The Fall play ...
||Austurbær, Reykjavik, Iceland. Tickets available here. With Dr. Gunni
||Grand Rokk, Reykjavik, Iceland with Dr. Gunni
||Bierkeller, Manchester (tickets)
||Bierkeller, Manchester (tickets)
||Boardwalk, Sheffield (tickets)
||Bierkeller, Bristol (tickets)
||Carling Academy, Liverpool (tickets).
||All Tomorrow's Parties (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Camber Sands Holiday Centre
Interim has received a lot of attention over on the message board, and now the press reviews are trickling in:
Sunday Times, November 21:
Hip Priest HIP004CD
Mark E Smith has obstinately maintained Manchester's experimental rockabilly show band for nearly three decades. Interim's inexplicably cohesive ragbag of recent outtakes, offcuts and crudely spliced live tracks is accompanied by a typically provocative scrawled sleeve note: "Comments will be ignored." Though some fans view the album as a calculated insult, it is an accurate document of Britain's greatest band at work. Smith 's fearsomely focused narratives and majestically brutal accompaniment are alternately highlighted or hamstrung by perverse and frustrating production decisions. An abrupt edit of the stillborn classic Blindness, as yet unreleased, taunts and teases with possibility. The lost B-side Mod Mock Goth is placed centre stage where it belongs. A smoke alarm goes off in the studio during a rehearsal of Open the Box. It sounds entirely appropriate. The Fall are still burning. Four stars
Voxer, November(?), 2004:
Seminal Live', a half-live half-studio affair released in 1989, had disappointed many Fall fans because of its 'contractual obligation' aspect - which was indeed the case. No need to worry this time though: whereas 'Interim' uses the same formula, its primary objective is to make the most of the current line-up, the most ferocious for a long time, before the inevitable happens. And if golden greats such as 'Wrong Place Right Time' and 'Mere Pseud Mag Ed' haven't aged one jot, the new tracks are simply breathtaking. 'Blindness', 'All Clasp Hands' and 'What About Us?' sound without a doubt like instant classics, the latter enabling Mark E Smith to reopen the Harold Shipman enquiry. but of course!
review by PMD
From the Tangents website, a review by Matt Bryden:
A Fancied Wit
The first Fall LP not to be trailed by the late John Peel opens with three tracks first heard to magnificent effect in the band's 24th session for his programme. As suggested by the title and liner-notes, the truculent Mark Smith has leant away from the quality production of this session and recent studio album The Real New Fall LP . The good news is that, even in the parlous state of most of these recordings, the band sound wonderfully tight and Smith of admirable vocal prowess and confidence. Hearing him humming as he walks towards the mic at the beginning of the opening 'All Clasp Hands' is a good sign, as is the playfulness in his voice during an early version of 'Mod Mock Goth' that recalls his vocal on 'Eat Y'Self Fitter' from all those years ago.
Happy moments borne out of the shambolic organisation of the material include Mark introducing his band on stage midway through the album and, about forty minutes in, introducing 'Theme from Sparta F.C.' thus: 'Good evening, I am Mark E Smith. We start tonight with the theme from Sparta F.C., a film yet to made by the great director Xyralothep, your true God'. The weird production on this song is fascinating, with Eleni Poulou, whose keys enliven the open track in classic Fall fashion, singing strangely out-of-sync backing vocals into a kind of sonic vacuum. A heard-from-inside-the-washing-machine mix of 'Green Eyed Loco Man' fades into Smith riffing over an instrumental version of the same song, 'the way the fantasy crashed against, crashing into the rocks of reality', which recalls the reconfiguring of an instrumental 'Escape to Xanadu' on 1992's The Infotainment Scan , Smith caressing the vocals and sounding his old self, something many people had given up expecting as much as ten years ago.
There are pleasing early lyrics to a sluggish 'What About Us' (a song which references Harold Shipman, although not in this form): 'we are living leg ends / we are well cocked', and those fascinated by Smith's lyrics will enjoy the change from 'By hook or crook I'll get it back' to the more nationalistic 'By George I'll get it back' on 'Sparta'. The studio / live / rehearsal soundscapes rub up against each other nicely. Yes, Smith may not be releasing the cutting edge new album many people crave, but the material here is far stronger than, for example Brix Smith's riffing over 'Glam Racket / Star' from 1995's live and studio recording The 27 Points .
