Fall News

Fall home
msg. board


The Fall play ...

Sept. 29 Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal (20 euros, doors 8 p.m., Fall on stage 10 p.m.) (note: the Porto gig on Sept. 28 has been cancelled - not sure if tickets are valid for the Centro gig or not, so check with the venue)
Oct. 1

Bierkeller, Manchester (£12 + booking fee, tickets from Ticketline, doors 8 p.m.). The Pubic Fringe to open. Thanks to Simon for the poster.

Oct. 2 Bierkeller, Manchester (£12 + booking fee, tickets from Ticketline, doors 8 p.m.). Supporting are Steve Evets' band Dr. Freak's Padded Cell.
Oct. 8 Irish Centre, Leeds (£12 adv, £14 door), supported by Being 747.
Oct. 27 HMV, 90-100 Market Street, Manchester (6pm - live set followed by autographing)
Dec. 7 Carling Academy, Islington, London N1 (£12 adv). According to their site: "Mark E. Smith presents The Fall, John Cooper Clarke, and Heist."

Upcoming releases:

"The Real New Fall L.P. (Formerly Country On The Click)" release date is Monday, October 27 for both CD (£10.99) and LP editions (£11.99). Full details are on Conway's handy promo page.

And there's a single out on Action December 8 -- tracks are:

(We wish) 4 U a Protein Christmas
Girl in Shop
(We Are) mod-mock.goth
Recovery Kit 2 #

Ben Pritchard:

Mark wanted to release an xmas single so we went into the studio and did a remix of Protein Protein (with interesting results). Two brand new tracks and an alternative version of Recovery Kit from the one on the album. There is a concept idea in the single somewhere, Mark was the driving force behind= it. I am still trying to figure it out!!!! Take it easy.

Contraflow was "reviewed" on the October 3 Roundtable (a BBC 6 Music radio show) -- you can listen to it here (it starts at 19:52:00). They also played a bit of Ho(e)uston (written by Lee Hazlewood for Dean Martin).


Scooped again by Playlouder.com!:

The Fall are to play HMV Manchester on the 27th of October, and they'll be signing copies of their excellent new album "The Real New Fall LP" afterwards.

HMV in Manchester is at the following:

90 / 100 Market Street,
Manchester M1 1PD

Time: 6.00pm


From Jim's friend at playlouder.com:

PlayLouder has heard the brand new Fall album, and we're pleased to say it's their best in years. Seriously guvnor - it's brilliant.

'The Real New Fall Album' will be coming out on the 27th of October, produced by Grant Showbiz.

The original version surfaced some time in February, and was leaked onto the internet. At the time it was to be called 'Country on the Click', and was mixed by bassist Jim Watts. Since then Watts has left The Fall, and Mark E. Smith has taken it upon himself to remix the album dilligently "rather than just going 'ah fuck it, that'll do'" said an insider.

The tracklisting, for their most accessible record in years, released through Action Records is as follows:

1. Green Eyed Loco Man
2. Mountain Energei
3. Theme from Sparta FC
4. Contraflow
5. Last Commands of XYRALOTHEP via M.E.S
6. Janet vs Jane and Johny
7. The Past
8. Boxoctosis
9. Ho(e)uston
10. Mike's Love Xexagon
11. Protein Protection
12. Recovery Kit


Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal, Sept. 29, 2003:

The setlist, very similar to the US tour with the addition of Boxoctosis. Many thanks to Nuno:

Behind the Counter / Telephone Thing / Green Eyed Loco Man / Mountain Energei / F-Oldin' Money > Kick the Can / Contraflow / Boxoctosis / Theme from Sparta FC / Mere Pseud Mag Ed / Mr. Pharmacist / Janet vs Johnny / New Big Prinz // White Lightning / Dr. Buck's Letter // Way Round

Nuno's written a review in Portuguese here. He's translating it into English for me, I hope*. It suggests that Steve Evets played bass, but I've been assured that Dingo is still in the band.

* Four Foot Vauxhall Carton from the message board tackled a translation of Nuno's review:

Took me hours this!

The CCB was a strange choice of venue for The Fall. The comfortable armchairs did not suit the sense of anticipation. The room, initially quite empty, did not fill, but it had a decent sized crowd ready to receive the band.

The troops entered first: Steve Evets [it was Dingo, not Evets - Stefan], Dave Milner, Ben Pritchard, and Eleanor Smith (keyboards). They began with the intro to "Behind the Counter". Mark E. Smith walked on eventually. With it, the crowd started to abandon the chairs and moved ahead to what passed for a moshpit. MES looked leaner, but with a bored expression. A garage rendition of "Telephone Thing", showed that currently the Fall are practically electrónica free. MES started his traditional microphone antics. None seemed to satisfy him. Occasionally he abandoned them completely and continued to sing. Other times he left them on the keyboards, in the pit, not giving the roadies any peace.

