Fall play ...
Factory, New York, NY
Factory, New York, NY
Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA
Cat, Washington, DC
Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Lounge, Atlanta, GA
Watt, Athens, GA
Peel, Asheville, NC
House, Newport, KY
Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
Stick, Detroit, MI
Bottle, Chicago, IL - MES reading
Crawl, St. Louis, MO
Conservatory, Oklahoma City, OK
Brickhouse, Phoenix, AZ. Tickets available at http://www.a-a-f.net/monkeyboat/
Los Angeles, CA
Club, San Jose, CA
American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA
Theatre, Santa Ana, CA
Los Angeles, CA - MES reading
Lounge, Los Angeles, CA
Lounge, Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
Sound festival, Barcelona.
Sparta F.C. single has been pushed back to June 21 due to a backlog
at the vinyl pressing plant. I should have a scan of the cover up early
next week. There'll be a promo video as well.
help save the Witchwood in
Ashton-u-Lyne, Greater Manchester.
There's an interview with Mark (conducted by
T. Ballard Lesemann, III,
in the April 2004 Stomp
preview of the St. Louis show by Randall Roberts of the Riverfront
You could always dance to The Fall, always bang your
head and shake your ass as one, always shout along to the choruses,
some of which were as simply beautiful as a man and a woman screaming,
"C-R-E-E-P" into the microphone over and over again as two or sometimes
three guitars wound barbed wire around vocalist Mark E. Smith.
Springing from the same late-'70s Manchester scene that
sproinged Joy Division, the Fall is one of the great post-punk bands
-- if not the greatest -- a rolling mess of guitarists, bassists and
drummers who swarm around the king bee, one Mark E. Smith. In his prime
Smith was as grim as Ian Curtis, but instead of killing himself, he's
devoted his life to wallowing and roaring about how fucked up life is.
As the Fall's founder and only consistent member, he has been making
records nonstop -- about 30 studio recordings and a handful of live
records -- for 25 years, each as messy and abrasive and thrilling as
the last. The template: lots of guitars, one of which is usually scribbling
some sort of melody around a dancy drum beat; a monotonous bass line;
and Smith's flat, conversational ranting.
Smith took the British punk movement's philosophy --
here are three chords; run with it -- and juggled it all up until the
three had morphed into a dozen really fucked-up quasi-chords. The result:
crooked melodies that are immediately hummable but never saccharine.
Sonic Youth's Evol , Sister and Daydream Nation
owe a hefty debt -- and they're the first to admit it -- and it's
safe to say that Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted would never
have arrived without the Fall's sensibility. So many bands swiped riffs
and ideas from the Fall that Smith should be enjoying quiet days at
a retirement pub somewhere. You can hear the Fall in Sleater-Kinney,
the Rapture and the Faint, and the band's quintessential records from
the mid-'80s -- This Nation's Saving Grace, The Wonderful
and Frightening World of the Fall and Bend Sinister
-- are ripe for legacy reissues (if only Smith would get his shit together).
They're uncompromising, odd and stunning, almost as stunning as the
fact that, 25 years after its inception, the Fall is finally
playing St. Louis, and at the Creepy Crawl no less. Don't miss this
Franz Ferdinand has an interesting theory about why the
Fall have recorded so many great songs. From an interview by Fall fall
Charles Bottomley for VH1:
"I'd say Duran Duran and The Fall were equally influential
on the band," explained Kapranos. "To me Duran Duran and The Fall is
pop music as much as Duran Duran is pop music. If you listened to what
Duran Duran and The Fall actually listened to themselves, it was all
Motown and Northern Soul.
"Their leader Mark E. Smith would get the musicians
in a room and say, 'Play something that sounds like The Beatles. In
their heads they're playing something like it's pop music. That's the
way we feel about it as well. It's pop music."
From the Belfast
Nigel Gould casts a critical eye over the new releases
23 April 2004
The Fall Grotesque (sanctuary) ***** Totale's Turns
Continuing its series of re-issues from The Fall, Sanctuary
have re-released Grotesque and Totale's Turns from the early 80s. Grotesque
is by far the better of the two - a five-star album that is in much
in the same vein as its fantastic predecessors, Live at the Witch Trials
In this, the mercurial Mark E Smith's unique talents
are displayed in all their splendour. Baffling wordplay and deadpan
vocals entwine with unconventional rhythms to make this a classic Fall
Totale's Turns lacks much of the dark menace, say, of
Dragnet, or the sheer brilliance of Live at the Witch Trials - but it
does possess a bunch of cracking tunes nonetheless.
It also includes the usual heap of psychedelic nuances
and irreverence - and sharp-tongued Smith, the grumpiest man in rock,
is as enigmatic as ever.
I've been listening to this 2xCD set for a couple of
days now, and it sounds better every time. The Woog Riots people have
done a stellar job on compiling, mastering and sequencing, not to mention
including a useful booklet with information and little B&W photos
of all the artists.
It's roughly 50% Fall covers and 50% Fall-inspired originals,
many of which are very good. 29 songs in total with many surprises (Here
Comes the Bride riff embedded in US 80s-90s?) and too many highlights
to list, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Chris Knox - Hip Priest. Even more hypnotic than the
original, reminds me of Ken Nordine somehow. The keyboard riff sticks
in your head for days.
- S.Y.P.H. - Fiery Jack. One of the better of the many
German contributions, sounds like the Young Gods or Laibach covering
- The Container Drivers - The Ex-Members of the Fall
Club. The band is going to love this one! Hilarious, would make a good
B-side with Debacle.
- I, Ludicrous - I've Never Been Hit by Mark E. Smith.
Great track, about a minute too long perhaps.
- Jeffrey Lewis - The Story of the Fall. Ohio-era Neil
Young meets Augustus Pablo's melodica and nutshells the Fall's story
in three minutes. It works.
- Michaela Melian - Fallen. This would make a great intro
tape for a Fall gig, although Loop 41 is hard to beat.
- Chris Brokaw - Bill Is Dead. An astonishing rendition
from another world. From the liner notes: "After the Woog Riots
received Chris' recording, they checked their CD players for possible
defects." Quite possibly my favorite thing on the album, and not
because it was recorded a mile or two from where I'm typing this useless
I only wish a few of the Good Evening We Are
Not The Fall tracks could've made an appearance here -- in
particular Where's the Beach's Drudge Nation and the Gosh Guys' Paintwork.
thanks to Gerhard for translating Der
Various Artists - "Perverted By Mark E. - A Tribute
To The Fall" (ZickZack/Indigo)
Not one of the well-known stupid tribute albums,
but one that is much more comprehensive and smarter, is brought to us
by good old ZickZack boss Alfred Hilsberg yes yes, the inventor
of the Neue Deutsche Welle, we know, we know. Songs from, but also very
many songs about our choleric favorite granddaddy, song-destroyer and
nuthead Mark. E. Smith are compiled on the double album "Perverted
By Mark E. - A Tribute To The Fall". As
was to be expected, the allegedly humorless Tocotronic are to be found
there with their one-minute-cracker "Ich habe geträumt, ich
wäre Pizza essen mit Mark E.Smith" ("I dreamed I was
out eating pizza with MES"), and also anti-folkie Jeffrey Lewis,
whose familiar mumbling presents us with the "Story Of The Fall".
The contribution by radio-pope Klaus Walter, "Ich habe geträumt,
ich wäre Neckermann quälen mit Mark E. Smith³ ("I
dreamed I was out agonizing Neckermann with MES" - Neckermann is
a big German travel agency) is as funny as the one by Egoexpress, who
conclude this album as minimalistically as possible. Unexpected participants
at this party are Chris Cacavas, Barbara Manning, and Preston School
Of Industry, which perhaps is badly necessary: because allegedly there
are still people out there who think The Fall are the most unlistenable
band of the world.
thanks to Paul for scanning in the following from the May 2004 Mojo.
Shocking and terribly sad news from Fallnet: Daniel Trent
Dickson died on Sunday, April 11, 2004. He will be sorely missed by all
who knew him.
Trent's brother Nathan has put together a memorial page
with the video that was
shown at the memorial service and some great
photos of and by Trent.
lieu of the potential live session, Mark did a phone interview with WFMU
on Saturday, April 10. You can listen to it at http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/TT.
The interview's about 2 hours in, between The Man Whose Head Expanded
and Sparta FC.
7: Ottobar, Baltimore, MD
The planned setlist - not sure if the gig followed suit.
Big New Prinz may not have been played at all.
Box / Green Eyed / Middle Mass / Mere
Pseud / Mountain / Grass Grow / Telephone / Sparta / Janet / Pharmacist
/ Contraflow / Mike's Love - Mad Mock / Damo / Prinz
Everything fine and dandy at the first US gig last
night, which I attended with John Howard. Saw Cole Coonce's buddy and
tour manager Cuzzin Roy, who was very busy keeping things together.
Middlemass was my personal fave. Had a few Patron silvers and anejos
with Red Stripe chasers. Smallish crowd... we were right at the front.
MES is ageing backwards, looks ten years younger than he did in '97.
Now back to horse racing until the DC Black Cat show Tuesday. Over and
It was a very good gig.
The new bass player and regular guitarist seemed to
be playing well together creating their own sound. The keyboards were
also fuzzy and guitar sounding. They made a good noise together. 12
tracks no encore. MES appearing in good shape. He walked on and off
stage himeself though could not bend down to pick up lyric notes. MES
Wore a black leather glove and sat behind a table and looked healthy.
The whole thing gave him a look of celebrity.
They played just enough to wet your appetite for more
and then... didn't play more.
Best were Green Grass and Middlemass and also Telephone
Thing which sounded exactly like last years. Mr Pharmacist (who really
cares about this one?)
The band seemed like they played through it all rather
rushed, but that was probably my mental state. Getting back to my car
was a bloody nightmare and I managed to make it back to DC.
8: Knitting Factory, New York, NY
York Newsday, April 8:
THE FALL. Curmudgeon singer Mark E. Smith may be the
only original member left in this first-wave punk band, but it's usually
a given that he's the one who makes things interesting. (9:30 p.m.,
Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard St., Manhattan, 212-219-3132. $18.)
The New Yorker, April 12, 2004:
Many thanks to Dean for these
Loop 41 intro tape / Boxoctosis / Green-Eyed Loco Man
/ Middle Mass / Mere Pseud Mag Ed / Mountain Energei / I Can Hear the
Grass Grow / Telephone Thing / Sparta FC / Mr. Pharmacist / Janet, Johnny
and James / Contraflow / Mike's Love Xexagon > Mod Mock Goth / White
Lightning // Big New Prinz
- great to see so many familiar faces from Knitting
Factory shows past - Michael, Reuben, Brian, Mitsos, Dean, Ron, Tony
- and equally wonderful to meet many people for the first time
- extensive lineup of T-shirts -- LATWT (US), Dragnet, Lie Dream, Escape
Route, Bend Sinister, Kimble? -- and little badges, plus a strange poster.