Of the older songs, a superb version of 'Spoilt Victorian Child' does a wonderful job of coming alive without seeming to go through the motions as did, for example, 'The Joke' on 2G+2. In fact, such is its sympathy with the original that, helped by the fluctuating volume levels, I was reminded of its musical affinity with 'Petty Thief Lout' from the same era. It is only Steven Trafford's bass that sounds notably different in style from the original; but then who could copy Steve Hanley's bass style convincingly? An excellent, fascinating mess to trawl through. Add to this a great cover by Pascal Le Gras which even receives a credit this time around.
Although he'll never see it, Peel achieved his wish of getting the complete Peel sessions, which are now scheduled for early 2005, released. Sadly, it will now be a summative document. Happily it will peak with Smith assembling a band that compares with the glory days of the 80s and early 90s. As Peel said, the good ship Fall. You don't really need anyone else.
[Hip Priest; 2004]
The Fall are brilliant. No, really, you've heard all of this before, but that's because it's true. Mark E. Smith's revolving door doesn't always push out masterpieces but the music is rarely less than fascinating, and the band's rigorously applied aesthetic blueprint nullifies the fatigue of their prolific tendencies. Their imperfection and profligate recording habits are part of what makes them one of my favorite bands, but with Interim the shit has finally hit the fan. I know MES can be somewhat cavalier regarding his fans and their expectations, but no one that I know of needs a disc like this.
Interim-- aptly named as its sole purpose seems to be as space filler between proper LPs-- is a haphazard jumble of recent rehearsals and live recordings, with mastering levels randomly ranging from inaudible to deafening, fidelity that is consistently questionable but often awful, and a bizarre tracklisting that throws in a few new songs that are illicitly available on superior Peel Session bootlegs (and likely soon on a new Fall album), mock-ups of the tracks from The Real New Fall LP, and a few live recordings of old classics from the band's current lineup. In other words, no one really seems to have given much thought to this disc's actual value or purpose to fans, and it further muddies The Fall's already confusing and (to a newcomer) somewhat monolithic discography.
And dammit, what makes this even more frustrating is that most of the material is quite good-- maybe not prime Fall, but strong. Really, I just got versions of "Mod Mock Goth", "Theme From Sparta FC", and "Boxoctosis" earlier this year, and those were better than these, and I like the rearrangement on the live take on This Nation's Saving Grace's fantastic "Spoilt Victorian Child", but the sound is terrible, with volume fluctuations and a disengaged vocal from MES sinks it further. Couldn't I just have a whole show with the current lineup? The new songs are often impressive, but why not just treat me to the whole Peel Session? Instead, "Blindness", (aka "Blind Man"-- most of the songs here have slightly altered or adjusted titles) is just a nasty bassline and you're left trying to glean the rest of it through the fuzzy mud. "All Clasp Hands" sounds recorded by an audience member, and the crowd noise is irritating, though not quite as irritating as the odd and nearly constant clapping that sabotages "What About Us?" Why does the promising "I'm Ronney the Oney" cut off suddenly after a minute and a half?
And what the hell is that beeping sound in the middle of "Boxoctosis Alarum" (again with the needlessly altered titles)? It comes in like someone's pager going off in the midst of a movie, and it's louder than anything else on the recording. Seriously, this is either a post-modernist experimental joke to see how many critics will call it genius or it's just plain sloppy and careless. I say all of this with considerable conflict, because I love The Fall and normally find their erratic inscrutability a part of their allure. The songs themselves are guilty of nothing, good as they are, but the presentation is all wrong. Fall cultists, beware, because the completist in you who forces you to buy this is laying an ambush. Non-cultists, don't even contemplate laying out a red cent for this. Get The Real New Fall LP. Get on the peer-to-peers and find the Peel Sessions, wait for a real live album and wait for the next LP, because this is not worth your time.
-Joe Tangari, December 1st, 2004
I understand poet Steven Waling's new volume includes several references to The
Fall. Further info here (although it was Poetry Review that mentioned the Fall references).
Haven't managed to get hold of a copy yet but thought I'd let you know.