After a couple of older tracks, the time came to preview some of the very promising new album. A first medley included one brilliant "Green Eyed Loco Man" and a "Mountain Energei" which did not include the threatening keyboards of Eleanor Smith. MES discovered another playful activity on stage: to mess around with the buttons of the amplifiers of the guitar and bass, causing complete chaos for Ben and Steve so much that, inbetween songs, they desperately tried to reset the things.

Old favourites would follow: "Mere Pseud Mag Ed", the oldest from their back catalogue, followed by the popular "Mr. Pharmacist " which was well received by the relieved public, in delirium. Unhappily the microphone problems had come back during "Janet versus Johnny", also from their new album . It was a mike-free performance, as MES had exhausted all microphones. As ever they ended with "New Big Prinz". The crowd received a hypnotic drawn out version - as the public proved that the “He is not appreciated” was not applicable to them cheering them on for an encore, the band returned for two songs: the rockabilly "White Lightning", in an almost thrash version, and "Dr. Buck's Letter " that, more electric than electrónica, did not work out as MES, by now exasperated with the microphone problems walked off and the song finished something incomplete.

The band came back for a second encore after a long wait. But they could have had many. All in all, and taking into account the many personnel disruptions it was a great show despite ending with a lacklustre "Way Round". The public still asked for one third encore, but the lights of the room had been lit, ending this spectacular show.

The Fall had made the peace with the Portuguese public, after their problematic visits in the past. The energy in them seems inexhaustible, the new songs shows a return of the band to a form they have not known since “The Unutterable”. The behaviour onstage of Mark E. Smith is as strange as ever. You pay your money and you know what youre going to get.

The crowd loved what the band were prepared to give them: a merge of "F-Old Money" and "Kick The Can", sped up and explosive, preceded already by the mythical “Good evening, we are The Fall.” They returned more to the new album with three songs: "Contraflow", "Boxoctosis" and "Theme From Sparta FC". The ability of the latest recruits to the MES ranks is great, with special praise for the bassist. In the drumseat, Dave Milner marked the traditional Fall groove, also participating in the choruses. Ben Pritchard, beyond being an excellent guitarist, also seems to be a very affable type, to judge for the bonhomie with which he tolerates the provocations of the Master (insults, hitting with microphone, pinching the face...).


"Centro Cultural de Belem" seemed like the last place on earth to see a Fall gig, a very art conscious, snob type of place, certainly not much rock predisposed. The band hadn't played for about 2 months, there were rumors that the concert in Porto had been cancelled due to only 12 tickets being sold (though this was about a month before the show!). The perspectives weren't very good!

I went with 2 friends, one as crazy by The Fall as I am, the other not much into it but extremely open minded, musically wise. And we were in the first row. Yes! It was chairs for everybody and there was a small pit in front of the stage, probably for an orchestra!

After a poor act that went almost unnoticed, lasted some 20 minutes only, and didn't had any thing to do with the band to which they were opening (let's mention their names, just cause they're young, and some friends of mine know them: Jaguar), I notice that the room, large and with excellent sound conditions, begun to look composed.

Several hundred people were there, maybe a thousand, I can't tell for sure. Most of them seemed to be waiting maybe for a sort of revival group, back from the eighties and late seventies, some old punk glory who had lost it's edge and direction (like all groups from that time eventually did?). And then again, I guess some people go to see just about every show, if they feel it might be cool. Who knows? I'm speculating.

At the far right side of the stage there was an extremely tiny synthesizer. I've read the comments on the US tour here in the Fallnet, but I never thought it could actually be that small! I was waiting to hear some spoken word tape introduction, from "Pander, Panda, Panzer", but nothing of the sort happened.

The band comes in, discretely but confident, and after a few seconds I realize they've thrown themselves brutally against "Behind the Counter". I look over to my friend with a huge smile on my face, as if I just had great sex, and something snaps in my brain. In less than a minute, all the people from the first rows stand up automatically and stand close to the stage. We are also there.

Mark E. Smith comes in and is welcomed like a rock god, which in fact he is, although he also looks like a tiny, thin man someone just dragged from the pub and isn't very much sure where the hell he is . The band is playing as tight and hard as nothing I ever heard. I'd seen them 3 years ago, also in Portugal, but these guys play at least 10 times better. They are totally focused, the sound just hits you in the pit of the stomach and this huge massive beat goes on forever (sometimes too long, but I'll talk about it later), relentlessly and unforgiving. I believe only The Stooges ever did anything quite like it, but that's just my opinion.

