The Fall play ...
||GDMW Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 0100 hrs 1st Oct, according to their site.
||Manchester Academy 2, Manchester University Students Union
||Huddersfield University Students Union
||Central Station, Wrexham
||The Mill, Preston
| 7 Oct*
||Carling Academy, Liverpool
||The Mechanics, Burnley
||The Crypt, Middlesbrough
||Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; a John Peel Day event. Details here.
|13 Oct |
|Fat Sam's, Dundee cancelled
||Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow
||Liquid Room, Edinburgh
||The Sage, Gateshead
||Irish Centre, Leeds
||Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
|25 Oct* |
|The Charlotte, Leicester cancelled by MES on the day of the gig
||Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
||Coal Exchange, Cardiff
||The Brook, Southampton
|31 Oct** |
|Academy, Bristol (postponed; venue expects gig to take place "early next year" and 31 October tickets will remain valid, or you can get a full refund.)
||Islington Academy, London
||Islington Academy, London
||Sankey's Soap, Manchester (you could try to win a pair of tickets on Manchester online)
Those marked * (1) Resist
Those marked ** (1) John Cooper Clarke (2) Resist
Those marked *** (1) John Cooper Clarke (2) Pubic Fringe (3) Resist
Those marked **** (1) John Cooper Clarke (2) to be announced
Action Records are handling the merchandise table on the UK tour. Clayts hopes to man the stall on the next one.
A US tour in early 2006 is a definite possibility. The Fall has a new US booking agent, Inland Empire Touring (there's a huge press photo of the band on their site, or there's a smaller one here, thanks to Clayts).
added 18 October; updated 9 November
Thanks to my good friend Jon in Reykjavik:
While reading this morning's newspaper in Reykjavik, I noticed that there is a festival cd being released here today (more information here). Track 19 of this cd features MES. The track is by the Icelandic band Ghostigital, which is fronted by Einar Orn Benediktsson, formerly of Purkur Pillnik and the Sugarcubes.
In Cod We Trust !
Icelandic band Kimono (http://myspace.com/kimono) has 3 of their songs (Sonar, Aftermath and Onomatopoeia) AND a remix of the 3rd song + the Ghostigital song "Not Clean", called "Codomatopoeia".
This wonderful Einar Orn Benediktsson + MES duet is an absolute must! MES's taste in fish has been made pretty clear by now.
There are loads of Kimono tracks (including Codomatopoeia) on their website (in the multimedia section).
added 7 November; updated 8 November
The Brighton council is trying to close Brighton's best music venue, Concorde 2, to under 18s. If you disagree with their decision, please take a moment to sign this petition.
And not to be outdone, the Northamptonshire County Council is considering withdrawing funding for Roadmender. Sign this petition, please!
added 24 October; updated 4 November
Many thanks to Maurice for scanning in the Rock Sound interview.
added 1 November
bits and pieces:
The Fall has recorded a session for BBC Radio 3's Mixing It program. Not sure why the long delay, but they're planning to air it on Friday, 10 February, 2006.
Mark is collaborating again with Mouse on Mars for their next album (due out next spring), according to this interview (the MES bit is at the bottom).
Stephen has three Fall-related, UK TV clips on his site (that Elastic Man cover from Frank Skinner, the Skinner House Band playing Jawbone, and Franz Ferdinand talking about the Fall).
added 1 November
Michael Jungbluth travelled from Cologne to England for three of the Fall gigs. Fortunately, none was cancelled at the last minute. Here's his report:
M And M Choccies Treets
by Michael Jungbluth
A concentrated coup de Fall was my programme for the second last weekend of october. Like the no-frills-carrier that took me from Germany into the mid-heart of England this prolonged weekend was not at all enriched with extended sight-seeings or visits of important historic places or buildings. All the time and efforts had been mainly dedicated to see The Fall and to join their concerts.
Fall Way Down To Heaven
Roadmender in Northampton, some kind of a public run social club, is pretty packed. After the second warm-up John Cooper Clarke The Fall come onto the stage. Way Down to Heaven - the mainsentence sung by Elena Poulou set the intervals in this pharmacist alike version of The Monks' song Higgle-dy Piggle-dy. A nice intro promising fun. They play the setlist accurately except a missing Midnight in Aspen.