The documentary Truly Madly Deeply Vale aired Friday night (Nov. 19) on Granada TV. The Fall played at this free festival in 1978 and 1979 and there were a few comments by Mark as well as a tiny bit of Fall footage. You can read all about the festival at http://www.deeplyvale.com. I hope someone can post the video online soon.
Conway has announced details of the remastered, expanded Hex Enduction Hour (out on January 15). There's also a piece about it on top40-charts.com -- naturally in the Metal/Hard Rock section:
NEW YORK (Sanctuary Records) - Most Fall fans regard Hex Enduction Hour as the group's bona fide classic, encapsulating everything for which they are so loved and revered. Originally released in March 1982, 'Hex Enduction Hour' displays Mark E. Smith's vicious, lyrical edge whilst the band team of Mark Riley and Craig Scanlon produce more extreme, industrial edged clattering, combining both riff and melody.
This 2-CD remastered, deluxe edition adds bonus tracks recorded for a John Peel Radio One session in 1981, the 1982 single 'I'm Into C.B.' and a selection of live tracks recorded in England and New Zealand between November 1981 and August 1982. Also feature is a live track recorded at London's Astoria.
Earlier in 2004 The Fall's first album 'Live At The Witch Trials' celebrated its 25th anniversary. There aren't very many bands that have been together longer than The Fall and, with a few exceptions, it's difficult to think of any who, like The Fall, have released brand new material every year.
Formed at the height of the punk rock movement in Manchester in 1976, The Fall has released around 50 singles, 25 studio albums and perhaps 50 live and compilation albums. In February 2003 they recorded their 23rd John Peel session.
Famously the band has gone through numerous personnel changes over the years (there have been over 30 different line-ups so far) but always present is the enigmatic Mark E. Smith - musical genius, obnoxious drunk, Salford's finest poet, journalist's worst nightmare, working class hero.
Dubbed 'The Grumpiest Man in Pop', by the NME, Mark E. Smith has been carving his jaundiced signature on the music scene for the past twenty plus years. Rarely tempted to celebrate the lighter side of life, Smith uses humour and horror to illuminate vile hypocrisies and injustices and on stage will work himself into a maelstrom of contempt.
Ríkisútvarpið RUV (the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service - radio) broadcast a Fall special on Nov. 16 in anticipation of the Reykjavik gigs. Rather than interview Mark for the show, I believe they played snippets from a couple of recent UK radio interviews, which the translator then translated into Icelandic. In any case, you can listen to the special here.
Some Fall forum participants are putting together a new Fall fanzine, The Pseud Mag. You can read about it on this thread or order directly from their site. If you'd like to contribute something, I'm sure the editors would be delighted.
There's a campaign on the message board to vote for Blindness (Peel session version) for this year's Festive Fifty .
From the Narnack website:
"The Fall will be recording a brand new record for Narnack in the early part of 2005. All new material and is scheduled to be released June/July 2005. We'll keep you updated as we get more information."
I don't plan to retire before I die. I don't like the idea of retirement. I don't want to play golf. I just want to keep doing what I'm doing. I do regard the playing of golf as like entering the antechamber to death. When my mates tell me they've started playing golf, I mentally cross them off the Christmas card list.
John Peel, June 2002
Oct. 26: John Peel, R.I.P. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and millions of fans all over the world. What an impossibly sad day.
If you'd like to, please add your tribute to John on the message board.
There are various BBC tributes that you can listen to from Peel homepage. Andy Kershaw did a very good memorial show on Halloween on Radio 3; it's available here.
The unfortunately named Rob Da Bank has taken over Peel's Radio 1 time slot, at least temporarily, and has done a couple of shows that were pre-programmed by John. These Nov. 2 & 3 shows are available here.
There's a 1986 show Peelie did for the Dutch station VPRO hosted here -- click the speaker for "uur 1" to listen (thanks Arjan!)
M.E.S. was on the Newsnight TV show Tuesday night, briefly. His words about Peel appear to have divided the Fall fanbase judging by the message board and the Fallnet mailing list. You can download it from here -- the Peel bit is 17 minutes into the program. The same site has a clip of John talking about the Kicker Conspiracy video on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1983.