During the first 5 or 6 songs they are absolutely unbelievable! The keyboards are heard loud and clear, sometimes even over the guitar, and they perfectly add that extra aural dimension which, to me, is everything The Fall is about, and that I didn't heard 3 years ago, even though Julia Nagle was there. The bass and guitar are as close together as (I know it seems a heresy, but it's true) Hanley and Scanlon might have been. The drummer just keeps the beat in perfect time, solid and straight, even though I sometimes wished he played a little bit more around it, but I do not believe those are Mark's instructions.

The control he has over that band is sometimes unbelievable. I know a lot of people said it already, and in better ways, but it's mind blowing to see. Each time he goes to the bass amplifier, it just sounds louder, more distorted, stronger and BETTER. This I also felt, 3 years back, in "Arcos de Valdevez ", in the North of Portugal.

Midway through Telephone Thing, the way Mark was singing "I heard you Telephone Thing/ I…..sensed you!" makes me think of his alleged youth psychic powers and sends shivers down my spine. As H. P. Lovecraft always said "there are things that are best left alone". Even though this is not in any way one of my favorite Fall songs, it was delivered with strength and conviction as almost every one of them.

Green-Eyed Loco Man, which I hadn't heard before, was probably the best song of the evening, and it was played with care and mastery. I think the guitarist does a great job, and he is clearly very skilled, in a conventional way. This song just reminds me that in the heart of each Fall tune there is, deep down there, a pure pop genius, waiting to be found. Then Mountain Energy was almost as good and seemed to have some very funny lyrics. I even thought I saw Mark rehearsing 2 or 3 dance steps at the beginning of one of these tunes, but I was obviously hallucinating.

A very fast Foldin' Money followed, but here not even half of the lyrics which appear on the record were sung. He just kept saying 3 or 4 verses on and on, and it was probably, for me, the first negative point of the show.

Now is the time to say that I, and also my friends, sensed a strong smell of wine some of the times that Mark was closest and with his mouth open. But since there were people close to me who also had drank, I will not speak a bad word of the Great Man. Although he had clearly heavily touched the stuff.

Kick The Can went after Foldin', medley like, and Elena added a lot of backing vocals. Mark seemed to be playing with her, singing the chorus, making her sing, and then shutting up, just like little kids some times do, in order to embarrass others. But truth be said she stood her ground magnificently, and in a very dignified way. She was wearing a short dress, leaving part of her shoulders bare, in black and white, with some spots pattern, I think, and very pointed high heel shoes. And she is extremely beautiful, adding a great visual element to the band. She looked very concentrated and professional, like all the band, but when the keyboards started to be less heard it seems her attention might have drifted out a bit, understandingly.

The band was relaxed and in a good mood, but Mark had by now long started looking for new mikes everywhere, stealing them from Ben or from the drums set. (Does he really forget where they are?!) I think he tries to make his voice sound in as many different ways as possible, and sometimes he didn't even use a mike, shouting or mumbling his lyrics to the audience, all the time gesturing. The thing is that, in the process, he generates a great deal of havoc and a lot of tangled wires. The microphone stand spent almost the whole gig on the ground.

After those first songs, things begun to Fall apart a lot. Mark would stop singing for long periods, leaving the band pretty much to themselves, and that's when the repetition would sometimes be just too much.

In Sparta FC, everyone in the band sang, except for the bassist, and they seemed genuinely pleased about it. Mark also would smile to them sometimes, although he also tried to punch, jokingly, Ben and throw him things. In one of the songs, the drum player lost one stick, and after a while Mark threw it to the audience, cheerfully, which is something I never expected to see. He almost didn't stare at the back of his hand, and at his nails, as he'd done the last time I saw him.

In Big New Printz, the beat was obviously abrasive, but the band played for maybe 5 minutes till Mark decided (condescended?) to join them. He was busy hitting some drums in a haphazard way, which nevertheless sounded great (reminding me of Tempo House! ). Then he seemed to want the audience to sing, but he didn't directed things to well, in my opinion. I even shouted the "appreciated" bit a few times, after "he is not…..", but just felt silly. After a while Mark gives the mike to the audience and this guy starts yelling his lungs out in a way which fitted oddly with the backbeat. I think the song lasted for more than 10 minutes, maybe 15.

There were no Paintwork, Damo Suzuki or Ghost in my House, all songs I really love and were played in the US tour, and at least half of the stuff was new to me. There was a song which had the line "You are now descending (baby)" sung a lot of times.

They played Mr. Pharmacist, which was great, but midway he decided to turn down Ben's amp, which I swear that actually fit well, even though it broke the song in two. The bass and drums really kept it from falling apart, while Pritchard would be thinking "what the hell am I gonna DO with this guy?", trying not to look too pissed off.

Meanwhile the keyboards would come in and out of the mix, but unfortunately out most of the time. Mark smiled to her maybe twice and even took the care once to pass his knuckles over the keys in a "let's-see-if-this-is-working-after-all" sort of way, while Elena carefully tried do send him away, as you do to an insisting child.