No frills on stage. Inspired live mixing. MES in a concentrated high form. Thanks to a perfect soundmix (I have it for the very first time in UK!) everything is full audible. Roadmender's soundman gives his best to capture the tight and storming sound of The Fall unit. As he spreads the vocals into a wider range moments are there bringing back the older days when the mixer was a band associate.
Center of the set is Mountain Energei with its extendet rolling beats, around this the delivered versions of What About Us? and Blindness are the pillars of this (and the forthcoming) night. A well mixtured crowd gets immediately into the performance with nice dancing. Many are joining the chorusses.
This night with the concentrated and powerful performance is a magnificiant pre-taste for the night at Oxford's The Zodiac.
The day-off was the saturday. A short trip to the city centre of Rugby. A walk around in an average shopping centre. In a recordshop I spotted a small selection of Fall CDs including the new FHR. Closing time in the pedestrian area where markettraders were repacking their things. Woolworth was offering a shiny selection of postcards with a redesign of the Fantastic 4 - yes, these marvel heroes with the figur Thing.
Heading Into The Dark
The Zodiac is a venue with two levels. The larger space is upper-floor. Sold out. In the past The Fall played here for several times. As they enjoyed this venue a good performance was a promise. While waiting for the band to appear I have a good talk to a few younger mates telling me that they are attending for the first time a Fall's gig. Not even knowing that there is a new album out they explain me that The Fall are doing a good act which seems to be rather rare these days.
The set is a superb one, not anybody should be disappointed. As starter You Wanner and the performance turns immediately into a strong dark region. Mystified, scary and furious. A short relax during Midnight in Aspen and the mass carries on. Triumphant versions of What About Us?, Mountain Energei and Blindness. I never heard such an engaged call for Shipman. Mental shoutings. Again the soundman (now that from The Zodiac) at the mixing desk gives his very best. MES' vocals and Spen's beats are really improved during Blindness. One of Steve's bass-strings breaks.
As The Fall are storming the crowd enjoys the whole performance with intense chants and heavy moshing. Return for a long encore of Open the Boxoctosis, a wild one which seems to never stop. Ben's guitar fiddled out first, Steve with three strings only and MES is boosting his volume, Spen is beating like god's own legate. No escape. They manage the song. A mic crosses the security channel. These six minutes of Box are a cracker of farewell.
At the end of the regular set MES didn't find the right way out. So he stepped into the moat. It was opposite to the exit. Bouncers helped him passing to the dressing room while the front row was acknoledging him with big applause.
The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham is sold out. After a long Loop41 the DJ music restarts. Are The Fall still waiting for towels? They may need them soon and they should have been provided with a triple set of them as this venue develops immediately into an oven. Stage temperatures - good enough for a fry up. Set starts a bit leight weighted, later it turns more into a compact dark. An already corrected setlist changes again. Each song is really nice and intense. Excellent is the mic sharing. But it seems that this overheated stage creates a bit of unconcentration. Early Days of Channel Fuhrer for calming, later The Monks' cover with full vocals. At that point only one mic is still working. Elena has to shout her parts. The Fall close with Blindness not forgetting to pass the mic to the crowd. The heat and the curfew might prevent another return for a second encore.
A kind meet-up with forum mates and the lads of the gruppe was following. The bar of The Rescue Rooms served a lot of refreshments and was a very fine choice for a nice decent talk. Later, all the way down to East Anglia where we arrived during the morning rush-hour.
Finally I don't want to forget to mention the presence of Action Records and Dave selling the wonderful zine. Big pleasures were the fallforum's pre-gig meet-ups. Without the kind hospitality of Mark and Andrew my journey wouldn't have been such a joy.
added 31 October
Excellent news indeed from David Luff, publisher of 1985's "The Fall Lyrics." David has decided to unload the copies he has left over of the first edition (which has gone for as much as £81 on ebay) for a mere £10 (including p&p). The Fallshop has temporarily reopened for this item only, or if you prefer you can order a copy on ebay.
added 27 October; updated 31 October
Mark was interviewed recently by the Salt Lake Tribune for a Hallowe'en story: a job to die for. (A few people wrote in to inform me that this isn't actually an interview with our Mark E. Smith: many thanks for the clarification!)
added 26 October; updated 27 Oct.
Upcoming on UK TV:
- John Peel's Record Box -- part of Channel 4's "UK Music Hall of Fame" programming and provisionally set for 14 November. There'll be a section on the Fall.