I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist, but there's something fishy about the disparity between the exit poll numbers and the total votes reported on the evening of Nov. 2. I'm keeping an eye on http://www.blackboxvoting.org (and http://www.blackboxvoting.com) -- the former has filed the largest Freedom of Information action in history, apparently. Also Google News is a very useful tool.
The Bavarian station Bayern2Radio broadcast the recent Munich gig last Saturday, October 23.
Michael Jungbluth sent in his excellent photos of the recent Cologne and Nuremberg gigs, and Peter Seiderer has some photos of the Munich gig on his site.
Taz is a left-wing newspaper in Germany and they interview MES in today's edition: http://www.taz.de/pt/2004/10/22/a0183.nf/text.
Olli's translation -- many thanks! :
I'm a Hooligan
An interview with Mark E. Smith, the singer of the band The Fall, about life as a punk rocker at the age of 47. When you're broke, the
painkillers in hospital have no effect any more, and rock music is taken over by middle class kids.
INTERVIEW MAX DAX
taz: Mr. Smith, in June you fell off the stage at a concert and broke
your hip. Does that make you think: Why am I doing this to myself at
my age? After all, you're approaching 50.
Mark E. Smith: Fifty? Me? I'm 47. When I formed The Fall back then, in
1977, all of us in the band made ourselves older by three or four
years than we were really. Otherwise we wouldn't have been allowed to
perform, young as we were.
taz: No signs of wear after 30 years of punk rock?
MES: I'll tell you what: I've never suffered so much pain as after
this accident. I'm a pretty tough dog, believe me, but that was pain!
Two years ago I broke my left leg -- compared to this that was a
relaxed peeing break. Moreover I have a problem: Painkillers don't
work with me any more. They have to give me morphine for me to feel
anything. Of I left this fucking hotel in Newcastle as soon as I had
MES: Did I say hotel? I meant hospital. They pumped me full of
morphine, so much of it that they could have capsized a boat full of
taz: Did only morphine work with you because you have a history of
strong drug use?
MES: Hmm. You know: My parents raised me so that until now I have a
healthy scepticism towards mainstream medicine. For a long time I
didn't even take aspirin. Believe me. Or don't.
taz: Do you mean to say that you normally don't take pills because
they contain chemicals? And what is speed made of?
MES: In hospital they gave me loads of pills. Way too many. I'm
against that. Instead of a decent treatment they just pump you
up. It's particularly bad when you've drunk beforehand. My goodness. I
was pissed when they brought me there, and they gave me all those
pills. Together that works like acid. These scientists are a strange
log. Mixing pills that are far more dangerous than anything that
you're sold on the streets.
Did you know that I had to claim bankruptcy in England in 2000. For me
bankruptcy was like a shock. I don't know how something like this is
handled in Germany. In England it's like this: You can return bills to
the sender with the remark "bankrupt" -- and then you don't have to pay
them. You know, superfluous bills for rent for rehearsal and stuff
like that. Strangely enough, many didn't believe me, because they saw
my face on the cover of magazines at the same time. People just don't
understand -- that you can be famous and still earn no money.
taz: Were you able to draw anythink positive from you misery?
MES: That whole story opened my eyes. I mean: in a human way. People
who you'd least expected to helped me, held out their hand to me. In
the pubs suddenly all those fat guys who I'd always thought strange
bought me a pint.
taz: Do you work through such existential experiences in diaries? Or
do you even prepare an autobiography?
MES: No, no. Nothing of the sort.
taz: But you live through so much. Do you never have the feeling that
your head might explode, your hard disk overflow?
MES: No, no. I'm not Nick Cave. He always releases records with his
diaries. I don't want to end like him. Amen. No, I destroy all
memories. I simply throw away all receipts, all tickets that could
remind me of something.
taz: On the other hand your fans seem to archive every step of yours on
the internet. It's amazing what one can learn about you there.
MES: Every week I get about a moving box full of articles and notes
and transcripts from news groups about my person - everything brought
together by some people off the internet. Week after week. I throw it
all away immediately. My band don't understand that. They think I'm
taz: Do you still enjoy being on tour?