No "tour date" T-shirts. They should have CDs for sale later
on in the tour - Ben says the album will be out in the States in a couple
of weeks: the deal with Narnack is on again. It'll have two tracks not
on the UK version: Portugal and Mod Mock Goth, and I think some songs
will be different versions as well.
- Before the show the crew guy set up a square card table for Mark to
sit behind, but I guess word came from the dressing room that it wasn't
suitable, and a round bar-type table was substituted.
- I don't think the show was sold out whereas I think all five previous
KFNY shows in 2001 and 2003 had been. There was elbow room towards the
front, for a change.
- Mark walked on with the aid of crutches and stood for a very short
while during Boxoctosis before settling down behind the table with a
black glove on his left hand. The glove came off mid-set.
- Ben had all kinds of problems with his gear. Things started out okay
but the amp began acting up during Mere Pseud. It had blown completely
by I Can Hear the Grass Grow and they switched it out before Telephone
Thing, I think, but the new amp didn't sound great either. Later one
of his pedals went out and finally he broke a string.
- Despite his problems Thursday night, the most noticeable difference
to me over the last couple of tours was Ben's guitar playing. He's a
MUCH better Fall guitarist now. Dave's drumming was excellent as always.
The new bassist Steven didn't look too nervous at all and sounds like
he's played these Fall songs for ages - amazing that this was only his
fourth Fall gig. Eleni has two keyboards this time around and they were
put to good use on Middle Mass, Telephone Thing, etc.
- Mark was on fine form despite the equipment problems. He has two mics
at his table to choose from and the drumkit, bass amp, and keyboards
are all within reach. He was very focused at all three shows I saw,
just like last summer. He looks the healthiest I've seen him in at least
10 years. Proclaiming from behind his table suits him and the live setting,
- The set was shorter than I expected - about an hour. One encore -
Big New Prinz - with audience members passing a mic around while Mark
sang from the dressing room. I finally got my opportunity to yell "he
is not appreciated" thanks to Donald's (? - I think your name was
Donald - apologies if I'm misrembering) persistence in shoving the mic
into my hands.
- I talked to Ben after the show. It turns out that Mark not only broke
his hip, but his femur as well, and has a metal rod from the knee to
the hip. He slipped on the ice in Newcastle which broke the leg, then
a woman tried to help him up but he/they slipped again, this time cracking
the hip. Or perhaps the bones were broken the other way round. When
the band flew in on Monday Mark's leg had ballooned from the plane ride
and he was in bad shape, but it recovered in time for the Baltimore
gig. I'm in awe that Mark didn't cancel the tour - who else wouldn't
have? What a fantastic commitment he has.
Here's the PowerPoint review:
- The House is packed
- Merchandise is on sale
- T-shirts, buttons, poster
- Not bad, not great
- But she had heart and that counts
- Cool t-shirts
- Mark sitting down but real focused
- Band sounds tight
- Problems with amps (not MES caused)
I won't do a playlist, but highlights:
- Opens with Open Box and Green Eyed Loco Man
- Mid-set Telephone Thing, Sparta and Mr. Pharm
- Goes off stage, comes & closes with Hip Priest
- Very Short set by Fall standards
- Mark's voice sounded clear and good
- Lead Guitar now at a high point (as good as late 80s)
- Cool to see Stefan
- Spent gig up in the rafters, poor view
- Neat to see some farmilar faces
- Pretty impressed that Mark did show w/ legs messed up
- Pretty good music
- Had a good time
See ya all on Friday!
Things started shambolically, and my friend - who has
never seen the Fall before - looked at me wide-eyed after just the first
two songs. I had to agree. Indeed, after the first five songs, I do
not think I hurt a single melody, and it was only after someone shouted
out that perhaps it was time for Mark E. Smith to die (who said that?)
that the band brought it together. I enjoyed the latter half of the
show, and when the melody was laid thick on the lyrics, I knew I could
listen to the wonderful noise forever. I was worried that the band would
be a group of misfit session-players in the absence of Mssrs. Hanley,
Rogers, Scanlon, Wolstencroft, etc., but Ben Pritchard plays well (and
plays an excellent guitar; that's no cheap, three-minute-punk axe) and
Dave Milner's voice behind the drums worked really well on a couple
of songs. The band pulled the rabbit out of the bag, so to speak, but
rather messed up the trick by MES's inability or refusal to come out
for the Big Prinz encore. Overall, the set was enjoyable, albeit very
short, but no one will confuse this line up with Nation's Saving Grace
and Bend Sinister versions; and I largely think the fault lies with
MES, broken leg aside. I mean, the man looked a mess. What do you all
A great show last night at the Knitting Factory. THe
new bass player seems to have his act together.. which was a relief
considering the short notice he had to fill the shoes. Sadly Ben had
guitar troubles and whole sections of songs, and the entire "I CAn Hear
The Grass Grow" was without guitar at all. But otherwise they were great.
Middle Mass was AMAZING! Mountain Energi was captivating. Mod Mock Goth
was trance-inducing! Telephone Thing was hypnotic! They just freakin'
RULED OKAY???? I thought I'd be sad about Mark being unable to stand
but he was in totally jolly spirits!! And his jollyness made ME Jolly!
I could not stop my feets from dancing to EVERY number. Janet &
Johnny was entrancing! Contraflow, Sparta, Mr. Pharmacist, Mike's Love
Hexagon, Mere Psud Mag Ed, and White Lightning, were driving and PUMMELLING,
POUNDING! BAM BAM BAM! It was fantastic.
I also really liked the Big New Prinz finale, where guest audience vocalists
sang. Plus they has all these T-Shirts and buttons for sale there. They
even had a t-shirt of the American Witch Trials album cover. I had to
Man Named Joe:
Last Thursdays show at the Knitting Factory was okay,
and aside from Ben's amp melting down before the 3rd song and some asshole
shouting at MES that he should just, "go ahead and fucking die already,"
or some such shit before demanding that the band play "Smile" for him
(the less said about that clown the better and also the half- wit who
just posted on this thread before about MES and the relationship he
has with his wife), it was good old fashioned Fall chaos, as most US
fans know you take what they give you -with a grain of salt-and hope
for the best. I did get to sing on BNP after a stage-hand tossed the
microphone into the crowd for their encore and I left knowing that the
next night they would be tighter.
I was right, not only were they tighter but it turned
out to be a great night for music. I got to the Knitting Factory early
and had my ticket torn and my hand stamped before the doorman realized
that I was there to see The Fall, he told me that they wouldn't be going
on till around midnite, The Wierdos were just taking the manistage for
an all ages show and the DM let me in, so I caught their show from the
balcony (too old for the stage diving mosh pit- and no I would not want
to be 21 right now anyway-not with the US in a state of constant war
and an inevitable draft looming) and they were on fire, it was a great
show! I used to love a lot of the LA bands from back in the day- Germs,
Dickies, X, but I never saw any of them live. After that I hung out
in the bar, talked with Stephan (had my picture taken ) and some real
nice red wine drinking Fall fans from Queens. Anyway, The Fall took
the stage around midnight and it was a great show. MES is obviously
playing through a great deal of pain and you have to respect him for
that, the group was very tight and it made up for Thursday night, as
I knew it would. Highlights for me were Middle Mass, White Lightning,
I can hear the grass grow, and Janet Johnny & James.
9: Knitting Factory, New York, NY
York Times (April 9):
THE FALL, the Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, TriBeCa,
(212) 219-3006. Mark E. Smith, leader (and, it sometimes seems, sole
member) of the great art-punk band Fall, is a songwriter without the
song part: more often than not, his band's job is merely to keep time
while he recites his witty stories and aphorisms. These days, watching
the Fall play live can be hard work. Here's hoping the words aren't
slurred beyond intelligibility. At the Knitting Factory tonight at 10:30;
tickets are $20; sold out but returns may be available. (Sanneh).
Horror in Clay intro tape / Boxoctosis / Contraflow
/ Middle Mass / Mere Pseud Mag Ed / Mountain Energei / I Can Hear the
Grass Grow / Telephone Thing / Sparta FC / Janet, Johnny and James /
Groovin' with Mr. Bloe > Green Eyed Loco Man / Walk Like a Man /
Mr. Pharmacist / Mike's Love Xexagon > Mod Mock Goth / I Am Damo
Suzuki / Dr. Buck's Letter // White Lightning
- The room was PACKED well before the Fall came on shortly
- Lots of slam dancing
- after Ben's amp blew out with the first few notes of Boxoctosis and
they switched out the amps again, there were no gear setbacks.
- Friday night was altogether a much better show than Thursday's. The
band was much more into it, including Mark, and the crowd at the front
was wild. I can't remember seeing so much dancing at a Fall gig. On
par with the KFNY shows last July, without a doubt.
- Mark was more "musical" - e.g. tapping the cymbals with
the microphone and some surreptitious keyboard playing with his left
hand. Also mic drumming on the little round table.
- Walk Like a Man - first time since the accident (unless they played
it in Baltimore) - was a surprise
- I hadn't really slept for 48 hours and the late start didn't help,
but what a fantastic gig. I talked with Mitsos and Reuben afterwards
but headed out soon afterwards. No sign of any band members except Ben
after any of the gigs, unless I missed them.
- The Punkcast.com guy filmed
the show from the front - UK people may remember him from his Better
Badges company. Hopefully the Fall show will be on his site soon.
My ultra cond. review:
- Similar to yesterday but with more energy
- Amps worked today!
- Band sounded very tight
- Greatful that Mark went on with broken legs
- Moshing in the audience quite a bit
- Similar set as yesterday, slightly different
- Encore was White Lightning
Fun to see the old gang!
Wow! I hadn't seen them since the AYAMW tour @ Thanksgiving
'01, and was disappointed by the stripped-down, still un-gelled band
and lackluster (at best) performance by MES. So, naturally, after having
heard of his recent accident, and Dingo's departure (plus the apparently
nervous new bassist), I wasn't expecting much. In addition, I had my
girlfriend in tow, a confirmed non-believer (and everyone knows that
the Fall do not make easy converts, especially not from their live shows,
on average). So, imagine my utter shock and disbelief when their set
surpassed not only my expectations of their live show, but any and all
of the studio counterparts to the songs that they happened to play (something
which, judging by past shows of any band, I had deemed an utter impossibility
with rare and singular exceptions). Not to mention that I left at 1:15,
while they were still playing, having started well over an hour earlier.
All of the regular songs were played: after a blast
of an excerpt from what I think was "the Post-Nearly Man," they opened
with Boxoctosis, then (in no particular order, and certainly missing
a couple of songs, 'cuz I left at the beginning of a very powerful Dr.
Buck's Letter) Middlemass, Mere Pseud Mag Ed, Sparta FC, Contraflow,
I Can Hear the Grass Grow, Janet Johnny and James, Mike's Love Xexagon-->Mod
Mock Goth, Walk Like a Man, Mr. Pharmacist (which insipired actual moshing!
MES' disapproving reply: "you must keep still at all times"), I am Damo
Suzuki, Mount Energei, Mr Blow-->Green Eyed Loco Man, and Telephone
Thing. Wow! 17 songs!