There was a lot of really young people (I'm 27, so I guess it's relative, actually), who seemed to be totally enjoying the gig. Some guy asked me wouldn't it be great to go upstage and I said no. Sometimes it's just better to watch. Oh, and my best friend spent all the time screaming his lungs out almost histerically, but he only does it when he's really enjoying the show. That's just his way.

After a short break they returned for the first encore and played a good White Lightning which really works live, even though it's not such a great song. Followed by an hypnotic Dr. Buck's Letter, really abrasive once again, which ended first with just bass and guitar playing the main riff over and over, and finally just Ben, acting out the "Repetition in the music/And we're never gonna loose it" philosophy perfectly.

The crowd shouted even more than they had the first time, and for what seemed like a very, very long time. They came and played a beautiful "Way Round" which was a perfect way to end the evening. One of my favorite songs from the more recent times, with Mark shouting endlessly and in a very earnest way "I just can't find my way/ I just can't find my way…….Round".

The show didn't last more than 80 minutes and I guess most people were disappointed, at least the really hard core fans, and there seemed to be a lot of them. They could have played a bit more! In the end, me and my friends decided that this was probably the most professional gig he could pull out, and I must confess that, since I went ready for anything, I was very positively surprised. I just hope he'll keep these musicians for some time more, because they are one of the best bands I've ever seen live. And the keyboards should be heard all the time. I think they're terrific, really.

To sum it all up, one of the best gigs I ever saw, although with its (lots of) ups and downs, in a Fall sort of way, and I strongly advise everyone to see these guys as soon as they can (before they all get sacked up? I mean, it's just like football teams, isn't it? When you're starting to know and love the players, "They" go and change it all up again, the bastards!)

As final comments I'd like to say that it's probably a nightmare to play alongside with that guy and it takes very special people to put up with it. Then again, not many people at the end of their lives can say they've worked with a genius and played a part in the making of some of the most vital and beautiful music ever done.

So I reckon everything balances, in the long run. Life Just Bounces.

List of songs went more or less like this:

Behind the Counter
Telephone Thing
Green-Eyed Loco man
Mountain Energy
(?) Foldin' Money/ Kick the can
(something with a chorus that looked like "beat the box" ??)
Sparta FC
Locust (?)
Janet vs Johnny
Mr. Pharmacist
Big New Printz
(and probably two or three more, which I don't know or can't remember)

White Lightning
Dr. Buck's Letter

Way Round

And thanks to João Maio Pinto for the ticket.


Bierkeller, Manchester, October 1, 2003:

Many thanks to Gordon of Action Records for these photos (and the setlist). According to a Fallnet post the encore was White Lightning, they didn't play Sparta FC, and Green Eyed Loco Man was preceded by Grooving With Mr. Bloe à la February Peel session.

Many thanks to David for scanning in this flyer from one of the recent gigs. Click the image for a larger version.


yer, although I barely manage to check the set, a nice slow one, that went on a bit long (for me) that I hadn't heard before, and the usual set that they seem to be doing at the mo, Prinz, Counter, Mere Pseud, (which I thought was good ),Dr Bucks, but having said that. I was hugged and kissed by so many people, i almost felt famous.. Kier, from dose, Jim was telling us about the new album, Damon Gough (aka badly drawn boy).. Caroline of course who was dancing her socks off, Rob Waite and his Missus, who it was lovely to see (Biggest Library Yet) and lots of other people there, Alan Wise promoting!! (early Factory promoter) the exotic John Robb and his laydee, and my gorgeous boyfriend who I would have ran a mile if he weren't with me..


Bierkeller, Manchester, October 2, 2003:

Thanks to Jon for these three photos.


I just got back from the bier keller for the 2nd of the 2 manchester dates

I managed to get in on the door ok - tshirt stand had 2G+2 and Panda etc cds for a fiver each - so i picked up the latter mentioned later

the support group was more "interesting" than the usual fare - some of the lyrics were rather trite tho - and they swore too much

next was a visit to the bar for a 1/2 litre of the germ beer - which was ok

backing tape of Panda then started so everyone cheered and got ready for the show, and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited for what felt like about 1/2 an hour while the PPP cd blared from the speakers - not sure about other members of the audience but this did make me suspect that the ensuing show would involve a very drunk marky falling into drums etc. it also made me regret spending £5 on the cd in my hand

fortunately i was wrong - the band came out and sang a song about opening a box, then telephone thing, then mr blow into locoman. everyone sounded tight and mark looked to be in a really good mood - maybe new mrs smith doesnt let him drink before performances? only negative point was the sound which - especially during the first few songs - contained many bursts of ear killing feedback

psued mag, bourgoise town, janet, and sparta all followed and all were good - mr pharmacist put in an suprise appearance and was cracking.

