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The Fall play ...

June 19 The Casbah, San Diego, CA
June 20 The Echo, Los Angeles, CA
(doors 6:30 p.m.; advance tickets, $17+fees, available on ticketweb)
June 21 Slim's, San Francisco, CA ($21 adv., doors 8 p.m.)
June 23 Berbati's Pan, Portland, OR ($13 adv., $15 door)
June 24 Graceland, Seattle, WA
June 27 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN ($10 adv., $12 door, doors 6 p.m.)
June 28 Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL ($18, doors 10 p.m.)
June 29 Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL ($18, doors 10 p.m.)
June 30 Magic Stick, Detroit, MI ($15 adv., $17 door, doors 9 p.m.)
July 1 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH ($15 adv., $17 door, doors 9 p.m.)
July 2 (cancelled) Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON
July 4 (cancelled) Cafe Campus, Montreal, QC
tour reports for the following gigs are on the current Fall News
July 5 Middle East, Cambridge, MA ($15, doors 8 p.m.)
July 6 Knitting Factory, New York, NY ($18 adv., $20 door, doors 8:30 p.m.)
July 7 Knitting Factory, New York, NY ($18 adv., $20 door, doors 8:30 p.m.)
July 9 Theater of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA
July 10 Black Cat, Washington, DC ($15 adv., doors 8:30)
July 11 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC ($13 adv., $15 door, doors 8:30 p.m.)
July 12 Echo Lounge, Atlanta, GA ($15, doors 9 p.m.)
July 13 The Parish at the House of Blues, New Orleans, LA ($12, doors 8 p.m.)
July 15 Numbers Night Club, Houston, TX (doors 8 p.m.)
July 16 Emo's, Austin, TX ($11.75 adv., tix available here)
July 17 Gypsy Tea Room, Dallas, TX ($12 adv., doors 8 p.m.)
July 27 Coliseu do Porto, Porto, Portugal
July 28 Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal


US tour reports (June 19 - July 1; see current Fall News issue for later gigs):

June 19 - The Casbah, San Diego:


> Where is the Fall Review.

In four words, the Jet Lag Nationals.

> Did MES make it?


> 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 ahead...

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 end!

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 further ado:

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 so far)
- 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 Smith)
- 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)
- Contraflow
- 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 on me.

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.

International Megastar Mike Major:

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 heard it.

[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 Benson?]

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.


June 20 - The Echo, Los Angeles:

Many thanks to Eric Werner for the setlist and Dave Ehrlich for the photos:

Skip King:

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: Panzer)
1. Behind The Counter
2. Telephone Thing
3. ?
4. ?
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
12. ?

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 message board):

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 much.

Fantastic experience. 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 stand.

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 groove-ily metronomic.

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.

The set:

1 -- Behind The Counter
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

addendum: During 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 message board):

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 Lara?

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 masses!!


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 no! Cheers!

Steven Mirkin, from Variety:

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 line-ups)
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.

Celebrating their 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.

Franklin Bruno, from the LA Weekly:

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 40 seconds.

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 equipment.

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."


June 21 - Slim's, San Francisco:

Claudio kindly sent in a Quicktime clip of Telephone Thing.

Sean Ingram:

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!")
Telephone Thing
Protein Protection
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 -
Bourgeois Town
Mountain Energei
Green-Eyed Locoman
Mr. Pharmacist (Very good version, better than on record I think)
Theme From Sparta F.C. (Amazing)
I Am Damo Suzuki
Encore -
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?

Mark H:

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).

Very enthusiastic 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 can remember:

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
Foldin Money
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.

DQuinn (from 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 5.


Saturday night's 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:

Zmrzlina (opening band)
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 again.

-Waiting Period-
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.

Telephone Thing
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 Man
is it about weed? nobody knows, or remembers anyway. the rising guitar chord progression during the chorus really does it for me - even better live.

Foldin Money
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.

Bourgoise Town
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.

Mr. Pharmacist
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.

Sparta FC
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..."

Dr. Bucks
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.

Aftershow Scooter Accident
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.

Adam, who kindly sent in these photos as well:

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.

Thankfully, the 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..."


June 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.

Avalon Kalin:

"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 Seattle.

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 "God Bless."

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!


June 24 - Graceland, Seattle:

From The Stranger - Seattle weekly music/arts newspaper/magazine (thanks to Jack for sending it in):

THE FALL, KRMTX (Graceland)
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:


Proxemac (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 D.


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!

* Paul 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.

Lancelot Lovejoy (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.


June 27 - First Avenue, Minneapolis:

From the Twin Cities's City Pages:

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.