Lastly, the youngest and most active audience I've ever
seen at a Fall concert. Usually the under-30s try to out-hip eachother
motionlessly, but this time, everyone was dancing (with a couple dozen
under-30s at the front slam-dancing as well). MES seemed pleased--amused,
played with double mics, smashing them on cymbals, throwing them at
drums, and making jet-engine raspberry noises when not slurring joyously.
Also, he was drinking Poland Spring on stage! 1st time I've seen him
drink something non-alcoholic. Elena seemed scared out of her wits,
but worked up some excellently noisy keyboard parts, especially on "Walk
Like a Man." Bassist loosened up, played very well. Dave Milner was
a joy to behold, and was grinning like a damn fool the whole time--obviously
enjoys his work. Ben Pritchard seemed so much more at ease than the
last time I saw him--making cocky little eyebrow-raising expressions
of mock-guitar-god-ity, and tearing some amazing sounds out of his instrument
after some intial problems at the beginning of Boxoctosis.
This show has given me (temporary) limitless energy
and converted my girlfriend into a fan, so it should go without saying
that this was the best Fall concert I've ever seen, and that's saying
a lot about my overall live music experience as well. I hope anyone
who reads this and has the chance to see this Fall incarnation live
does. They seem to really work well together, and the selection of material
both new and dated is perfectly suited to their combined performance
skills. More adventurous than they've been in over a decade, they seem
to really enjoy taking chances, and it works, as is visible from the
new covers they've been trying, as with the old stuff that has been
brought back. Maybe, after repeated viewings, their seeming-spontaneity
is actually studied, but it certainly didn't appear to be, and I have
a lot of trouble imagining that they've rehearsed much.
Yes it was another great show, even better than the
previous night. Ron and I arrived at the club and I hear someone call
out to me and I look, and there are a bunch of my friends, Tom and Nate,
and Frank, and they are with a couple of girls I hadn't met before,
but who are super nice." And i said "wow! You're finally here." and
Tom replies, "Yes but not to see The Fall though. We just saw the mantinee
show with The Weirdos." ( a reunited 1977 era Californian Punk group)
and so I said to them "The only band anyone should ever see is The Fall!!"
I was annoyed because I could tell my friends till I'm blue in the face
to see the FALL and all they ever says is "Yeah I've been meaning to
check them out someday." I'd like to hit them over the head with a hammer.
So then they all leave to go find something to eat and I go inside.
Another Fall show and yet again Ron and I will be the only people I
know there...but oh...then I saw Micheal Pinto in the club and I remember
him from the last time I saw the Fall at The Knitting Factory, so we
hang out together, and yakkity yak. At the beginning of the show it
looks like Bens amp wont work again, but they switch his amp and everything
Then the Fall TEAR IT UP. I mean i thought the previous
night was good, but this night was un-freaking-believable! When Mark
hobbles out on his crutches you cannot help but stand in awe of this
man's proud determination and strength. I Can Hear The Grass Grow sounded
even BETTER with guitar, and ya gotta admire their off the wall version
of Walk Like A Man. I was also seriously impressed by Dr. Buck's letter,
and I loved it when Mark sort of struggled his way over to the bass
amp to crank it UP for Damo Suzuki. As you know, I have often been critical
of Mark's knob twiddling, but when Mark cranked up the bass on that
song it really made the tune come to life, so I conceded to Micheal
Pinto that I guess sometimes Mark really knows what he's doing. But
as mark went trhough the door to the backstage area I saw him collapse
into the arms of the roadie.
Later I encountered Ben in the bar area and he told me that Mark had
not only broken his hip but also his femur and the cdoctors told him
NOT to get on a plane but he didn't wanna cancel the US tour! It seems
that when he slipped on the ice, a lady came to him and tried to help
him up, but she also slipped and Mark tumbled down again and the lady
landed on top of him. they had to put a metal rod in Mark's leg. When
i heard that story I was amazed because Mark is apparently on painkillers
because the agony he must endure DAILY is just too much. When I heard
this my respect for Mark E. Smith went soaring through the roof. What
other man would be so dedicated to the Band and to the Fans to put himself
through that? As everyone knows, a tour is pretty fucking grueling anyway
even under the BEST of circumstances...but this man...this incredibly
strong willed guy, is doing it LIKE THIS, with an injury still unhealed.
Who the FUCK else would do that??? Abroken leg and broken hip and this
man is on am american tour. Talk about detrmination. This band has taught
me too much for words about what it is to be 100% REAL!
Another word or two about the music....the band is tight and hard-hitting
and skilled. You MUST and I repeat MUST see them.
Don't be like my fool friends.
10: Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
Loop 41 intro tape / Green Eyed Loco Man / Contraflow
/ Middle Mass / Mere Pseud Mag Ed / Mountain Energei / I Can Hear the
Grass Grow / Telephone Thing / Sparta FC / Janet, Johnny and James /
Mr. Pharmacist / Walk Like a Man / I Am Damo Suzuki / Dr. Buck's Letter
- Another excellent gig - not sure whether it was better
than Friday night, but for me the best song of the three gigs was Dr.
Buck's Letter from Maxwells. Absolutely brilliant.
- Damo was kind of played twice... at the end there was a pause before
Mark motioned to Dave to keep playing - the band went with it right
- The show was sold out, and I wasn't sure how they were going to get
Mark up the basement stairs from the dressing room and through the crowd
to the stage, but they did, with no damage done.
- I had a great spot right in front of Ben - not a bad vantage point
for taking photos. No equipment problems this night as far as I could
- Thanks for the pint, Itchload, and it was great to talk to Todd from
The In-Out and Tom, promoter of the 1998 US Levitate tour, who was also
down the front. All is forgiven!
- I talked with Ben again after the show - he was in very good spirits.
These dates were a great way to start the tour. I was sorry not to get
to speak with the rest of the band -- next time I hope.
I invited my cousin to this show, and his favorite
song from the new album is Open The Box, and he REALLY wanted to hear
it, so you can imagine how disappointed I was that The Fall didn't play
that song for him. The set was shorter than the previous nights at the
kntting factory which I attribute to the fact that the stage has NO
BACKSTAGE AREA, which requires the band to walk through the crowd in
order to get on an off. Once Mark got off the stage you knew there was
little chance of him going back on again given his condition. This did
not prevent the audience (including me) from loudly screaming for an
encore...but it was not to be. My friend Annette did not like Green
Eyed Loco Man (which was the set opener) but she loved Telephone Thing
best, because it is a funky song. My friend Anne and Ron and I danced
to EVERY number. Our new friend Kevin just turned 21 and this was his
first Fall show ever and he said he liked it and was very impressed.
But how could anyone not love The Fall though? This is the greatest
band in the world.
Rick said, "Wow, they're still around, still doing it, and still raw
I was able to catch the first Knitting Factory show
and the show at Maxwell's.
The first NYC show was, I have to admit, a bit of a disappointment.
After reading so many amazing reviews of the recent shows, I was pretty
excited. But once Ben's amp broke (in, like, the third song), you could
see how annoyed he was. After that, he never seemed into it. And the
new bass player seemed a bit tentative. There were definitely some amazing
moments (mere psued mag, telephone thing, middle mass, big new prinz),
but half the show seemed to be lacking energy. Sparta FC was particularly
disappointing. I'm also not crazy about the sound at the Knitting Factory.
Don't get me wrong... it was great to see them, I was into it, but I
guess I was expecting a bit more. That didn't stop me from buying two
t-shirts (I waited twenty years to find good Fall t-shirts so I wasn't
going to pass that opportunity up! I got the LATWT and the WAFWOTF-era
logo ones). And it was nice to meet Stefan and find out that he lives
stateside as well. Who knew?
After seeing the Maxwell's show I was completely re-converted! The guitar
sounded incredible, and Ben was completely into the show. The drummer--who
was great at the first show--was even better at this one. The songs
that I wished they had played the 1st night in NYC--Walk Like A Man,
Damo Suzuki--were great. Damo Suzuki could have gone on for another
two hours and I would have been thrilled. The drumming in that song
was so locked in, it was amazing. The bass player seemed much more confident
on the whole. As always, seeing a show at Maxwell's rules...the room
is small and cozy and the sound makes a band sound like a rock band
should. And the Fall were in top form. Overall, just an incredible show,
renewing my faith in them.
I tried getting to the 2nd Knitting Factory show, but
got disasterously, poisonously lost. It was horrific, naturally it turns
out the show was fantastic.
I got there with my friends early and managed to secure the spot about
one foot away from MES's table, which was pretty exciting. Then when
they went on, Mark walked right past me, and, in what will probably
be my defining Fall moment, handed me one of his ice cold Heinekens.
That was amazing. He tried giving one to my friend too, but some guy
jumped in front and nabbed it. I'm used to drinking malt liquor, so
you can rest assured I enjoyed it immensely. I wanted to offer Mark
a nip of the pint of bottom shelf whiskey I smuggled into the show,
but thought better of it. I saved the bottle, but foolishly dropped
it at some bizarre hardcore club "The Hole" I ended up in later in the
night, but managed to recover the label. I got to pat him once (lightly)
on the back when the show ended
The show was quite good, I was on a euphoric high after that moment.
The first 3/4 of it were the best, then Mark tapered off a bit during
the end. I almost handed him one of his microphones when he dropped
it and was trying to reach it with his foot, but he got to it before
I did anything. Despite Mark's leg, he looked better than he did last
year. My friend Ali said he's starting to look handsome again.
I finally got to buy Stefan the pint I owed him since the last show
in Boston and bumped into Ben after the show. I offered to buy him a
drink as well, somehow not noticing he already had one in his hand (the
empty pint of whiskey might have contributed to this). Then I even saw
Mark Ibold, of Pavement, who must have been in attendance. My friends
were anxious to get back near the apartment (the person i was staying
with is from Brooklyn) to go to other clubs, so we had to leave soon
after the show, but I've determined it was well worthwhile to spend
my spending allowance for the next month in two days to see an hour
of The Fall.
12: First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA
All the advance word did not disappoint. It was
a solid working band that greeted the crowd at the Unitarian Church,
even more together than their last appearance here at the TLA.
They led off with a ferocious "Boxoctosis", the band appearing before
Mark, who hopped into his seat after the riff had gotten a few go rounds.
The set, in no particular order (apologies if I miss one):
Boxoctosis/Contraflow/Mountain Energei/I Can Hear The Grass Grow/Mere
Pseud Mag Ed/Middle Mass/I Am Damo Suzuki/Walk Like A Man/Janet and
Johnny/Telephone Thing/Sparta F.C./Green Eyed Loco Man/Love Xexagon-Mod
Mock Goth medley/Dr. Buck's Letter (interpolating Captain Beefheart's
"Dropout Boogie")/Big New Prinz
The band seemed in better shape than I'd ever seen them. Mark even threw
in an aside during "Dr. Buck" about "walking a dark corridor at the
First Unitarian Church".