- A reminder that MES is scheduled to read the football results on BBC1's "Final Score" on 19 November.
added 19 October
The Peel tribute 2xCD mentioned in the September '05 Fall news is out now. Track listing and artwork here.
added 17 October
There's a good interview with the band on Pitchfork.
added 12 October
An entertaining MES interview / Rotterdam gig review (both by Richard Foster) appears in Incendiary Magazine.
added 6 October
You may remember an MES interview from the Independent that I posted on the Fall News in June of last year. The interviewer, Tim Cumming, has very kindly sent in the full transcript of the interview, and it's a very good one.
About half of the interview appears in the last-ever issue of Newcastle's Liar Republic ("from the
frontlines to the frontiers: new fiction, poetry, journalism, photography and interviews"). The editor of that publication, Paul Summers, is offering copies to Fall News readers for the special price of £2 (regular price is £3.50). To order a copy, email Paul at email@example.com.
added 6 October
Strontium Dawg on the message board is one of the contributors to a book coming out next year, he thinks entitled "Perverted by Language." Each author was asked to pick a Fall song and write a short story using the song title as their own. The book is arranged chronologically by the song's release date. There's going to be an article about it in the Telegraph at some point, so we'll know more then.
Here's the track listing:
1. Bingo Master's Break-Out (1978) - Niall Griffiths
2. Industrial Estate (1979) - Matthew David Scott
3. Like to Blow (1979) - Stuart David
4. New Face in Hell (1980) - Jeff Vandermeer
5. City Hobgoblins (1980) - Carlton Mellick III
6. Lie Dream of a Casino Soul (1981) - Nick Johnstone
7. Papal Visit (1982) - Nick Stone
8. An Older Lover etc. (1982) - John Williams
9. Fortress/Deer Park (1982) - Michel Faber
10. The Man Whose Head Expanded (1983) - Steve Aylett
11. Neighbourhood of Infinity (1983) - Robyn Hitchcock
12. Disney's Dream Debased (1984) - Scarlett Thomas
13. God Box (1984) - Stav Sheresh
14. Cruiser's Creek (1985) - Peter Wild
15. Lucifer over Lancashire (1986) - Nicholas Blincoe
16. There's a Ghost in My House (1987) - Clare Duddman
17. Edinburgh Man (1991) - Kevin MacNeil
18. The League of Bald-Headed Men (1993) - Andrew Holmes
19. Paranoia Man in Cheap Shit Room (1993) - Andre Alexis
20. The City Never Sleeps (1995) - Helen Walsh
21. The Aphid (1995) - Stewart Lee
22. Touch Sensitive (1999) - Richard Evans
23. My Ex-Classmate's Kids (2001) - Matt Thorne
24. Contraflow (2003) - Matt Beaumont
25. I Can Hear The Grass Grow (2005) - Rebecca Ray
added 5 October
As mentioned in the July '05 Fall News, "Wings" will appear on the forthcoming "Commercially Unfriendly: The Best of the British Underground 1983-1989" compilation. The CD will be out on Gottdiscs (GOTTCD029) on 31 October. It's retailing for £9.99, and they're advertising it on their website (www.gottdiscs.com).
The final, confirmed tracklisting is
1. Wings - The Fall
2. Urban Ospreys - The Nightingales
3. I Love You Mr. Disposable Razors - A Witness
4. The Judge - Inca Babies
5. Debra - Big Flame
6. Warfood - Pigbros
7. Spike Milligan's Tape Recorder - The Membranes
8. Give Me The Keys - Noseflutes (previously unreleased version)
9. Blackmailer's Heartache - The Shrubs
10. Incineration - Dog Faced Hermans (7" version)
11. Cold In Summer - The Great Leap Forward
12. Gonna Rob The Spermbank - The Ex
13. Fuck America - Jackdaw With Crowbar
added 4 October
Something of interest for all FALL fans out there - and hopefully a few more people besides. I've managed to talk my local radio station into giving me a 7 hour slot to present "THE FALL, A Brief History Thereof...".
The Station : Kanal K, Aarau, Switzerland
The Date : Saturday 8th October, 2005
The Time : 23:00 - 06:00 (CET); 22:00 - 05:00 (GMT)
It's maybe a bit late for regular folk to listen to it all, but great for Australian fans - 7 hours of THE FALL on daytime radio! I doubt that reception will go much further than Kanton Aargau, but it should also be possible to listen on http://www.kanalk.ch
The format is going to be fairly simple - based around the timeline of single/LP releases / session tracks. I'm not going to try and speak as "an expert" on THE FALL (because I'm not). Simply play the records and let the music speak for itself. The only problem I have is with deciding what to leave out - after 28 years of producing records, the A-sides/B-sides of the singles alone will fill 7 hours! (I now understand why John Peel could at times spend 14 hours assembling 2 hours of radio programme.
added 21 September; updated 7 November
Fall Heads Roll is out now; full details are on the September Fall news.