MES: The last three months were interesting. I gave concerts sitting
in a wheel chair - because of my hip. Now I'm able to stand again. In
America they are very rude to people in wheel chairs, they don't make
way, they bump into you. In England on the other hand there's always
an alleyway opening up between people.
taz: And when you're not on tour, when you're at home in Manchester?
MES: The city's getting ever more expensive and hipper. Nowadays all
those football players live in their lofts in the city centre -- and
we artists have to move away.
taz: But you've always fought off commercial success with a certain
MES: Oh, you're right when you say that failure is my life, but I can
ease your mind: The Fall have great success in America at the moment.
taz: Put another way: What gives you the strength to continue your way?
MES: I like writing songs. Incidentally I have the impression that the
job of a musician has turned into an ordinary middle class job. When
nowadays a son tells his father that he wants to be the guitarist in a
rock'n'roll band, he won't hear "Fuck off!" any more, he'll get an
encouraging pat on the shoulder. We were in New York recently and met
the Strokes. Their members are like their parents: One of the Strokes'
dads works in the recording industry, another in the fashion industry,
another once had a band himself and so on. The Strokes are one hundred
percent middle class.
taz: Does a band like The Strokes betray any ideals which The Fall
MES: Good question. I can't really tell you. I'll first have to think
about how rapidly and persistently the times are changing.
taz: You seem a lot more relaxed than say: ten years ago.
MES: I'm happy to be alive.
taz: Because you could just as well have been run over?
MES: You should have seen me in the seventies. A wonder that I
survived that at the time. It didn't need punk for me to start
taz: You mean: Hadn't there been punk you would simply have invented
MES: No idea. I don't remember anything.
taz: What sort of satisfaction do you draw today from nearly 30 years
of The Fall?
MES: When I was broke I had to realize that an ordinary person has to
work to be able to buy their food. So I continued.
taz: You mean: The Fall is easily earned money - although maybe not on
the highest level?
MES: Well: If you're not in a band because of the women, then because of
the money, right?
taz: But the audience doesn't notice all that. For the audience the
singer on the stage is in the ideal case a role model, an ideal
figure, someone you can project your dreams and desires on.
MES: On me? But you're right: That's never going to change. My fans in
America are 15, 16 years old. Many of those - like ourselves at the
time - have to cheat to see my concerts. They pretend to be older. In
America, I'm approached by fans who thell me they've never seen black
people at a concert of a white band before. In America going to a
concert is similar to going to the cinema - entertainment. As soon as
a band give up their role as entertainers, that doesn't fit into the
progamme any more in America. Maybe that's why we attract so many
taz: How would you judge the status of The Fall today?
MES: Believe me or not: Today The Fall are more relevant than ever.
MES: Because I've kept going.
taz: Nice shirt you're wearing there, by the way. From Italy?
MES: No. It's from a tailor in Manchester. I have to somehow set
myself off from the rest of the people. In Manchester, you know, you
wear ManU jerseys these days. That's not for me. I'm not a parrot.
taz: Are you still a football fan?
MES: I used to be a fan.
taz: But punk rock and football - they belong together, don't they?
MES: I stopped being interested in football when they started to
rebuild the stadiums -- and replaced stands with seats. The middle
class are going to the stadiums now. It's simply got nothing to do
with real football any more. The hooligans were the tenuous
justification to provoke a social change that nobody wanted. Nobody
wanted the middle class to take over the arenas. Nobody wanted
families to go to the football stadiums with their children an have
picknicks there. I'm the hooligan they so successfully chased away.
taz: Only recently a court in America condemned you to never touch
MES: Oh yeah, I remember. They sent me into therapy. But now I'm
Ben Pritchard was interviewed recently by the Aardvark Speaks.
Interim - out on Voiceprint on November 1:
1. All Clasp Hands
3. What About Us?
4. I'm Ronnie
5. Green Eyed Loco Man
6. Mad Mock Goth
7. Wrong Place, Right Time
8. Sparta F.C. #3
9. Mere Pseud Mag Ed
Spoilt Victorian Child
Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - Austurbær, Reykjavik:
Several excellent photos with many thanks to Oskar Einarsson. Thanks to Doko for the setlist.
The concert last night was fine. It was not a sellout but more than half of the
seats were taken. The warm up acts were OK and the Fall came on just before 10
pm. The set was similar to what I have seen on the web page with most of the
tracks coming from the Real New Fall LP and some from Interim. In addition they
played White Lightning and Mr. Pharmacist.