Most of the T-shirts were already sold out of their XL sizes. Only the
Dragnet and Kimble shirts remained for the portly, all others were L
or M. I satisfied myself with the Kimble and Lie Dream badges, cheap
for a buck.
Catch 'em if you can. They've never been better.
Heard the one about the First Unitarian Church of Kennebunkport,
ME? No? Well, while you're pondering the acronymic possibilities of
that fine institution, allow me to briefly relate last night's (Apr
12) goings-on in the first Unitarian Church of Philadelphia PA, where
the Fall played to a robust and appreciative audience. I'm guessing
about 250 people came out to see the band on a miserable night of cold
spring rain, in the downstairs auditorium of the hip church (very popular
spot for indie/small-label groups). Opening act The Thieves wasn't bad,
a sort of goth/post-punk outfit with a squonky synth not unlike early
Pere Ubu. The Fall took over after 10 pm, leading off with Boxoctosis,
MES being helped up on stage eventually (to cheers) and into a chair
behind a card table where he remained put. I can't imagine anyone undertaking
an extensive overseas tour shortly after suffering a broken hip (and
femur?) but Smith is doing it, and I have to say it suits him. No longer
subjected to its leader's usual on-stage perambulations and knob-fiddlings,
the band put forth an uninterrupted evening of tight, amped-up hypno-repetitive
music, one number leaping right into the next. The Love/Mod Mock medley
was a standou--and what a pleasure to hear Middle Mass again! Smith
happily alternated between the two mics available to his reach, declaiming
energetically in high style. He even cracked wise in a few asides, something
I've never witnessed before (this was my 8th Fall gig, thanks very much)--
saying "Welcome to the guitar shop" early on and comparing
himself to Gollum much later. Eleanor has two keyboards now, a korg
and the cheap casio-thing, but I couldn't hear any difference between
them (poor sound mix?) Encore consisted of Dr. Buck's Letter and Big
New Prinz, with Smith declining to trouble himself with resuming the
stage, only his voice coming seance-style as the band played on, much
to the apparent consternation of concertgoers further back in the room
and unable to tell what was going on. A manic fan was allowed to take
the stage with mic and sing wildly during the obligatory "He! Is!
Not! Appreciated!" moments. Band grinning. Exuent.
Cat, Washington, DC
Best I've ever seen them. Band was very tight
with excellent sound effects by MES.
Walk Like a Man was a real crowd pleaser and stood
out from the rest of songs.
This was my first Fall gig where I was totally
satisfied. They played one encore after Damo which featured White Lightening
and opened with Boxtosis. The new bass player is a pro who can play
anything and Ben's Guitar playing was excellent: rhythmic at times with
bits that what grab your attention without being pretentious.
This was the real Fall (I think). Sounding like
the original line-up at time from ages ago, but with a deeper louder
buzzing sound. They sound different every time and pick up the venues
acoustics well: either shattering or softening.
Highlights were: Middlemass and Mod Goth. Mark using two mikes behind
a small table at front and center of stage. Growling lyrics and sounds.
Brilliant for a change.
I was pretty geared up for this gig, on the strength
of last summer's gig at the Black Cat. That performance shocked me in
its vitality and demonstration of the band's relevance and strangth.
On the whole I was less impressed this time. Maybe that's largely a
case of expectations being too high going in. But I do have one particular
Mark was Mark and god bless him for it. Ben's guitar was good, at times
very impressive. The new bass player was solid and flawless. Eleanor's
keyboard, when it was being played, was tasteful and on point. But Dave's
drumming was too limited.
He plays plodding quarter-note beats on the high hat and snare that
are so simplistic and monotonous that no one would dare cut them that
way on a record. He needs to learn a technique, one I was/am proficient
at, of using two hands on the high hat so as to be able to play eigth-notes
quickly, and smacking the snare with the right hand rather than the
left. A "disco beat". A great way to be able to play hard and fast comfortably.
If he did this, or if I did it, the songs would really be cooking live
but as they are they are held down from flight by his drum patterns.
The guy can play well on some songs, but on some he is lost.
I'm not absolutely sure it's his fault. Karl Burns, a virtuosic drummer,
was playing similarly plodding patterns when I saw him with the band
in 1998 - maybe Smith leads them towards playing in this style.
The bass drum was notably absent from the mix at times. I'm not sure
if this was the sound man's fault or what. At the end of "Mere Pseud
Mag Ed" Dave stopped hitting the bass drum altogether during the last
minute or so, taking the guts out of the music. I had assumed his pedal
broke or something, but no - no repairs necessary, and the next song
had bass drum in it.
The songs where it all came together the best were "I Can Hear the Grass
Grow" (which they really should record), and a great stomping "Dr. Buck's
Letter" (thank you, Fall, for playing that as a second encore). Several
of the other numbers rocked hard too, especially "Sparta FC" and "Mere
Pseud Mag Ed". And, for the first time, "Mountain Energi" made sense
to me and was quite nice.
On the whole a decent gig but with the above-mentioned weak link keeping
the music from reaching a higher level of Fallness. The crowd was less
than last year, disappointingly. I'll let someone else guess how many
people were in there but it wasn't more than 200-300.
I brought two friends who were not especially familiar with The Fall.
They each felt that the music was somewhat enjoyable but that Mark's
vocal style undercut it. Maybe had the sound mix been a little better
they might have felt differently, who knows. I thought the mix should
have had more bass drum, less snare and high-hat, and more vocal. As
it was everything was massively loud to the point that when he went
off ranting on the extended abrasive number near the end (not sure of
the title) I couldn't make out a word he was saying.
The opening act, (the sounds of) Kaleidoscope, were to my surprise not
just good but really, really good. The rest of the crowd was impressed
in a milder way than me, but I for one was totally impressed. Imagine
that Wire, post-"154", had not broken up but rather agreed to become
a backing band for a coherent Syd Barrett and attempted to record pop
music. If they gave it a good go it would have sounded something like
this. The band combined some of the mood and sound of early Pink Floyd
with the minimalist guitar tones of Sonic Youth and Wire. All the sounds
were in place and for once I don't have music advice for these guys
(just to make the vocals a little clearer). Very impressive band that
seems to know exactly what they're doing, and I haven't heard anyone
else do it quite like that.
Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, April 15, 2004:
The Fall at the Black Cat
There were no CDs on sale when the Fall performed Tuesday
at the Black Cat, just an array of T-shirts depicting album covers dating
all the way back to 1979's "Live at the Witch Trials." If
the wearable history suggested that the venerable British cult band
is now peddling nostalgia, the performance demonstrated otherwise. The
latest version of the Fall is crisp, powerful and up-to-date.
Cantankerous frontman Mark E. Smith, who more than 20
years ago became the only survivor of the band's original lineup, has
been known to perform in various states of impairment, to sometimes
chaotic effect. But this tour is a new challenge for the unpredictable
singer: He broke his hip and femur last month and is currently using
crutches to get around. As the four other musicians played looping vamps,
Smith sat at a small table, chewing gum and pulling lyrics from a notebook.
He had two microphones at his disposal, sometimes singing into both
Although the band is tighter than many of its previous
incarnations, it still sounds like the Fall. An uncanny meld of rockabilly,
punk and Afrobeat, among other influences, the quintet's style is unmistakable,
yet not immutable. "Open the Box" was craggy, "Mr. Pharmacist"
thumping and "Walk Like a Man" -- an ironic choice -- surprisingly
jaunty. In a 70-minute set the group could barely skim its back catalogue,
but that didn't matter. All Fall songs are part of a continuum, one
that the current lineup proved itself more than capable of sustaining.
April 14 - Cat's Cradle, Carrboro,
Well damn, it was great! I still don't have Country
on the Click, so I'll assume they did most of that stuff. Mark hobbled
out on crutches, then sat behind a small desk with his notebook, and
did his thing. Band was tight and strong, he was noticeable in pain,
but gave his all. As set went on, his energy built up, he could barely
sit still, you could tell he wanted to get up, was squirming in his
chair, and vocally outright yelling, especially on a strong New Big
Prinz. Some classics also whipped out included Middle Mass and a snarling
Mere Pseud Mag Ed. They did an encore, with Mark off to the side of
the stage, a pounding Dr. Buck's letter, I love this song. When the
band hit the last note, he threw his mike up on to the stage and hobbled
off on his crutches. Stunning, I'll never forget this show. Who else
would've done this for his fans? How many times have we heard what an
asshole he's supposed to be? Fuck that, pretty much gave me one more
reason to fucking resepect the shit out of him, like he hasn't given
so much allready? Oh yeah, bring some extra money, there's an array
of amazing t shirts this tour, Witch Trials, Dragnet, Wonderful and
Frightening art inspired images, even I think one with the sleeve to
the Dream Lie of a Casino Soul 7"? The red Witch Trials shirt rocks,
was my choice.
Me and Scotty P. arrived at the Cat's Cradle about 9:15.
I think we were people #6 and #7. The place was deserted - strange to
see the Cradle empty, scrubbed down, and very clean. Not a whiff of
smoke in the air. Was there some mistake? Cancellation? But no, there
were three drum sets on the stage. And off to the side I could see a
red leather chair on wheels and a table. The backdrop caught my immediate
attention - "The Fall" written across the top in bold black
letters and a huge print of a comic book frame involving three pirates
or corsairs brandishing swords. The dialogue balloons were in Portuguese?
Person #3 wandered up to us to see if we knew of the
Fall had released a new album. He is from California, living in Chicago,
here to visit his friend this week who didn't come to the show because
he had to work in the morning. He hopes the Fall does a lot of
their old stuff, he has every album from the mid-80s to the mid-90s.
A very congenial fellow. I lose some points because I obviously know
nothing about the music, but I regain a few with my insider knowledge
about MES's condition.
At around 10 the first band reluctantly climbs on the
stage. At this point there are 23 people in the crowd (it is a cold,
windy night by the way) I counted each one. The lead chick steps up
to the mike and says "Hi, we're Hominid" in a Brooklyn accent.
Person #3 heads for the gameroom. The band then does their thing which
is putting the guitar on the ground, playing with sound buttons, etc.
The lead chick yells stuff in to a megaphone into the mike. Really
After they are finished about half of the people in
the crowd then get up on stage because they are part of the next band,
"The Nein". The Nein is a bit more muscley and aggressive.
But equally as bad in their own way. By the time they wrap things up
there are close to 50 people in the room. I am wondering if the Fall
will take one look and turn right around and head down to Atlanta. Toward
the end of the "Nein" set (and yes, the bassist was wearing
a combat jacket with a German flag on the sleeve) I saw a couple dopey
looking guys come in with sports jackets a tad too small - the Fall
had arrived. Behind them was MES shuffling along with metal crutches
(the kind with bands around the arms.)
It took a while to clear the stage. Frank Heath, the
owner of the Cat's Cradle, is walking around somewhat nervously. The
lights go down and there is a pulsing beat track that is played. The
table and chair are placed in the center of the stage, in front of the
drums. Then the band comes out. Far left, guitar player. Drummer behind.