The reviews are trickling in:
The Wire (issue # 260), by Sam Davies:
As he delivers the first song, Mark E. Smith's voice lurches between warbled and garbled. But, within seconds he's tuned in fully to the strident Merseybeat stomp of "Ride Away" and delivers the line "You're talking about yourself" with such offhand contempt it sounds like a judge handing down sentence. And once in its stride, this album hardly falls out of it. This is a full-blooded Fall, fired up and amped up by some muscular production and rhythm playing.
"Assume" blasts through a venomous abbreviation of The Stooges "No Fun", which alternates with the cheap headachy guitar lines for which they are better known. "Blindness" persists over seven unrelenting minutes with the same bass hook - a close relation of Roots Manuva's "Witness (One Hope)" - and occasional flickers of guitar until it feels as inescapable and claustrophobic as sensory deprivation itself.
There is respite. "Assume" is bracketed by "Midnight Aspen" and "Aspen Reprise" where softly chiming guitar is matched by suprisingly lyrical bass outburst with Smith almost waxing pastoral. But "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" best sums up Fall Heads Roll, lean, charged, unfussy and deceptive. It's harder than it looks to make simplicity sound this satisfying.
NME, October 1, 2005 (8 out of 10), by Louis Pattison:
The title could refer to MES's Stalinist approach to line-up management - 30 changes in nearly as many years - but the Fall are actually at their most settled, stable and plain rocking in years. A moment of full disclosure here: virtually every new Fall LP that wasn't recorded in a cattleshed in Macclesfield on a dictaphone is hailed as a return to form. But hear Smith and crew careen into Pacifying Joint' - equal parts polished-chrome buzzsaw guitar and mutant synth swirl - and try to deny this is a band on form. Oh, and listen out for one of the finest Fall covers to date, in the shape of The Move's LSD-tripping classic 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow'.
Stop Smiling (online edition; not sure if it's in the printed version), 22 September, 2005.
SF Weekly, 28 September (Abigail Clouseau)
I've done some bad things in my day; I suppose all of us have. Still, I've recently been turned around, for good this time, and I owe it all to Mark E. Smith. See, in the 56 minutes it took me to listen to the Fall's "Fall Heads Roll," I saw exactly how oppressive eternal damnation could be. There you are, having passed peacefully, when all of a sudden this old British man starts speak-singing with sloppy articulation, like someone mugged him and stuck his mouth with nine shots of Novocain. He speak-sings to you about things like jackals and walking down the street and the lyrics to "Hey Jude." And just as you think, "Wow, not only can I not really understand what he's saying, but this is far more irritating than Chinese water torture," you realize that accompanying this man's voice is a weird pastiche of country and punk rock played by synthesizers and distorted bass guitars, which means it resembles the badly misshapen love child of Blondie and Garth Brooks. And so you think to yourself, "Hmm, maybe the devil appears to me like this because I squashed that bug when I was still alive, or maybe it's because I had that job that paid me under the table." Then you think, "No, nothing I ever did warrants being subjected to this for all of eternity."
Daily Mirror, 30 September
The late John Peel's favourite band are, as ever, masterminded by Mark E Smith who now looks like a scary toothless gargoyle.
But the group's ferocious blend of lo-fi intrigue and brain-busting underground rock is as strong as ever.
Peel is no doubt smiling down.
Record Collector, October(?) 2005, by Mick Middles (3 out of 5):
Laughing Boy Returns
New Fall albums tend to emerge slowly from a dense fog of rumour. Occasional live previews of new material are seized upon and dissected by their increasingly ferocious fanbase long before the item actually hits the record racks. At times, the circle of rumour can be destructive, whether praising an uneven package to the heavens - which leads to a profound sense of disappointment on first play - or casting unfortunate advanced doubts.
Such is the case here, an album all but impossible to approach with a fresh perspective. The band's lackadaisical appearence on Later... didn't help, with three numbers premiered, I Can Hear The Grass Grow, Pacifying Joint and Blindness. The former, also a single, improves little on an original that, frankly, wasn't particularly entertaining in the first place.