The intro was Panzer and the band started with Boxoctosis. Mark came on after a
few rounds of the riff. He seemed a "little" drunk but otherwise looked good. He
never said "Good Evening We are the Fall." After a while he started throwing
down microphones, changing the settings of the amplifiers for the band members,
etc. Many in the audience found this very odd but rather amusing. They played
two encores and the final number was "Blindness."
I was sitting dead center in the third row. Never had such a good seat at a Fall
show. However, the noise was too much for my ears :-)
Anyway, I enjoyed the show and I expect to be at Grandrokk tonight (that show
was announced during the concert last night). The tickets for Grandrokk will
only be 1000 Icelandic Krona (approximately $14) where is last night's tickets
went for 3200 Icelandic Krona. I have never seen the Fall outside of Austurbaer
(1981, 1983, and 2004), so tonight will be a new experience.
No set list from me, but I know some people wrote them down. Furthermore,
several people were taking pictures and I have asked for some of them to e-mail
pictures to you along with a scan of the poster. I had not seen the promo poster
until last night. Too bad there was not much promotion involved.
Theater for about 500, same place Fall played in 1981 & 1983. Almost full. Good show. Mostly music from Click on the Country and new stuff. Mark unpluggin mics and fucking up amps. Nice! Good sound. People happy. Talk of the town.
First Iceland Fall gig for 21 years. Wow! I had never seen Fall play before so didn't really know what to expect. Still, based on their stellar output over the last years (Unutterable, Real New Fall LP, Peel Session #24 tracks), I knew I'd be in for a treat.
Show started at 8 o'clock in Austurbær (formerly known as 'Austurbæjarbíó', of legendary 1983 gig fame). 'Vonbrigði' ('Disappointment') opened, a "punk/post-punk" outfit who disbanded at about the time Fall played here last (ca. '83-'84) and were playing for the first time since then (history abounds...). Excellent show, look forward to seeing them in the future and hearing their new album (due this month), since they really never released any proper albums.
'Dr. Gunni' were next. Bass player Grímur is behind organizing the Fall gigs. Short gig, though, they only played 4 songs or so. They've been around since ca. 2002. Gunni himself, the band's songwriter and 'leader', has been playing in "real" groups for almost 20 years. They played a new song, "Mjallhvít" ("Snow White").
Fall started around 10. Gorgeous Elena Poulou lead the band (one of my friends, new to The Fall, almost went into cardiac arrest when I told him whom she was married to), sharp dressed Ben and the rest of the band followed - Mark stumbled in last, apparently still recovering from the hip injury, I guess (didn't he leave the hospital AMA?) and looking very much like the late Mark McManus from the great Scottish TV Police series "Taggart".
'Open the Boxoctosis' was the first song, blasted out at breakneck speed. Mark joined in ca. halfway through. Mark removed his jacket and stayed fairly coherent for the next couple of songs, although he seemed to have some trouble with the many microphones he targeted, as if they weighed a 100 kg each.
After that, weirdness totally took control, microphone stands started falling, cables got tangled, amp knobs got played with - still, Mark was "singing" the songs all along and totally in control. It was especially funny watching band members and stage personnel sneaking behind Mark's back, trying to repair his "damage" on stage.
One of the best moments: Front row chairs were really close to the stage so people could rest their legs on it (Austurbæjarbíó used to be a movie theatre). Mark, at one point, kicked someone's legs off the stage, as if he was some kind of a teacher at an English Boarding School, or something, teaching the crowd to behave.
Mark kept up with his tradition of bashing other's people's keyboards, this time his wife Elena's (Eleni/Elenai?). During the entire gig, there was this electrifying sense of unpredictability as people guessed what the f"#$%ck he'd do next. Although looking like being rejected from some other planet's retirement home, he was always the Commander In Chief and truly the band's leader.
Song highlights: 'Boxoctosis', 'Mountain Energei', 'Green Eyed Loco Man' (a really beefed-up version), 'What About Us' and the masterful 'Blindness', which is definitely on my all time Fall faves list and, by far, their 00's best.