MES center. To his right, young chappie on bass. Far right, mod-looking
chick on small keyboard/MOOG thing. MES takes the stage last on his
crutches, and drops in the chair. He doesn't seem to notice that there
are only 75 people in the room. He is wearing black gloves! At some
point during the first song he takes them off smartly. Scott thinks
he looks like Adolph Hitler. To me, he is putting on "Dr. Strangelove".
He leans back in the chair and whistfully belts out the lyrics. His
voice is in fine form, high and clear. During the whole show he is chewing
on something in his mouth - I don't think it was gum, maybe a lozenge?
The two mikes is a good idea. He changes them around and sometimes uses
both at once. He seems to be fascinated with the mike cord. Yes, he
also wheels over to the amp from time to time to turn the volume up.
Or reaches behind and tap the cymbal in a melancholy way. I really can't
understand anything he is saying, but the delivery is great. The band
is very tight. I was surprised at the rock beat of most of the songs.
Perhaps you can identify some of the songs by the few words that I understood:
Take a ride?
Something about a car rental?
"Open the box, open the box, open the goddamn box!"
It was all very grooved. Both Scott and I thought that
MES was in delightful form. The band even came out for an encore set!
For the remaining 50 people! MES did not climb back on stage but did
"White Lighting" from behind the curtains at the side of the
stage. Their last song was really terrific but I can't identify it.
The Fall manager was a happy fellow, encouraging the band on.
MES let him sing the last verse.
All in all, it was a night to remember. What a great
live band! Scott can add the stuff I missed. Raise a glass to Mr. Smith
(he looked like he might throw up at any second.)
Amen & Amen.
Colin's absolutely right. It was clearly a Strangelove
thing he had going. Especially the way he leaned out of his chair like
he was suffering from that certain burning down below. At the other
end, the way he was chomping, I thought he had lost all his teeth. His
jaws came too close together, just like my grampa's (who was edentulate
since he was 35). His cheeks sort of puffed out and looked doughy. He
might have been chewing on dentures that had slipped out of place. He
fumbled with a notebook, too. I can't say he really read from it. I
don't think there was enough light to read by. He just sort of pawed
it and beat at it with one of his microphones.
Here are the words I made out:
A song with the word "bebop"
A song with the phrase "jack-knifed in the middle of the hill"
A song with the word "rabbit's foot"
A song with the emphatic phrase "open the box"
A song with the phrase "get a hold of yourself, baby"
A song with the word "backroom" ???
A song with the final phrase "down the mountain" (this tune
featured a nice Black Bart swaggering rhythm)
The last number (second of the encore, the first being
White Lightning as predicted) was remarkable. Mark sang from behind
the veil. One of the roadies pulled back the curtain just far enough
to see Mark's head over the amp/soundboard, but nobody seemed to
notice him. Their eyes were on the drummer, who was pounding a really
tight beat and singing backup. (I should add that their rendition of
White Lightning was all the more enjoyable for having listened to it
several times earlier in the day.)
They played from 11:40 to 12:30 and then played the
encore until 12:40. The temperature never topped 60F. Mark looked comfortable
in his mauve shirt and bluish blazer, one button always buttoned.
The sound was smooth and very tight. I had anticipated
something a little less cooked, but I was not displeased. No need to
bathe upon returning home. As Colin writes, the place was sterile. And
I suppose that was the only disappointment of the entire night.
April 16 - Echo
Lounge, Atlanta, GA:
Big Crashing Beat's friend:
The show was really great, Mark was in top form ! He
spent most of the show in an upholstered chair with wheels. He rolled
about the stage with his 2 mics & occasionally grabbed Ben's mic
& used that too ! At a couple of points he was singing into 3 mics
! He did stand for a couple of songs... The band was super hot &
the sound quality was superb at the club.
here's what they played
green eyed loco man
walk like a man
mere pseud mag ed
i can hear the grass grow
janet, johnny & james
mountain energei (this was a wonderful version)
mike's love hexagon
dr. buck's letter (outstanding)
i am damo suzuki
big new prinz
I was in Atlanta to play a gig with my band at the Echo
Lounge on Thursday night. Long story short, our guitarist/vocalist's
knee gave out on him during the first minute of our first song! He tore
his ACL and was unable to play the show. Foreshadowing maybe???
Bassist and I stayed over to go the baseball game
last night. As we were leaving I spotted Mark at an outdoor cafe next
to our hotel and pointed him out to my friend, who has never heard the
Fall. I am really only a casual fan myself but it was cool to see him.
We arrived back from the game and as we were walking
down the hall to our room who should we see walking towards us but Mark
E. Smith! Emboldened by several large ballpark beers, I attempted to
strike up a conversation even though I had heard about Mr. Smith's reputation
for being a bit cantankerous. Well, he was actually totally cool to
us, funny in that very British way, "taking the piss" a bit
but playfully so. He told us to write our names down and he'd put us
on the guest list!
I had to drag my friend to the show and consequently
didn't get to see the entire thing but my experience and the song selection
were consistent with the positive reviews I read here. I had no idea
they would cover "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" one of my favorite
"Nuggets," and "Walk Like a Man." Was also really
pleased to hear "Sparta FC."
All in all a really cool and totally unexpected
Just saw The Fall's less-than-an-hour show at
the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA. MES still had chair and table, but did
quite a bit of unaided standing and walking, even bent over once to
retrieve either a sheet of paper or mic. Very clearheaded, in fine voice
and, when not playing with his two mics, he enjoyed the occasional guitar
amp knob twiddling to Ben's looks of resigned exasperation. MES even
stepped on Ben's pedal once on the way to his chair. Guitar was excellent,
new bassist fit right in, drumming was fine, and the Korg was played
sans any facial expression whatsoever.
I'm still waiting for the U.S. release of REAL
NEW, but I think I've figured out the setlist. I don't believe I've
omitted anything, but the songs' order between Middle Mass and Mod Mock
is iffy. They opened with a terrific Box, followed by tight but pedestrian
(for a club concert, anyway) Green Eyed and Mountain. They reopened
my ears with Middle Mass, the middle bit as catchy as ever. How great
it would be if MES took a Guided by Voices approach to concerts and
mixed in recent songs with a preponderance of fan faves. I wasn't sure
what song they were playing after Middle Mass; my best guess is Janet.
My impression of Grass Grow was that it sounded like a single, and a
good one at that. Contraflow was powerful, like Box. The only other
true oldie in the pre-encore set was Mere Pseud, not as inspired as
the HIP PRIESTS live version but every bit as good as the studio take.
Seemed like the crowd favorite, or at least the crowd-around-me favorite,
with good reason, was Sparta. Based especially on Box, Contraflow, and
Sparta, I think I'll really like REAL NEW. The set ended with Mod Mock,
which medley-style segued into I-don't-know-what; whatever it was, the
band got into a groove and kept it going after MES exited.
The crowd, and crowded it was not, wasn't very
loud, but the band reappeared for an encore nonetheless. MES relinquished
his extra mic during a good reading of Bucks, then topped off the night
with a spirited White Lightning. This enlived the remaining patrons,
and the call for a second encore, while not exactly thundering, was
louder than before, but alas the show was over. Too bad, because The
Fall was hot. Damo would have been a nice capper, especially an extended
I was disappointed by the Echo Lounge show. Mark
was pretty out of it for the first-half and the Echo Lounge has the
worst sound of any rock club in Atlanta (tied with the Masquerade).
The Athens show the next night was much better-- Mark came out storming
and the sound was a little better. I thought last years performance
at the Echo Lounge was better--more drone/noise, less pop--and I say
that despite them having done Mr. Pharmacist (ugh) and Ghost in My House
last year. The first opening band (Deer Hunter) did a cover of "Wings".
The lead singer is somewhat MES-like physically, though even more emaciated.
I overhead someone from one of the opening bands say they weren't allowed
backstage to prevent them from mingling with The Fall. Autograph-seeking
fans also weren't also allowed to interact directly with the band/MES
(except for Elenor)--merchandise was handed over to someone who would
deliver it to MES to sign and this someone would seturn it to the fan.
The show last year at the Echo Lounge was sold out--this show was much
more sparsely attended.
I've seen The Fall at least six or seven times in the
last 15 years or so. The Atlanta gig this past Friday was the first
time I actually walked out early due to boredom. The show this past
July was much better. The sound was bad (hello, Mr. Soundman?
The band has a guitar player in addition to the very loud bass and keyboards,
or did you not notice him?), the playing at times sounded more like
a cover band than The Fall and the guitarist just looked bored. I left
during a particularly bad "Middle Mass."
Arriving at the Echo Lounge exhausted from driving over
6 hours from Florida, my friend Brian and I started to feel human again
after a few Bass Ales erased our memory of negotiating Atlanta during
rush hour. It wasn't until the Fall hit the stage to begin what would
be an inspired show that we forgot about our pain. Mark E. Smith seemed
in good spirits and energetic from the previous days rest. Perhaps that
explains why the band seemed to stretch-out each song, the next one
played longer than the song before, relentlessly pounding out sounds
while Mark E. either stared out into the crowd or snarled into the mic.
I could swear that Dr. Buck's Letter lasted over 10 minutes, and the
entire show, including two encores, I thought lasted closer to an hour
and a half than just an hour. I've seen a few Fall shows before, but
this one was certainly one of the best. Well worth the drive into the
land of Coke-a-Cola and CNN.
April 17 - 40 Watt,
The Fall were in fine form last night in Athens, GA.
The played for about an hour to a house that was half full--nowhere
near the crowd that turned out last year in Atlanta (any word on this
week's Atlanta show?) My memory is a little fuzzy -- they opened with
either Box or Green-Eyed Loco Man. The set list was pretty much what
has been posted for this tour. The one encore consisted of White Lightning
and Dr. Buck's Letter -- the microphone passing began during the latter
They sound great. Mark looks and sounds great.
He moved around much more than I thought he'd be able to. Lots of knob-turning
on Ben's amp throughout the show. Towards the end Mark started moving
the drum mikes and turning up the bass amp. Oh--and the black glove!
It came off during the first song. Peace y'all.
Good show IMO. MES was cearly less high/drunk
compared with the previous night's show at the Echo Lounge. And the
40Watt is just a better club. The set list is as follows:
greened-eyed loco man
i can hear the green grass grow
janet, johnny, and james (thankfully without that cheesey guitar interlude
that's on the LP)
sparta F.C. (Ben totally fucked up the beginning guitar part)
mere pseud mag ed
mike's love hexagon
dr. buck's letter
Listening to people's comments as they left the 40watt, they were generally
positive. I heard a lot of negative comments from people leaving the
Echo Lounge show and a lot of people left mid-way through.... MES walked
around quite a bit and fiddled primarily with Ben's amp. He fiddled
with the bass player's amp at the Echo Lounge: a different victim each
night. However, both nights he stayed away from Elenor's keyboards---hmmm.
I think this current band is really good. Hanley/Burns would be better,
but you can't have everything.
