 MES interview, Smiths Week, Woog Riots tribute, Sanctuary CDs,
Rubber Banana Fall radio show
29apr03 ATP, PoSR review, Peel Session
& Step Forward CDs, Made in the NW, Jeremy Vine show, bits
28mar03 Jim Watts sacked, Country on the
Click details, Peel Session, Turkey gig, 85 & 88 gig photos, Luz's
"The Joke" comic, Pascal LeGras new work, MES T-shirt, Fall
on emusic, Fall Tattooing rip
24feb03 news about books, Mojo top 50,
Claus Fall guitar, Beggars vids, Corsa ad link, 9feb83 + 88oct8 photos,
'78 So It Goes clip, Hanley bros interview, several early music press
scans, other bits
9jan03 Independent interview, Early Singles,
Listening In, UK chart placing history, Razor Cuts, Pascal LeGras video,
Record Collector, ring tones, Blue Orchids CDs, Peel's Fabriclive
4dec02 Electric Ballroom gig, Virgin Radio,
Fall vs. 2003, MES death row picks, Conway's wallpaper
8nov02 PPP review and lyrics, Dave Harrop,
Manchester Online soap opera
15oct02 UK gig reports, 1983 photos, Fall
20sept02 loads of upcoming releases, jigsaws,
Vauxhall advert, Mark Prindle int., couple of music press scans, Slates
movie clip, Fall Tattooing
23aug02 singles box and Totally Wired reviews,
Rocking Vicar, lots of old music press scans
reviews, 6FM mp3, Bourgeois Blues, bits
13jun02 2G+2, Wire 25th anniversay piece,
custom Fall gig, PDFs of four old articles
16may02 Blackburn, London, ATP gig reviews,
BBC 6FM, Sydney 1990 int., French cartoon
19apr02 US tour cancelled, Mojo article,
Select (June 91), bits & pieces
19mar02 Euro tour reviews, Record Collector
interview., Wire review, new Fall discog., misc.
13feb02 comp results, Athens review, Bournemouth
13jan02 Timekode, Pan, bad German translations,
NME 2/25/89 interview
02jan02 album reviews, ancient Usenet refs
12dec01 MCR gig reviews, album reviews,
28nov01 mammoth US tour edition
13nov01 first batch of AYAMW reviews, London
Forum gig reports
5nov01 Euro gig reports, Knitting Factory
19oct01 UK gig reports, studybees interview
30sep01 tour / booking details, 1979 fanzine
9sep01 not much
28aug01 Flitwick single, 82/83 gig pics
31may01 Dublin pics, Cash for Questions, Guardian
29apr01 IR, UK gig reviews
9apr01 NL gig reviews
3mar01 Dublin gig, Invisible Jukebox
28jan01 World Bewitched details
1jan01 some ace Castlefield pics
19dec00 more reviews
1dec00 tour reviews, crap interviews
10nov00 Unutterable reviews
21oct00 Stanza festival, HighSmith Teeth, comedy
11oct00 RFH reviews, new Cog Sinister releases
12sep00 DOSE interview, Fall calendar
22aug00 Portugal, Manchester gigs
9aug00 bits & pieces
23jul00 Psykick Dance Hall, Pure As Oranj details,
Triple Gang reviews
9jul00 few bits
20jun00 Ashton, Hull, Middlesbrough, Glasgow,
Edinburgh reviews, old Volume piece
30may00 LA2 reviews
22may00 few old LP reviews
2may00 bits & pieces
24apr00 TBLY #19 details, Prop details
8apr00 more Leeds reviews. WSC interview, other
26mar00 Doncaster, York, Leeds reviews, BravEar
interview (plus others)
14mar00 various reviews, old Liz Kershaw i/view
24feb00 Past Gone Mad details
13feb00 few bits & pieces
30jan00 tour details, Tommy Blake stuff
20jan00 TBLY #18 details, Hanley in Mojo
10jan00 Dragnet doylum, New Year message, etc
older news: Nov 1997 - Dec 1999