Pacifying Joint, awful on TV, has now attained an arresting sharpness, and placed second, thunders the listener towards the heart of the album. And that heart is the towering Blindness, a chunk of grunge and growl magnificently topped with Mark E Smith's eternal irony, it's bewildering, of course, but quite beautifully so and few bands - Pere Ubu? Red Crayola? - would even consider such an unhinged epic.
The problem here is that the sheer brilliance of Blindness has few peers. Unprepared listeners will be amazed at the sound of Fall reggae, dripping with Elena's ironic backing vocals and Mark's glorious disdain.
Unusually for The Fall, hints of the formulaic do start to appear before the album's eventual conclusion. In short... it's too long.
Sunday Times, 2 October (Stewart Lee):
Daily Telegraph, 1 October (Andrew Perry):
As one of Lydon's most influential peers, Mark E Smith has, by contrast, managed to keep on track. He has plugged away with the Fall unceasingly since 1977, only really losing his edge on a series of rather oblique albums in the late '90's.
The band responsible for those were eventually fired. These days, Smith has a younger, leaner, noisier ensemble in tow, and 'Fall Heads Roll' rates right up there with 1992's 'Infotainment Scan' among the bolshie Mancunian's finest records. The punk torch rests in Smith's hands, no contest.
Mojo, November 2005 (Al Hutchins) (3 stars):
A 25th studio outing from longest distance runner
With a perverse parting shot (Ride Away) wrapped in cod-reggae to open proceedings, a half-dozen trove of snarling rock 'n' roll, a fine Move cover (I Can Hear The Grass Grow), and midnight ruminations that are both lush and eerie (Midnight Aspen, Early Days of Channel Fuehrer) Fall Heads Roll proves Mark E Smith's gang have lost nothing of the power to surprise. Flanked by strong unfussy arrangements, there's room for Smith's lyrics to sprout in guises comedic ('99 per cent of non-smokers die !') and hectoring ('Work in progress...due about 2026 !'), even ultimately without Smith's presence at all (Trust In Me). At first seemingly overlong, the album's threads (lyrical and musical) gather to form memorable intangibilities and accusations, whose mystery hangs together on repeated playing.
The BBC's "Rock & Alt Review" section (Nick Reynolds).
Sunday Express, 2 October (Martin Townsend; 4 stars)
Abrasive punk genius Mark E Smith returns with a more complex Fall sound. There are shades of early Buzzcocks and even Cabaret Voltaire in the buzzing mix of electronica and guitars, and a shock stab at sheer tenderness on the lovely Midnight Aspen. If you already like the Fall, you'll love this.
Pitchfork (7.8 out of 10)
Allmusic.com (3.5 stars out of 5)
Incendiary Magazine ("the best Fall album since, erm, the last one...")
Mark Prindle (7 out of 10)
Music Remedy (Todd E. Jones)
Libération.fr (en français par Nick Kent - yes, that Nick Kent - he lives in Paris)
Word Magazine, November 2005 (Stuart Maconie) (thanks to Maurice for the scan)
The Brooklyn Rail, November 2005 (Donald Breckenridge)
added 3 October; updated 4 October
30 September - GDMW Festival, Rotterdam:
Thanks to Lutek for the setlist
Reviews on the message board. Many thanks to Lutek, Astrid and Tobias for sending in their photos. Martin has yet more on his site (taken by Ini Soyer).
added 3 October; updated 4 October
UK Tour : 1 October - 3 November
1 October - Manchester Academy 2:
Thanks to Clayts for the ticket and setlist and SimonFB for the photo.
Bo Doodak / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Clasp Hands / What About Us / Ride Away / Assume / Wrong Place Right Time > I Can Hear The Grass Grow / Mountain Energei / Touch Sensitive / Blindness // Midnight Aspen / Higgle-dy Piggle-dy / White Lightning / Boxoctosis
Loads of reviews on the message board. Higgle-dy Piggle-dy is the Fall's fourth Monks cover so far (Black Monk Theme Part 1 (I Hate You), Part 2 (Oh How To Do Now), and Shut Up being the other three).
2 October - Huddersfield University Students Union:
Reviews on the message board.
4 October - Central Station, Wrexham:
Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Clasp Hands / Ride Away / Contraflow / Wrong Place Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / What About Us / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Touch Sensitive / Youwanner / Breaking the Rules / Blindness / Higgle-dy Piggle-dy
Reviews on the message board. Thanks to Michael for the poster.