El Jacko Satisfacto:
While I have nothing to compare it to I dug the shit
out of it... about 5 songs in they seemed to find another gear &
maintained a fierce, grindingly simple momentum for the rest of the
show...As you may know MES has taken to sitting at a small desk (wearing
a single black leather glove!! Quite sinister!) because of his hip injury,
but once things were cooking he was moved to his feet many times, hobbling
around the stage spewing his fabulous vitriol...Band seemed skin tight
& only had to suffer one minor knob twisting incident toward the
end. Since I'm still a novice I couldn't identify any other songs beside
'Green-Eyed Loco Man", "Sparta F.C.", and the hilarious
encore of "White Lightning" wherein the incredibly hot but
stone-faced Mrs. Smith grinned broadly for the first time all night...Yeah...
And if you will give ol' Cuz'n Roy a big bear hug the
next time you see him... He was incredibly gracious and treated me like
a long lost brother...He got me backstage to guzzle beer w/ Mr. &
Mrs. and a few other awe-struck fans...Luckily I was able to sit back
and try to decipher some of his asides which I could tell were completely
Chinese to T. Ballard Leeseman, Athens's undisputed #1 Fall Fancier...Very,
very cool. THANKS ROY!!! Mission fucking accomplished I say!
April 19 - Orange
Peel, Asheville, NC:
Thanks to Foe for the setlist
First, the background. I'm a long-time Fall fan (starting
when I was a college radio DJ around 1986), but I've never seen the
band before, and not been to a rock show in over 10 years. No one ever
plays in northeast Tennessee where I live, but with a new highway over
the mountains to Asheville, its now reasonable to make a day trip down
there for a show. I also don't have the new album, unwilling to pay
import prices with a domestic release on the way. Anyway, I don't have
much with which to compare the show I saw, but I thoroughly enjoyed
it. I've been grinning like a maniac since the show, and its been 24
hours now. I'd classify it as an "on" night, musically, whatever that
opinion is worth.
They only had large and medium shirts. The guy behind
the table claimed they ran large, but I knew a large wouldn't fit me
(I normally wear XXXL). They had no Fall CDs (I was hoping for a reasonably
priced copy of TRNFLPPKACONC) so I got one of the $1 posters.
I stood right up front, since with my hearing loss everything
would sound crappy wherever I was in the room, so I might as well have
a good view. Mark came out on crutches (stage access at The Orange Peel
is from the back), which were left between the guitar amp and drum kit.
He kept one black glove on the right hand for several songs. His first
"adjustment" was to the bass amp, but spent most of the show moving
drum mics. He moved the bass drum mic (behind his chair) several times,
then later moved the bassist's vocal mic over to the high hat. During
"Damo" he added one of his vocal mics to the inside the bass drum. I
think he did make it over to the guitar amp late in the show, during
"Damo." Also late in the show (perhaps "Dr. Bucks") one of the road
crew came out with what looked like a spoon and an air duct grate, and
started playing along over next to Ben's vocal mic.
"White Lightning" was at breakneck speed (I was really
hoping for this song, as the show was in the North Carolina mountains),
then the band left the stage. One of the crew came out for Mark's mics
(including the one in the bass drum), so I guessed we were in for an
encore with Mark singing off-stage, which is what happened. I'm not
sure what the first encore song was, as I couldn't hear the off-stage
vocals very well. For the second song of the encore, the guy who had
been playing the air duct grate wheeled Mark onto stage using a hand
truck. Mark stood behind the table for part of the song (I think it
was "Big New Prinz") then sat on the table, looking over his shoulder
at the audience. He then manovered the mic over to the audience using
the mic boom in front of the table (the only time he used it since he
took the mic off it during the first song). I was too much of wimp to
take it myself, but handed it to the girl next to me and off it went.
Mark was helped off during the sing-along.
After the show I asked the front-of-house sound guy
if I could have a set list. I got the one that had been on the floor
under the keyboards. The copier had cut off the left side of the original,
but its still readable. I'll probably stick it in a poster frame with
the show poster.
April 20 - Southgate
House, Newport, KY:
Boxoctosis / Green Eyed / Protein / Grass
Grow / Sparta / Janet (Tape) / Mountain / 15 Ways / Mod Mock + Hexagon
/ Pharmacist / Dr Bucks / Contraflow / White Lightning
Transcribed from set list. White Lightning was actually
played before Contraflow. Encore was Big New Prinz.
Band extremely tight. Bass player rocks.
Ben has beautiful custom-made guitar.
Smif in fine form. Walked onto stage but sat most of
show, managed to
twiddle knobs nevertheless. Stood up from dr bucks on. Became progressively
more animated during show, banged on Dave's drums, threw around mikes,
fucked with Ben and new bass player, kicked over table, kicked over
floor tom. priceless.
During BNP mike was handed to a bunch of gits who didnae
know the words!
Bob Gilroy was there!!!
After show Ben was very cheery and affable. Remembered
me from last year's Cleveland show! US release of TRNFLPFCOTC not out
yet. He also told me the story behind Portugal!
Chase got his copy of arse your arse signed by the whole
band!!! And he bought a t-shirt which turned out to be a Kimble shirt!
(no word on whether or not he has excellent shoes.)
Met Cole's mysterious but quite nice friend John.
More detailed report tomorrow.
other john, shoo cheres but it's been a long nacht,
but fo shoo :)
The Fall = 1
p.s. christ, these fuckers are seriously tight now.
i'll nae hear Ben and Dave spoken of as mere session musicians anymore.
Dave was also quite cheerful tonight. new bass player
expressionless, but fuck me he's good. oh, and everyone had REAL gear
(their own, i think),
and not the Rent-A-Wreck gear they were forced to play with last year.
thank you very kindly, that's all!
Chase, Fallnet legend:
Well i got to dublin to meet Greg from the message board
at about 5, with his friend holly, and then picked up oj, who i must
say is a very nice guy, and great host, as provided hospitality later
on in the evening for me. Nice drive to cincy and meet up with another
john, and ate dinner at german place, which did not serve the finest
german beers, i am quite upset about this being of german decent. I
also had the littlest cup of soup ever created. so we went to a little
mall to find a atm, and by 10:30 in the joint. Opening acts crappy ,
but shesus had some cute girls in it. I saw Mark E. Smith just outside
the dressing room and i about shit myself i got excited. so the group
shesus is over, and about 11:30 the fucking greatest group takes the
The fall starts out without M.E. Smith and plays Boxoctosis,
which i thought was great, really upbeat band was getting into it, and
then the man, the myth the legend came on stage and i went nuts, and
started singing, i wish i had a camera, it was awesome. Ben did have
a little trouble with his equipment at first, but i didnt seem to notice,
the bass player is excellent, and he's a very nice chap got to talk
to him for a little bit. Green eyed was very good too, i got into that,
as i knew the chorus to that song, the two microphones he did was great.
Protein sounded very tight, along with grass grows, i think at this
time, smith was riding along in his chair. Sparta sounds great live,
and i really love that song, janet, mountain, and 15 ways were all good,
cant say enough about mad mock, the guitar kicks total ass in this song,
god damn it was beautiful. Wow it was perfectly played i thought, it
was just awesome, bens part in the song is great, i love that guitar
riff. Pharmacist was well Pharmacist, i got a kick out of this song,
as OJ and I sang the the chorus. Then came the best bass part i have
ever heard, Dr. Bucks, wow the bassist is the great, and the way he
played that part tonight totally rocked, it was just transetting to
stand there and hear it, it was like wow, this is totally awesome, i
am in cincinnati listening to my favorite group. At this point Smith
is standing and doing funny things that are just totally cracking me
up. At this time if i am correct smith goes back to smoke and so does
elenor, and about a minute later, elenor comes back on stage with a
cigarette smith is in the back and they play white lightning instead
of contraflow, and we all sing the chorus cause its the right thing
to do, and then comes back on to do contraflow, where he fucking hilarious
in this. Finally the encore where they give the mike to the wrong people
as i know the chorus of big new prinz, OJ and I were pissed about it,
but oh well we still sang along. Finally show ended, i was like wow
this was incredible. now i will post up part 3 the after show.
Ben was fucking cool he actually looked for a shirt
for me, and he singed my cd, i got to talk to him for a little bit,
I got to meet the new bass player, he's very cool, i talked to him a
little bit about playing bass, and i could actually understand their
accents it was great, Ben has a famous face by the way. My meeting with
dave later down on post.
Yes i got Are you missing winner signed by all the members
of the greatest group. Elenor was very very sweet, and super nice, i
approached her as she was about to go up the stairs, she was very sweet,
she said you dont want my autograph in her beautiful german accent,
and i said yes you do you are in the fall, and she said ok, and she
goes well do you want marks autograph and i said yes i do, i would love
that this is my first fall concert, and you guys were great, so she
goes into the back room, and comes back out, and on the front of the
cd it says your m.e smith your pal, and she asks my name and i told
her it, and she signed it_____ TO Chase EP, and it was awesome. As for
the shirt, i paid 20 bucks for it, i plan to wear it tonight, I didnt
think i was able to get one but got the hook up.
So as we are about to leave, OJ says something about
Ben playing pool and i am like cool, and i go inside i see dave and
i am like oh crap he forgot to get his signature, but he was really
cool about everything and i approached him and asked if he could sign
my cd, and he was very cool about it, and i told him that i thought
he was great and i really enjoyed the show and how much their music
means to me, and how i have gotten a few people hooked on it, and he
said thank you, and then as we left said goodbye to the 3rd john, cole's
friend, and to the 2nd john also, and then Greg dropped me and OJ off
at OJ's house, since OJ said i could stay there instead of driving 45
minutes back to Urbana, and he was a great host, and then got my car
this morning and i had plenty of time went to the short north and found
the We wish you a protein christmas ep which i hope to have signed tonight
by at least one of the members, and hopefully if jeff gets this on time,
it would be cool to get a black cabbage cd, but i plan to get another
shirt tonight. But i had a really great time last night, and I cant
wait till tonight, i love the fall they have changed my life for the
good, and thank you simon baron for introducing them to me. PS, one
day i hope to meet you.
Stately yet seedy, distinguished but dirty--these words
could describe both The Southgate House and The Fall, which finally
played the venue on 4/20. It had been almost 10 years since the band
played in the Cincinnati area. Was it worth the wait? Definitely.
The band took the stage without MES, vamping to the
Boxoctosis riff, until MES deigned to appear. He sat during most of
the show, resting his arm on a small table next to his chair, looking
like someone's punk rock grandpa. You could almost hear him say something
like "Yessiree, I remember like it was yesterday, winning over those
roughneck miners with our music, yes sir..."