"They never 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
Telephone Thing
Green-Eyed Loco Man
Mountain Energei
* F-oldin' Money is started & then cut off by MES after a few seconds *
And Therein
F-oldin' Money >
Bourgeois Town
Last Commands Of XYRALOTHEP Via M.E.S.
Theme From Sparta F.C.
Janet Vs. Johnny
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
Mr. Pharmacist
I Am Damo Suzuki
Big New Prinz
1st encore:
Dr. Bucks' Letter
2nd encore:
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:

Way Round
There's A Ghost In My House

Delightful surprises each. A fantastic show all around, and exhilirating from Mere Pseud onward.

Arid Al:

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)

Blacknightcrash (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.

zom-zom (from 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)

Onethousandfingers (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 terribly strong.


June 28 - Empty Bottle, Chicago:

Many thanks to Bob Gilroy for these photos.

Onethousandfingers (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
Telephone Thing
Green-Eyed Loco Man
And Therein
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.
Sparta FC
Last Commands of Xyarlothotep via MES
F-oldin Money /Kick The Can
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
Protein protection
I Am Damo Suzuki
Mr Pharmacist
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 wait began.

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 Tribune:

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 Popmatters site.


June 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:

Bourgeois Town
Telephone Thing
Green Eyed Loco Man
And Therein
F-oldin Money
Mr. Pharmacist
Sparta FC
Way Round
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
Janet Vs. Johnny
Touch Sensitive
Mountain energei
Last Commands Of Xyralothep
I Am Damo Suzuki
New Big Prinz
Dr. Buck's Letter

Incredible show. 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 post-nearly man
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.

highlights included:
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 singing.

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

Highlights included Sparta FC, F-Oldin Money, Dr Buck, and Touch Sensitive. Sorry Saturday folks, but most of Sunday's renditions trumped Saturday's. Livelier and such.

Random happenings:

- 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 of Saturday

Ah, and as good as the shows were, I liked San Francisco 2001 better--do the west coasters who saw both tours agree?


June 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 order:

Touch Sensitive
Telephone Thing
F-oldin Money
Green Eyed Loco Man
And Therein
Mr. Pharmacist
Sparta FC
Way Round
Mere Pseud Mag Ed
Last Commands Of Xyralothep
Mountain Energei
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.

"Damo" 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 add.

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 in midstream.

Now my impression from him was that he was awful, and my impression of me was that I was great.

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.


July 1 - Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland:

A review from the Cleveland Free Press (thanks to Pakrin for sending it in).

Pakrin (from the message board):

Well, I’ve 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….

Outstanding! About 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 complete order
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 sound.
- 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?

Looking forward to OJ's pictures.

OJ's 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).

Other John:

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 The Onion
:) <---his gormless mark

Belovarac (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 stage.

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
telephone thing
green eyed loco man
and therein
mere pseud mag ed
last commands of xyralothep
f'oldin money/kick the can
janet vs johnny
sparta fc
touch sensitive
mr pharmacist
new big prinz
way round
i am damo suzuki
bourgeois town


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 show -

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 time being.

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 the Fall.

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.

The keyboardist 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 song.

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 tunes.

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.

Miscellaneous points: 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.


Jim Watts recently interviewed John French of the Magic Band and the transcript is up on Playlouder.com. It's a great interview, too.


Pitchfork Media has once again shamelessly co-opted the recent Fall News and regurgitated it onto their site. Thanks.


User Guide reviews:

The Wire - Issue 233 - July 2003:

A User's Guide to The Fall
Dave Thompson
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.

Arranged chronologically, 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).

Further appendices 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.

Ian Greaves:

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.

Thompson’s 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 decent FAQ.

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!


sorry it's so small - it's the only image I could find on the web Amazon 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 at Voiceprint.

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:


The government 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


Jeff 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.

Record Collector 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 are missing.

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

Stuart Jeffries
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 somehow fitting.

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 values.

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).

Vexingly, though, 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.

Quartet, £14; Cherry Red, £16.99


Conway 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, Stephen!


Steven Bending's wonderful The Fall Multimedia Project website has Touch Sensitive on the Jerry Sadowitz show and MES accepting his Godlike Genius award at the NME Brats.





July 1, 2003

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@ yahoogroups.com.

ta to biv for this

Recent news...

19jun03 Canada, 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 press kit
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
3july02 2G+2 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 Runner, Pan
13jan02 Timekode, Pan, bad German translations, NME 2/25/89 interview
02jan02 album reviews, ancient Usenet refs
12dec01 MCR gig reviews, album reviews, Pan
28nov01 mammoth US tour edition
13nov01 first batch of AYAMW reviews, London Forum gig reports
5nov01 Euro gig reports, Knitting Factory Knotes interview
19oct01 UK gig reports, studybees interview
30sep01 tour / booking details, 1979 fanzine interview
9sep01 not much
28aug01 Flitwick single, 82/83 gig pics
27jun01 Faustus
31may01 Dublin pics, Cash for Questions, Guardian interview
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 dogs
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 interview snippets
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