gig ended (for me) with big prinz with mark passing the mic and ending up with 3 audience members onstage yelling with him - usually this kind of shit gets on my tits but mark seemed in a really laid back and smiley mood - it was really nice to see the gnarly old bastard appear to enjoy being on stage.

i wasnt going to go to this gig until i changed my mind at 8pm tonight and drove into town tonight and even before it started i thought it would be a real letdown - but i was wrong - it was great

Barmy (from the message board):

Completely agree it was storming. Back to piss stinking cellars for the Fall. I thought they'd be a stadium band by now. I haven't seen them for years (sorry) but I did spend my 21st birthday watching the Kurious Oranj ballet in it's original run (does that count? ) and faithfully attended the Frenz Experiment promo at HMV Oxford St.

I was thrilled to see the three-foot high stage knowing it would mean I could get right in on the action. Last time I saw them at the Ritz (i think) they were on a much higher pedestal. In fact technically the last time I saw M.E.S was when he crossed at the lights in front of my car (post-pub no doubt) as I was headed for Prestwich Tesco . Unfortunately or fortunately I am now too old to slamdance (as it was know in the olden days - I believe it is moshing now ) so had to make do with stage right and ear drilling P.A noise.

Yes, the support band where iffy. All Happy Madchester Mondays but much too late, having missed that boat. Why do people insist on talking/singing in American accents and then surprising us with their broad Manc between-song banter. Female singer was marvellous and the last song was very good where they finally got their groove and the lyrics became less trite and quite inspiring.

£5.50 for a drink! I suppose it was quite large but tasted very watery and low in alcohol; plus it took four years to get served!

Ah, but The Fall. What a powerhouse! Still got that bass and drums locked up tight and some fabulous guitar work. Mark was as enigmatic as ever, it was great to be three feet from that deadpan sneer. I sure he was staring into my soul.

Big New Prinz was the highlight for me and I could have done without the stage invasion but it was a good way to end the gig, I suppose. That over enthusiastic guy with the big hair was in the queue outside and said he'd never seen the Fall before (so he seemed to be unqualified to take over the entire show!) maybe I got him mixed up with someone else.

Oh, and three more songs would have made it perfect.

And I saw M.E.S smile and I got 2G + 2 for a fiver!


First thing: someone should tell the Bierkeller that gigs and glass don't mix; it's one thing to be skidding around on abandoned Bud and Becks bottles (a mere £3 each) but when the stone floor is littered with enormous two-pint steins, I start to get a bit edgy. Nevertheless, the place has a cool underground sort of vibe and despite the multiple pillars seemed to offer better visibility than the nearby Roadhouse.

As has already been noted, ridiculously long wait for the band to take the stage following the support. Seemed like the majority of PPP got played during the gap and I didn't particularly like the meathead cheerleader bloke who kept popping up encouraging us to shout for MES and referring to the ticket-holders as "a bunch of losers." Band take the stage just before 11 and start with a new one ("open the box..." -sorry, not too familiar with the new stuff.) MES comes on looking at least 200% better than in the recent Uncut pics, dead energetic, nice clean hair and a purposeful "Good evening, we are the Fall!". Worryingly, he appeared to have his V-neck jumper the wrong way round but my mates claim he was actually wearing a cravat. Not sure which is most unlikely. Then Telephone Thing, never one of my favourites and generally quite weak live but it sounded bloody good on the night and was one of the very few songs in which you could discern the keyboards. After Bloe/Loco Man I was slightly taken aback to hear Smith say "So nice to be here, in the hometown" apparently without irony; only the second time I've ever heard him address an audience with anything other then bile.

After hearing the tapes of recent gigs, I was half-dreading the stripped-down Behind the Counter but the one thing the bootlegs don't convey is the sheer physicality of that riff, like being repeatedly smacked in the face with a brick. Fucking fantastic. And then, surreally, MES pipes up: "Trebor mints are a minty bit stronger, stick em up your arse and they last a bit longer" while the band launch into Bourgeois Town. Again, another song I've never really 'got' but this time around something clicked. Must be something in that German lager.

A run of new ones, then a crowd-pleasing romp through Mere Pseud Mag Ed which eventually descended into a glorious miasma of metallic guitar. Ace. Mr Pharmacist came as a bit of a surprise, MES evidently singing the first line off-mike. Janet and Johnny sounded good but was a curiously low-key end to the main set.

A brief wait, then back for Big New Prinz - a definite highlight. Mrs Smith was bopping up and down, grinning like a loon at the beginning but soon caught herself and regained her ice maiden poise. The mic-passing ended up with some extremely studenty-looking students getting up on stage but rather than removing them, MES gleefully screamed along, even getting into a huddle with them at one point. A great moment and perhaps the correct one to end the gig on but with a grim inevitability they somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of almost-certain victory.