You never know quite what to expect with The Fall, a
band not known at all for pandering to the audience. You can only hope
for a good effort, and that MES isn't too drunk/ angry/ indifferent
on the night you see them. On this night we got a fast, pounding rock
and roll show, with few breaks from the hectic pace. At first I was
uneasy--as much as I like to rock out, you expect more from The Fall
than great riffs. But as the show went on, the power combined with the
mystery and intelligence, taking us into The Fall Zone, the place where
it all comes together and you can easily understand why the band's fans
are the rabid, devoted bunch we are. MES was in good voice and, more
importantly, (seemingly) good spirits. Ben 's sharp chording on 15 Ways
really breathed new life into a mediocre Fall song. I take back what
I said on another thread about him being somewhat of a hack. Ben was
especially patient with MES, who during his amp down completely during
Dr. Buck's Letter. Ben simply waited until Mark turned away from him,
then turned the volume back up. Ellini was mostly inaudible during the
show, but she's first rate eye candy. The whole band sang powerfully
on Sparta FC, and Dave sang a good counterpoint vocal on another tune
(I forget which one).
As grgs mentioned, I was going to write out the set
list, but Other John already did that in his review in the Fall news.
The only change I would make is that White Lightning and Contraflow
should be considered the first encore, since the band left their instruments
prior to those numbers and walked away--although not too far, admittedly,
and Big New Prinz the second encore. It was all over in an hour, and
while a would have liked a longer set, quality is what matters--the
show was certainly better than last year's show in Cleveland.
The Columbus, Ohio Fallnet contingent was well represented
by grgs, Other John, Chase, and Holly--was good meeting and hanging
out with them. Craig and Andy from WAIF-FM's great On The Way To The
Peak Of Normal program were there as well, as was Bob Gilroy, whom I
hadn't seen since The Fall last played in the area. My only complaint
would be the failure of more veterans from The Jockey Club days to attend.
What's wrong, people? Do you refuse to listen anymore since Scanlon
and Hanley aren't in the band? I might have had some feelings like that
after the show in Cleveland last year, but The Fall has always been
a changing proposition. Yes, Ben isn't Craig Scanlon, and he probably
still has some development to go through. But only Scanlon can be Scanlon--Ben
Pritchard can only be Ben Pritchard. There were probably people who
complained after Bramah left the first time. The present day Fall is
different from older incarnations of the band, but it's still The Fall--still
challenging, still miles ahead of just about everyone else. Do yourselves
a favor and show up the next time the band plays here--which I hope
will happen before another 10 years go by.
April 21 - Beachland
Ballroom, Cleveland, OH:
Todd took a few
Got to cleveland about a little before 9, we got lost
on way to show, where they then put double x's on my hand, since i am
under 21, and we ate at a delicious restaurant after that, no really
big deal. So then we return to the ballroom to get there in time to
see those shesus playing, but thats not as cool, as seeing OJ, Kat and
JC. Kat and JC, handed me their black cabbage cd which I got to chance
to enjoy on way back to columbus. Finally after Shesus was done screaming,
we headed out to ballroom area, where 30 minutes later maybe less, one
of MES's spoken word things strikes up, and i must say i really like
it i need to find one of those. As you usual they start out with Boxoctosis,
and i swear during most of the song, Elenor is looking at me, which
i didnt mind cause i thought she looked fantastic, and she was doing
a great job on this song. The same thing with Green Eyed. Protein sounded
pretty good, i like the christmas version alot. Sparta just fucking
rocks period, elenor looked at me some more, and we waved at her and
she waved back. Grass grow was pretty good, but not as good as Janet
was and She was just absolutely fantastic on it, along with a lot of
the members, the new bassist could really groove, and i love listening
to that song, it is a great song to listen to on a long road trip. Mountain
and 15 ways were alright, 15 ways though was pretty upbeat which was
great, and more smiling from elenor, and some great expressions by Ben.
Mad Mock has got to have one of the best opening riffs i have ever heard,
i love this song its fantastic on the EP. Its excellent i absolutely
love it. Pharmacist we moshed around too which was quite fun and Elenor
told us after the show she wanted to do it herself. Dr. Bucks flat out
fucking rocks, tonight was even better by last night, what album is
this on, i must have it, i think this is when we did the we are not
worthys to Elenor, OJ would know or it was at the end. Contraflow was
also very good, and then they decided to take a quick smoke break. Elenor
waved to us goodbye. When they returned for encore, elenor gave me her
cigarette which i ended up smoking, this was the first time i have ever
tried a cigarette, i then gave it to oj, to finish up. They then did
a mixture between middle mass, and walk like a man, elenor and the rest
of the group was fantastic on, especially elenor. Finally ended with
white lightening, which was also great and once again everyone great
on this. MES messed around with more knobs, and knocked over more microphones,
and wore that mysterious black glove. Overall excellent show, i want
to go to pittsburgh, but no money. Special thanks goes to Greg, a big
thanks to him for taking me, OJ for being OJ. Kat and JC for the great
After the show, band was quite accessible, once again
everyone including MES signed my EP. Found out the bassist really likes
the Pixies, Dave likes the drummer from Zepplin, Ben thinks Clapton
is a guitar god, and Elenor thinks Bonn is rather quite boring, we got
on the topic of Germany, when she came out the door spotted me and singed
two things for me and we talked about Germany and where she is from,
she is greek but was born in Berlin, she cracked me up when talking
about Bonn. Then she asked if I wanted mark to sign cd which i said
would be great, and i asked about shirts, she said she would find out,
she was really cool about this, then she approached oj, and we talked
some more, and asked if we know anybody who ttaped the show. But she
went to the back to get the stuff signed and brought out some t-shirts
which she then attempted to sell which was cute, she only charged us
10 so i got 2 shirts, and her email address. I ended up getting a dragnet
shirt, and a Lie dream of a casino soul shirt. It also turns out Elenor
is 31 and not 22, but still she is the most beautiful woman i have ever
seen, and i even told her that, she blushed, she is so beautiful oh
my god i cant stop singing her praises, hell i even told her she is
my favorite member lol. But she was totally great, and I love her to
death, she is just too damn adorable, and sweet and innocent and german
i love german women. Also I got a set list, and should of took the lyrics
that mark e smith used. But It was nice to meet Jeff and Kat, and enjoy
a great concert, and I cant wait to see them again.
Elenor asked OJ and I if we knew anybody that taped
the show, but I figured that there is so many people here who talk to
other people, that if they know of someone that taped the show to let
me or OJ know, that would be great.
At one point in the concert, MES said something about
viagara, and also during we are mear mod goth, instead of goth he said
god, he is a comedical genius. Love every minute of the concert. Go
Well I'm glad Chase got to post about the show last
night already, othewise I'd feel like a right twat for saying what I'm
going to say about it before he had an opportunity to gush so enthusiastically
about it. It really is nice to see people enjoying the Fall so much
- there were actually quite a few people dancing quite fervantly to
the band last night, which I have to say was pretty disquieting..
But first I just want to say that most of the highlights
of last night's show for me had very little to do with the Fall themselves..
It was good to finally meet Chase, who turns out to be quite a pleasant
fellow and a *very* enthusiastic Fall (and FallNet!) fan.. It was also
fun seeing Chase & OJ's unabashedly fanboyish behavior while Elenor
was doling out t-shirts to us (note: seems they're not having merch
tables at the shows due to some kind of dispute with their roadies,
but if you accost the band, it seems like they've got tons of pretty
cool shirts - I myself got one of the *very* attractive Kimble shirts,
as well as a totally cool 'Lie Dream of a Casino Soul' cover shirt,
while Kat got a Dragnet shirt and another one that I forget what it
was, perhaps another Lie Dream one..). I also met up with a friend of
mine who I didn't know was back in town, who had moved out to Utah and
back again, so that was cool. Also met up with some businessman from
Manchester who's apparently on some wild American business tour, just
flying to all theses American cities doing business I guess - he just
happened to be in Cleveland last night & thought he'd go out &
see his fellow Mancunians for the first time in a couple of years. He
was pleased to hear about our trip to the UK and especially that we
had had such a nice time in Manchester.
And as Chase has mentioned, Elenor really is very nice,
and actually kept reminding me of Eva Gabor in Green Acres - just from
her accent though.
Anyway - buh - what to say about the Fall?
If I had to sum up this show in one word, I could do
it quite easily with the word, "pedestrian."
This was by far *the* most *boring* Fall show I've ever
seen in my life, and I'd seen six of them previous to last night, if
I'm counting right. God - just everything was so dull dull dull. The
playing had absolutely no personality behind it - maybe they're slick,
but fucksake, that's *not* what the Fall are supposed to be about. Ben
seems like an ok guitar player, but he shouldnt' be a Fall guitar player.
I dunno who the bass player is, but goddamn, he was as mediocre as they
come - is it possible to have extremes of mediocrity? Is it possible
to be insanely tepid? If there are levels of 'okay'-ness, of 'adequacy',
that are as completely in the middle of middle as middle can be, then
I think they achieved that last night. And actually - if anyone's playing
in the band stood out from the rest as something actually interesting
and cool, it had to have been Elenor's small Korg analog synth playing
- she was doing some pretty cool bass stuff on there that *far* outshined
Mr Personality over there on his sleeping Fender Jazz bass. Fuck, about
half way through their set I was really kind of wishing they'd do a
show with just MES and Elenor.
Chase mentioned something about a song that was a mix
of Middl Mass and Walk like a Man? If that's true, I totally didn't
recognize it. There were a few songs I didn't completely recognize,
but the ones I did I've heard much better versions of. God, Dr Buck's
Letter sounded like 70s cock rock instead of the really cool & intense
sort of dark techno-y thing that I like about it. White Lightning was
way too fast and had no aspect of rockabillyishness to it at all. Quite
a few songs seemed to be played too fast actually.. I guess the only
songs I really enjoyed the whole night were probably "Janet &
Johnny" and .. um.. was it Mikes Love Xexagon? bleh. Even last
year's show here now seems great by comparison to this one, and I thought
*it* was pretty run-of-the-mill at the time too. At least some of the
heavier songs then had some weight to them. So - I dunno. Like I say,
it was great to meet Chase and get some cool t-shirts I guess. Maybe
I'm just too old & jaded about the Fall anymore.
April 22 - Brewhouse, Pittsburgh,
Attended the Brewhouse show which was legendary. The
sound in front of the stage was instrumental only and this really drove
MES crazy. He walked on to stage (with a little help) and couldn't stay
put. He was set up a small folding table with a chair on wheels right
on the edge of the stage in front of the drum set. All he had was some
pages with chicken scratch on them. Mark wheeled himself around for
a while trying to get clear of the drums only to become entangled. Tried
singing with two mics but still couldn't hear himself. Then MES systematically
tried to sabotage the other mics and amps. He ripped to mic off the
bass drum first, only to have a roadie put it back and then ripped it
off again. Then he started walking around and even sung two songs standing.
Then he started playing with the amps (guitar and bass). He was juiced
up on something! Later MES grabbed the percussion mic and tried to sing
with it and put his mics right on the drums. Things only got stranger.
He put the bass mic back and cranked to bass amp to 11 as he ended the
set. Second set he did two songs from off stage (recognized white lightning).