The sound was perfect at the beginning of the concert and despite Mark's numerous attempt at ruining it, it remained good until the end. During the gig, it was announced they'd play the following night (Nov. 18th). Great news, since most of the hard-core Fall fans had hoped for 2 shows, as was originally announced on the Fall Page.
Truly a virtuoso show in every way - A real deconstruction of 'The Rock Concert', the way things progressed with Mark on stage. One of the greatest joys of the night was seeing either euphoric joy or total terror in peoples faces, depending on whether they had seen the band before or not. The Fall are, after all, an acquired taste - In my opinion one of the all-time best bands in rock and roll and definitely Englands best!
Thursday, Nov. 18 - Grand Rokk, Reykjavik:
Small rock pub. About 150 people. Fall plays: Clasp hands, Bo Doodak, Box, Mountain, Mad Mock, Sparta, Wrong place/Grass grow!, Pharmacist, Green eyed, Janet Johnny, Blindness + What about us, White light, Touch, Foldin. Not as amazing as last night but ok. The Fall fly back at 06:30 this morning.
The Fall came on around 12:30 am and played for about an hour. The
set was shorter than the previous night but I actually liked this show a bit
more. The venue was a lot smaller and it was great to be close to the band. The
crowd enjoyed themselves very much, at least up front. Mark was in excellent
shape and he smiled several times. He was up to his tricks from the night
before, i.e., screwing up the settings for the musicians. I heard people say
that every time he changes those settings, the sound improves :-) The bass drum
broke down early in the set. The final track of the set, Blindness, was the
highlight. I cannot help it, but I tend to love the keyboard playing of MES.
It was great to have the Fall back in Iceland. We waited twenty-one years.
Hopefully, they will return soon.
This time, The Fall played in 'Grand Rokk', which is an upstairs/downstairs pub downtown Reykjavik. Downstairs is a typical pub, filled with 40-50 year old people and chess tables, where people often sit for hours, playing chess.
Upstairs, however, is usually filled with young people in their 20-30's seeing one of the dozens of wonderful bands, both Icelandic and foreign, who have been playing there for the last 5 years or so. Grand Rokk has one advantage over Austurbær: Although the sound can be somewhat tinny at times, everybody is standing/jumping/dancing just a few inches from the performers in Grand Rokk, since the stage is just several inches high and a lot smaller than the semi-arena-rock stage in Austurbær.
This time, bands didn't start until 10:30 - Rather late for a Thursday night and I almost sleep-walked through Friday after these 2 nights (day job...). Anyway, the line-up was the same as Nov. 17th. Vonbrigði, still 'high' from playing live the night before, after such a long time, came back sounding even stronger than the night before. Dr. Gunni played more songs than the night before, many of them were from the "SH Draumur"/"Bless"-era, which were 2 late 80's/early 90's bands Gunni used to play in. They were by far better than the night before.
People waited for ca. 45 minutes to 1 hour for the Fall. By 12:30, people wondered whether the gig would have to be cancelled, since some of them thought the bar had license to stay open till 1 o'clock.
This turned out not to be the case and the band started right after 12:30. Since there is no 'Back-stage' on Grand Rokk, Mark had to be escorted by one of the bartenders, through the rather numerous crowd and to the stage, as someone might escort his granny over a busy street.
The setlist was nearly identical to the one from the night before (see Dr. Gunni's setlist above). The sound was fairly atrocious and let it be said that to complain about the sound at a Fall concert is equivalent to complaining about Mark's ability to sing. I loved it - it was an ear-bleeding slash-and-burn, stabbing sonic assault à la The Fall. This time, though, Mark seemed to be more focused on performing the songs. Sure, he twiddled a few amps and shoved one of the microphones into the bass drum but he was obviously having a whale of a good time.
So were the crowd - oh my god!!!! One joined Mark on stage and was shoved off by him fairly soon. Someone tried to offer Mark beer which he politely (?) refused. The band was in great form and the tightness and connection with the people was much stronger than the night before. The show ended at ca. 1:30 with the stellar 'Blindness' - what an incredible song!!!
An unbelieveable pair of shows these last 2 nights, not one microsecond a dull moment, not a single thing done by the books, nobody knowing what would happen next. The 2 shows were very different, both armed with their individual stengths (and weaknesses, of course! The Fall have never been about perfection, were they?).