For some reason, the students got left on stage while MES slipped away and treated us all to a karaoke Dr Buck's Letter. Quite why the band played on while these obnoxious extroverts cavorted around is beyond me. They only seemed to know "I lost my temper with a friend" so spent the rest of the time reeling off old song titles. Brilliant. Unforgivably, to my mind at least, one of them even announced "Good evening, we are the Fall." How I restrained my self from launching one of those two-pint steins, I'll never know. Twats.

A bloody shame the gig should end like this because all was more than well beforehand. I've never seen MES so happy on stage and in marked contrast to the last couple of times I've seen the band, he was constantly spewing and improvising lyrics, an extremely welcome change to the endless repetition he had been getting into. A minimum of amp-fiddling, though it made precious little difference through the Bierkeller's wretched sound system - the vocals were often distorted, it took almost half the gig to silence the feedback plus the keyboards and backing vocals were mixed far too low.

And they probably could've stood a longer set; even with the gap before the encore and the Buck travesty, they didn't manage sixty minutes. That said, I feel more positive about the Fall than I have for about two years. I don't think they're firing on all cylinders just yet but a couple of gigs down the road they're gonna be awesome. Go see.

Boxoctosis / Telephone Thing / Mr Bloe-Loco Man / Behind the Counter / Bourgeois Town / Contraflow / Ho(e)uston / Sparta FC / Mere Pseud / Pharmacist /Janet vs Johnny / Big New Prinz / Dr Buck


The Fall at Cool (aka the Bierkeller) Manchester UK 02 October 2003.

I arrive in Manchester a little later than planned, due to the second rate public transport system. Met with friends in Wetherspoons and soon realised exactly what I didn't like about this part of town. The clientele - attracted by cheap booze - were a mixture of old codgers, young drunks, the odd pimp + floozy and some guys counting lots of money(?) I had on the wrong shirt and should have worn Eminem or Slipnot rather than Chumbawamba......it got some real drunken scowls.

We were un-nerved by the atmosphere, had a swift drink and headed for the door. Next into the Piccadilly Tavern to see if we could find Yousef. This was BETTER..... we sat down and could relax without people glaring at us. Had a couple of beers and then realised that it was 10:15 and we should be heading for t'club. At Cool(yeh...right) they had the house full signs up. I wondered if "The Fall - Sold Out" sign was an omen.

The bouncers were making a bit on the side, by letting people pay even though all the tickets had gone. This resulted in far too many people packed into the tiny basement venue. As I came down the stairs into the room I started to feel queezy. I had last visited this venue over 20 years ago on a stag night and vowed never to return. It was then a popular German style beer house complete with dodgy food, steins of beer and an Ooompah band. I half expected to hear them as support to the Fall. That night I was really ill from over consumption and my music appreciation took weeks to recover from the blarting Bavarian polkas.

I took a deep breath and stepped into the room. Little had changed, only they'd got rid of a lot of wooden benches so that they could cram 'em in. I could hear a support band racket coming from the stage but couldn't see a thing. We couldn't even find the bar at first - it was that packed. I immediately bumped into fellow Bombastards Simon & Yousef and we had a brief conversation, and I headed to the bar expecting to get served. This was almost impossible. What a crap venue for a gig. Five deep at the bar, about 3 staff serving and crap acoustics if the support band was anything to go by.

In a recent interview MES said that he picked that venue because the students wouldn't go there. Well that looked about right, the usual die-hard Fall fans, many whom I now recognise. Took 20mins to get a beer, then the lights went down and MES's Panda ramblings blarted out of the PA. We assumed this was the "play on" for the band.... but it continued for ages. The occasional irritated Fall fan jumped on stage and shouted through the mic, which relieved the boredom. The poor sound guy couldn't see what was happening. The ceiling is so low and the stage only about a foot high - the bodies were packed in front of him. He was using his mobile phone to find out when the band were coming on and what was happening on stage...... chaotic. I noticed he put the phone down, smiled and looked relieved towards the stage. THIS WAS IT and we pushed forward over the broken bottles and glasses. The band were on and straight into it - no messing. My first glimpse of the new Mrs Smith and I was surprised that she looked OK - for him :o)

After around 3 mins MES came on and mumbled "we are the Fall" and they were away. A lively starter that I didn't recognise. Presume it was one of a few songs from the new album. The sound at this point was awful and boomy with occasional screeches of feedback. The acoustics in the place are terrible and the sound engineer appeared to be having a real grapple with the mixer. To compound things MES was doing his usual walk about which was adding to the problems because the engineer couldn't see the stage or MES to drop the monitor volume when Smith was pointing the mic at it. On the plus side the band played good and tight and MES looked healthier than I've seen him for some time. Elenor must be doing something right.