Then surprising he came back up on stage to sing a one song in a final
set. He didn't look good and it went downhill quickly. He gave a mic
to the audience to sing. He tried to play the keyboards with Elenor
and almost knocked them over. Then as he got to the edge of the stage,
he either fell or jumped. Luckily two stage hands were there and caught
him (hope his is alright)! Band was great through all this and seemed
to be mocking him with their expressions. Either the 1st or 2nd time
they came back, the drummer didn't and a roadie did a great job of drumming
standing up. Definitely not boring! Would love to see a setlist.
Here's a slightly belated Pittsburgh report. I'm a long
time fan but the last time I saw the fall was "nations saving grace"
era. In the days leading up to the show I found myself being somewhat
excited to see them particularly after all of the good reports of the
tour. It was also the first time the Fall ever played my adopted hometown.
It was a typical raining spring evening in Pittsburgh.
When I arrived New Model army was still playing & the long time Pgh
scenesters were outside of the venue drinking. After New Model army
played a too long 90 set I went inside to get a good place to view the
spectacle & tape the show. Over the PA system during the change over
they were playing reggae & then "funhouse"(!) by the stooges.
During the "funhouse" portion you could look around & see
people singing along & playing air guitar as they waited. As my buddy
Dan said, "Why listen to anything else?" In the middle break
of "TV Eye" some industrial kind of music started & the band
came on stage. They were immediately impressive. They were the best
musicians "I've ever seen in the fall. MES hobbled on stage w/a
hand full of papers, sat at the desk & it began. The set lasted 52 minutes.
I'm assuming other than the Move cover, these were all new songs. The
interplay between the guitar, bass & drums was really amazing. In the
past I always felt that one of the Falls strengths was that they knew
how to create a good riff & run it into the ground by every musician
basically playing the same thing. Here the bass & guitar were playing
sort of different things ("counterpoint"?) & they complimented
each other w/out losing sight of the riffs purpose. & the riffs were
consistently great (on first hearing for me, no less). I kind of felt
the keyboards were out in left field for the most part but she added
a cool touch to the festivities. My buddy Dan felt the band sounded
like the Jesus Lizard. I kept thinking off 60's era garage bands & my
old band, the crow flies (minus all of our lead guitar shredding.)
After a few numbers MES started walking around, banging
his mics on things, turning the bass amp down (the bassist turned it
up again as soon as MES walked away). When MES went over to the guitar
amp & started messing w/the knobs I watched the guitarist sigh (I swear
I actually saw him sigh...) & get that "there he goes again"
look. During the last tune MES left the stage & the band rocked on for
another minute or so. The industrial racket started again until the
band returned to the stage, minus MES who choose to sing from back stage.
They did two tunes & left. More industrial racket on the PA system.
Then the guitar & bass came back on stage & a road manager looking kind
of guy started beating out the beat to the song on the drums while standing
next to them. He was pretty good too, in an old school Fall sense. Then
the drummer appeared. I can't even remember if MES sing on stage or
back stage for the 2nd encore.
In general I was also shocked at how old & crusty MES
looked. I'm guessing he's in his early 50's, like 5 years older than
me. but from my vantage point he appeared much older. His hair has the
qualities of my father. I kept thinking of Wm. S. Burroughs. Of yeah,
where was the fall's merch? I was ready to buy a shirt, which I never
do. The guy working the new model army table said he offered to sell
it for them & they refused. He described the fall as "they're assholes"
to a friend of mine.
In summary. A great show. The best bunch of musicians
I've ever seen in the fall. Great show. Totally rock. It was worth losing
a couple hours of sleep to witness it. I hope they come back to town
sooner than another 28 years.
April 23 - Magic Stick, Detroit,
From Ben's typed setlist:
BOXOCTOSIS / GREEN EYED [inc. "Groovin' with Mr. Bloe"]
/ PROTEIN [inc. lyrics from "The Past"] / SPARTA / GRASS GROW (TAPE)
/ JANET / MOUNTAIN / 15 WAYS / MAD MOCK > HEXAGON / PHARMACIST /
DR. BUCKS [inc. lyrics from "Dropout Boogie"] / CONTRAFLOW
encores were "Walk Like A Man" and "White Lightning",
both sung from backstage
tapes - intro: Recovery Kit 2
pre-encore: Loop 41
post-encore: The Horror In Clay
Another great Fall show! Mark took to the stage under
his own power without a crutch in sight, but spent practically all of
the set slumped in his thronelike red leather chair. The chair had little
wheels on it so Mark was able to scoot around the stage. The most applause
he got all night was when he stood up and prowled the stage during "Pharmacist";
it was genuinely moving and affecting moment.
I enjoyed a couple solid minutes of eye contact with
Mark early in the set -- he probably caught me singing along with EVERY
FUCKING WORD. I was disappointed that I didn't get to hear "Middle Mass"
but was still delighted to hear more songs from the new album that they
didn't play on the last US tour. For a mid-tour addition to the band's
repertoire, "15 Ways" sounded great and was remarkably faithful to the
All in all, this Fall plays with more swagger and confidence
than the one I saw ten months ago. This is a good thing. However, I
can't help but wonder if discipline in the band is slipping, since both
"15 Ways" and "Walk Like A Man" had drum solos, and Ben was allowed
to play a self-congratulatory flourish at the end of "Boxoctosis" --
what was THAT all about? Anyway, watching a middle-aged invalid command
the attention of an audience at a rock show was one of the most hilarious
and surreal experiences of my life. God bless Mark E. Smith and The
Fall, and onto Chicago!
Reporting in about the Detroit show - absent the set
list since that's already been well-described by Zach. Offline-Fuckface
John McNamara (the man who introduced me to the Fall) was one of our
three (along with me and friend Mike Wasnerski) and he also has personal
insights from the night. Oh, BTW we hung out with MES and Eleni and
drank their beer! My general impression of the show is similar to Jeff's
about the show in Cleveland. Enjoyable, but not as strong or tight as
last June in the same venue. Also only about one-third the crowd; Mike
talked with some staffer who had the number 158 for attendance. I agree
that the bassist was the weakest link, followed by the guitarist. The
two of them seemed to be just going through the motions at times. I
prefer the more plodding version of Dr. Buck's Letter. Walk Like a Man
was a curious choice but hard to decipher.
Afterward John was chatting up Eleni quite a bit as
a small group hung out by the stage, a few people giving her small presents
of what I do not know. We met East Lansing Fuckface Jason and Lansingite
Bryan(?) who were very cool. Eleni indicated she would allow a couple
people backstage and the three just mentioned all went, along with another
four or five (mostly Canadians). Mike and I hung back 'cause we thought
someone in the band would get pissed off with too many people rushing
in. A few minutes later John came out and told me to join them. John
pointed to MES' crutches and told him it was great to not see them on
stage tonight (and soon after knocked them to the ground accidentally).
He informed MES that a sure sign of Spring in the Midwest is the abundance
of fresh roadkill, which brought a chuckle from Mark. John also invited
him to "come to Lansing and play the Temple Club." MES erroneously claimed
that The Fall had played Lansing before, to which John replied, "No
you haven't!" laughing.
I hung back and conversed extremely little because there
were a couple of overly effusive Canadians who were just gushing in
MES' direction. One guy claimed to have seen them (8) times, adding
something like, "and I'm from Windsor, the Manchester of Canada." (??!!)
Another Canadian came in and ranted some early Fall lyrics, about which
MES didn't seem to pay much attention. Soon after, Eleni asked us if
we wanted some beer. John (what a FuckFace!) grabbed a Pilsner-Urquell
and two minutes later, handed me....a Corona. Bastard! He got to share
the same brand of beer with MES. Eleni was heading out of the room and
we gave our thanks and were soon gone.
Bending's wonderful The
Fall Multimedia Project website has part one of Grant Showbiz's Falling
Through Time and Edinburgh Man from MTV's 120
This is the latest news and gossip off FallNet for those with weak stomachs.
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:
& Liverpool gigs, Steven Trafford - new bassist, J. Neo Marvin
interview, Stewart Lee article, 39 Golden Greats,
Perverted by Mark E. tribute, Great God Pan comic strip, misc.
reviews, MES & Stevie
gigs, Mark's fractured hip, Bridgewater Hall, Blackburn DVD, University
Challenge, Fall fan film, Brix Smith - Fashion Junkie, Lovers UK
gigs, loads of music press scans (mostly NME), I'm into CB cartoon,
Smash Hits trading card, Michael Pollard photos, Cider with Roadies,
Guardian int. w/ Ben, Pascal Le Gras exhibition, Blackburn DVD, Sanctuary
24dec03 lots of
UK gig reviews, Birmingham Post MES interview, details on expanded LATWT
and Dragnet CDs, recent NME Fall snippets.
reviews, HMV gig, Unpeeled interview (w/ Ben) details, Smash
Hits '87, Michael Bracewell's most embarrasing moment (and Pseud's
Durutti Column vs. The Fall photo exhibition, Permanent Years /
Rebellious Jukebox comp CDs, Fall badges, Reuben's Paintwork title page.
Manchester, Leeds gigs, book reviews, 1997 MES interview, new LP and
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
18aug03 Prindle int. w/Ben, Hip Priest reviews, Live at Phoenix
cd, War Against Intelligence cd, Brix int. 1994, Lovers single, web-enabled
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
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
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
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
12dec01 MCR gig reviews, album reviews,
28nov01 mammoth US tour edition
13nov01 first batch of AYAMW reviews,
London Forum gig reports
5nov01 Euro gig reports, Knitting Factory
19oct01 UK gig reports, studybees interview
30sep01 tour / booking details, 1979
9sep01 not much
28aug01 Flitwick single, 82/83 gig pics
31may01 Dublin pics, Cash for Questions, Guardian
29apr01 IR, UK gig reviews
9apr01 NL gig reviews
3mar01 Dublin gig, Invisible Jukebox
28jan01 World Bewitched details
1jan01 some ace Castlefield pics
19dec00 more reviews
1dec00 tour reviews, crap interviews
10nov00 Unutterable reviews
21oct00 Stanza festival, HighSmith Teeth, comedy
11oct00 RFH reviews, new Cog Sinister releases
12sep00 DOSE interview, Fall calendar
22aug00 Portugal, Manchester gigs
9aug00 bits & pieces
23jul00 Psykick Dance Hall, Pure As Oranj details,
Triple Gang reviews
9jul00 few bits
20jun00 Ashton, Hull, Middlesbrough, Glasgow,
Edinburgh reviews, old Volume piece
30may00 LA2 reviews
22may00 few old LP reviews
2may00 bits & pieces
24apr00 TBLY #19 details, Prop details
8apr00 more Leeds reviews. WSC interview, other
26mar00 Doncaster, York, Leeds reviews, BravEar
interview (plus others)
14mar00 various reviews, old Liz Kershaw i/view
24feb00 Past Gone Mad details
13feb00 few bits & pieces
30jan00 tour details, Tommy Blake stuff
20jan00 TBLY #18 details, Hanley in Mojo
10jan00 Dragnet doylum, New Year message, etc
older news: Nov 1997 - Dec 1999