Last summer I went to my Grandfathers 90th birthday. He had such a great time and was in such great shape, that midway through, everybody started talking about how much they looked forward to his 100th birthday. I myself really can't wait for the next Fall-gig, even if I have to wait another 21 years!
I booked my ticket on the plane 4 weeks before the much anticipated 2 gigs in Reykjavik, one of my favourite places. Glasgow flights only leave on a Thursday (hold that thought) and I was pleased to see gigs on the site for both Thursday and Friday. Then of course they were moved to Wednesday and Thursday - not ideal, but hey, one night was better than none. Then disaster struck - I called The Austerbaer venue to be told that it was now Wednesday night only...
I arrived in Reykjavik on Thursday with a sad face determined to enjoy the city anyway, and wandered along the street next to out hotel to be greeted with a huge poster advertising The Fall at Grand Rokk that same night!! Talk about dancing in the street. It was 1000 Kronur (£8.08!!) which included a free Budvar. Brilliant - my last Fall gig in the UK was twice that, and Iceland is meant to be the expensive country?
The support bands were both excellent - don't know who the first up were, but they were great. Then came Dr Gunni who looked a bit like David Thomas from Pere Ubu, and they really rocked out. All in all, a fine start.
Then, eventually at 12.30am came the sound of "The Laughing Policeman" and the burly minder led Mark E by the hand to the stage! "We are The Fall from Manchester and Salford"
They kicked off with Boxoctosis, and snap - the bass drum pedal broke! Mark just says -"It'll be alright!" and they carried on.
The set included Clasp Hands, Bo Doodak, Mountain Energei, Mad Mock Goth, Sparta, Wrong Place leading into Grass Grow, Pharmacist, Loco-Man, Janet and Johnny, and finished with a totally blindin' Blindness!
There should have been an encore of What About Us, White Lightnin', Touch sensitive and F'oldin Money, but I guess they didn't want to play any more without a bass drum, as they didn't reappear...
The band looked good, played like demons and sounded great. The crowd got into it and it was a top little venue. Apparently Wednesday night hadn't exactly been a classic as it was a seated venue, so I got the best deal in the end. Then came 2 more days chillin' out- literally since it was the coldest November there for over a hundred years. Well worth the trip.
Fall Multimedia Project has been down since August 31.
However, Bike Bloke's Fall multimedia archive is still online: http://www.thefall.da.ru/
Impact Merchandising has several "retro" Fall T-shirts and badges.
Claus Castenskiold is selling signed copies of this PBL poster (30" x 24" on thick, glossy paper).
Each signed poster is $20 plus $5 shipping for the USA and $20 plus $10 certified mail for the rest of the world. Posters will be shipped in sturdy tubes.
You can order via Paypal using Claus's email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to write to him with any questions as well. He promises to ship the posters the next business day after your Paypal order has been verified.
He'll be offering the poster at a fixed price on Ebay presently.
Nov. 22, 2004
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:
21oct04 London gigs, German/ Austria tour, NYC gigs, Exile interview, Access All Areas/ Hacienda DVDs, Blind Man demo CD, Lovers CD.
24sep04 Ireland, Berlin, Moscow gigs, St. Petersburg Times interview, Left of the Dial preview, Peel session/ Job Search, Mouse on Mars, Clayton's Fall Index, Voiceprint redux.
08aug04 Magnet mag., Village Voice interviews, Peel session scheduled, Brix's Full Moon Empty Sports Bag piece, Grotesque press release and MES note, York + Stourbridge gigs.
22jun04 Ben & Dave "sackings,"
Word & Independent interviews, MES on Morrissey, PJH on the Fall,
Brooklyn gig, Jeffrey Lewis's Legend of the Fall, 50k Fall Fans details
and comp, How to Buy the Fall, Marc Riley's secret life.
tour, part 2 (NYC - Houston - MES statement), a few US press tour previews
including LA Weekly interview, Narnack details
Trent Dickson, RIP, US
tour, part 1 (NYC - Detroit), Perverted
by Mark E, WFMU interview, Stomp and Stammer interview, Mojo MES picks,
Franz Ferdinand, G/TT review
& 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