I'm not familiar with this band line-up. Obviously not Jim on bass, but I may have seen the guitarist before. The drummer, who I couldn't see, had a great powerful style - which was a highlight for me. Elenor looked deadpan and inscrutable throughout and the keyboards were VERY low in the mix - a sensible option, I think.

Second up was a super funky Telephone Thing. A surprise for me as this is the first time I can remember hearing this song live. This was a good version. The sound was beginning to get a little better, but things didn't improve drastically. I don't think any blame can be laid with the band/engineer or PA for this. It was just a sh*t sounding venue with too many bodies in the way. At the back of the room it sounded like a miked up ghetto blaster.

Some songs appeared that I didn't know but we were treated to a cracking version of Bourgeois Town, which was really fast compared to the album. Mr Pharmacist was rocky and well received. Nice to hear Other Side of the Counter and the punky football chants of Sparta FC(a first for me). Groovin with Mr B and Loco Man were also good versions.

I was just getting warmed up when BANG, it was all over. A short 50 minute set. The band came back and I went to catch a quiet moment at the bar. When I got back MES had tired of Big Prinz and handed the mic over to the audience. A few got up on stage and we had a Fall karaoke. Smith left 'em to it, and to their credit the band played on relentless over the various grunts and groans. It was amazing that they even seemed to know which part of the song they were in. I'd completely lost track. I thought I saw a flicker of concern cross Elenor's brow when the stage was getting packed, but she kept pressing those silent keys like a trouper. The band even started up an extra(bonus?) karaoke song to give the punters another crack. Can you imagine this at an REM gig. Stipe vacating the stage and punters queuing up to sing Loosing My Religion or Shiny Happy People with the band. Very liberating..... more bands should do this.

Despite the howls for more, that was it. An hour tops. I'm just glad I didn't get into Cool earlier, I'd had enough of the place by that time.

Summary is sh*t venue, sh*t service(rip off prices), sh*t sound but amazingly an enjoyable performance. Band sounded good and well rehearsed, MES looked good and was on form with all the growling and hand gestures etc.. If the new songs were anything to go by, the next album could be interesting.

Everytime I see the Fall now, its like seeing a tribute band. You just go to see MES and whoever else is in the band doesn't matter. I remember(ooooh the good old days) when I used to look forward to seeing Scanlon/Hanley/Wolstencroft & co and thinking that they played so cool. I am a musician and I'm not being unreasonable when I say that I could play in the Fall now, and no-one would know any difference - except me, as I couldn't stand the pay cut!!! I mean no disrespect to the current musicians but it never used to be like that. I used to come home from a Fall gig and KNOW that I could never play the way they did, because it was so special to the Fall. Smith's policy of rapid hire/fire has resulted in a diluted dumbed down Fall. These guys know that in 3 months they may be back playing Aerosmith covers.

Maybe it will all finish up as Karaoke, with no band and MES ranting over some well prepared arty backing tracks, which is funnily enough just how it sounded from the back of the venue.

Who's he gonna punch then?


Irish Centre, Leeds, October 8, 2003:


tremendous. an un-nervingly jovial MES shone throughout after an initial verbal attack aimed at a poor sound guy due to his "Norman Collier-esque" mic problems. undeterred the band ripped through excellent versions of boxoctosis, mountain energei, sparta fc, loco man and a particularly menacing contraflow. roll on oct.27th. other highlights included an impressive telephone thing, new big prinz, topped only by an encore of damo suzuki and a stunning way round. even when caught off guard with some heckler announcing he'd been persuaded to buy a vauxhall corsa MES chuckled, stopped the band and retorted in his own inimitable way before ploughing on into a most enjoyable set. things look well in camp fall. no doubt this line-up will be fired before the album is released.

(from memory) boxoctosis/telephone thing/loco man/behind the counter/mountain energei/foldin'-kick can/sparta fc/contraflow/mere pseud/pharmacist/janet and johnny/new big prinz/damo/way round


Indeed, a very good gig. The Irish Centre was very sparsley populated compared to previous gigs there, with a disappointingly low number of 'young' people.

The gig started slowly, and only really took off with Behind The Counter. As seems to be the case recently, they sounded a damn sight better on the hard songs, such as Mere Pseud Mag Ed and Big New Prinz, than the slower ones.

I had the great pleasure post gig of meeting the admirable Jeff Higgott. For those who were there he was the tall, bald, short beard bloke stood at the front in a red fleece whilst I was making slanderous comments about Rio. He was very self-effacing about his contributions to the discography etc, and seemed like a really nice fella.

I also chatted to the support band Being 747 (as they removed their PA - natch) who were just dead chuffed to have supported the Fall. Worth seeing if you get the chance.

I have a set list at home - I'll post the contents later. Oh and the t-shirt stall had some leaflets advertising the new LP, complete with cover art. If it's not been done yet, I can scan and post it.



No wonder The Fall's output has been patchy of late, MES has obviously had his mind on other more important things...


More book reviews (there are lots of earlier ones in recent editions of the Fall News)

Here's a review of The Fall and Hip Priest from the Independent on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2003 (a scan of hard copy); or you can read it on the Independent's website.

Antler Heads+Tings (from the message board):

I've read the Mick Middles/M.E. Smith book "The Fall" and here's my initial thoughts:

Probably the best of the 3 books.

Not so much a traditional auto/biography, more a selection of anecdotes and observations that flits from era to era-

For example a description of The fall recording the recent Peel session is followed by a story regarding Kay Carroll which in turn is followed by a Shiftwork- era anecdote- then it's back to 2003.

If you have read his New Order book- he describes the recording of "Shellshock" and his various meetings with the band - this book is predominately in that style.

A better selection of photographs including the young M.E.S- postcards sent to his mum/in the pub with his dad etc.

A lot more historical info from Mark regarding the forming of The Fall and his philosophy behind the band, some of the usual stuff but also a lot of new info that doesn't sound overblown or exaggerated.

Quite a bit on his family life which in punctuated with a great interview with Mark's mum.

A nice selection of lyrics throughout the book.

Treats all eras and members of The Fall pretty much evenly: a newcomer would have no idea that Hex or Nations are considered "classics"

I thought the Simon Ford book was pretty good but more for a newer fan.

This book has the detail and occasional oddness that i think a lot of people will like.

Patrick (from the message board):

My twopenneth on Mick's "The Fall"...

It's fair to say that MES *is* The Fall, and while this is the foundation of Middles' book, he also sees Mark as something quite seperate to the band at the same time. You'd be surprised how little The Fall feature in this book - aside from the occasional songs cut 'n' pasted from the Lyrics Parade (even down to the unexplained footnote numbers), there's precious little about the band's music, or songs. Many of the most important Fall songs go unmentioned - no Free Range, no Totally Wired, no Paintwork etc. And while Simon Ford's book really goes to town on finding info on former band members, this is very much MES's book and anything that looks vaguely like digging up the past band member-wise is quickly dismissed as crappy retro trainspottery.

This is definitely a book for the fan. Newbies, I suspect, would be put off by the swathes of the band's history and recorded output that goes unmentioned. That said, the new interviews with MES are at times brilliant and very entertaining as usual, when Mick Middles isn't serialising the most trivial events in a novelistic style or letting his own views seep through (I dare say you find out more about Mick than about MES in this book). Touching to find out that Mark has been doing a lot better since marrying Elena, while it's encouraging to see that his worldview remains as unique and controversial as ever. And the interview with MES's mum is welcome.

Still, I'd buy it alongside Simon Ford's more conventional Hip Priest, because the two books compliment each other well and rarely overlap. With HP, you'll find out loads about The Fall's records and personnel, while Middles' book completely deals with MES's side of things. Funnily enough, reading the two books together makes for a total Fall experience - read the evidence, and have a bleedin' guess for yourself.

A couple of items from October's The Wire: a review of Simon Ford's Hip Priest, and the PBL / Leeds dvd.


There was a Fall Tribute Night at the Cube Cinema in Bristol on Friday, Sept. 26, with Nought and the Country Teasers scheduled to play, and they hoped to show some Fall video on the big screen.

Cube Cinema
4 Princess Row

tel (0117) 9074190

The Country Teasers played at the Mute / Hip Priest party in London on Sept. 19 - their set included covers of Papal Visit, Pat Trip Dispenser, and Mollusc in Tyrol.


Steven Bending's wonderful The Fall Multimedia Project website has a couple of clips from the This Morning with Richard Not Judy Show (featuring Fall fan Stewart Lee), in response to this thread on the message board).


A laughable interview with MES, ca. 1997.


a continuing saga: MES in "Masked and Anonymous" - possibly:



Oct. 20, 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:

ta to biv for this

Recent news...

19sep03 Uncut interview, book reviews, "No Place Like It" transcript, a few old press clippings, Bingo Master's 25th anniversary, War Against Intelligence cd, Bootleg Box Set review, book launch party, Masked and Anonymous, Jack magazine, The Lovers on tour, Johnny Cash
 Prindle int. w/Ben, Hip Priest reviews, Live at Phoenix cd, War Against Intelligence cd, Brix int. 1994, Lovers single, web-enabled MES filter
22jul03 US tour reports (second half: Cambridge > Dallas), New Yorker cartoon, Simon Spencer RIP, "Idiot Joy Show," Words of Expectation review
01jul03 US tour reports (first leg, thru Cleveland), PBL dvd & User Guide reviews, Jim Watts interviews John French, 1999 MES int., Voiceprint clearance sale
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