5 October - The Mill, Preston:
Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Clasp Hands / Ride Away / Assume / Wrong Place Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / What About Us / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Touch Sensitive / Bo Demmick / Blindness
No encore. Reviews on the message board. Many thanks to Mike Glassey for these photos (including one of John Cooper Clarke). Thanks also to Hugh McSheepshagger for the ticket; Mrs. McSheepshagger has some photos on her site.
6 October - The Boardwalk, Sheffield:
Youwanner / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Ride Away / Assume / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / What About Us / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Touch Sensitive / Bo Demmick / Clasp Hands / Blindness // Boxoctosis
Reviews on the message board.
7 October - The Boardwalk, Sheffield:
Bo Demmick / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Midnight Aspen / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Wrong Place, Right Time / Youwanner / Carry Bag Man / Assume / Ride Away / F-'Oldin Money / What About Us / Blindness // Big New Prinz
The above according to the planned setlist. Reviews on the message board.
8 October - Carling Academy, Liverpool:
Youwanner / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Ride Away / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / What About Us / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Clasp Hands / Touch Sensitive / Assume / Bo Demmick / Blindness (no encore)
Reviews on the message board. Many thanks to Steve Marriner for these great photos and to Peter for the poster and ticket.
9 October - The Mechanics, Burnley:
Youwanner / Bo Demmick / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Assume / Higgle-dy Piggle-dy / Mountain Energei / What about Us / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Midnight Aspen / Clasp Hands / Carry Bag Man / Pacifying Joint / Blindness // Boxoctosis
Absolutely tremendous gig. Blew away the performance at Manchester last week. On at 9.55 off at 10.50. only Box as an encore. MES focussed, band very tight, sound bob on. Stunning Mountain energei lifted by Spencer's drum flourishes. Carry bag man a real treat. New stuff sounded fantastic particularly What about us, Pacifying joint and Blindness. A pity not more were there to witness it. Ranks as the best I've seen yet. Roll on Irish Centre.
More reviews on the message board.
10 October - The Sugarmill, Stoke-on-Trent:
- You Wanner (instrumental Ben, Spen, Steve)
- Bo Demmick (Eleni appears, then MES after about 4 mins)
- Theme from Sparta F.C.
- Mountain Energei
- Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow
- Pacifying Joint
- What about Us (MES really started losing it big time here)
- Clasp Hands (MES stumbles off)
- Touch Sensitive (instrumental - excellent Kraut-rocky keyboards)
- Blindness (instrumental - Elini goes half way through this)
encore: Boxoctosis (instrumental except for Steve 'Open the Box' chants - Ben, Spen, Steve )
Reviews on the message board. Many thanks to Peter for the stage times and annotated setlist. (The Fall went on at around 9:50 and played about an hour in the end, however.)
11 October - The Crypt, Middlesborough:
Reviews on the message board.
12 October - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London:
Pacifying Joint / Theme from Sparta F.C. / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Blindness
Reviews on the message board.
Artist profiles on the BBC site, with a link to audio of the Fall's set (and others).
16 October - Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow:
Youwanner / Bo Demmick / Pacifying Joint / What about Us / Mountain Energei / Assume / Midnight Aspen / Theme from Sparta F.C. Clasp Hands / Touch Sensitive / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Ride Away / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness // Boxoctosis (w/Dougie James)
The above from the band's setlist; I think the gig went ahead as planned. Not sure if they played Wrong Place, Right Time before Grass Grow. Reviews on the message board. There are a few photos on this site - click the "prev" on the right side of the page to see the support band, or "next" for the rest of the Fall pics.
17 October - Liquid Room, Edinburgh:
Youwanner / Bo Demmick / Pacifying Joint / What About Us / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Clasp Hands / Assume / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Ride Away / Touch Sensitive / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness // Carry Bag Man / Boxoctosis
Reviews on the message board and in The Herald by Neil Cooper.
19 October - The Sage, Gateshead:
I thought you might like to know that I saw the Fall's gig at the Sage, Gateshead last night. Support was from Resist and John Cooper Clark. After long delays owing to the venue having messed something up, the band came on minus Smith and began playing Pacifying Joint. Smith emerged wearing black trousers and a pink polo shirt (tucked in). He contributed his sneering vocals and fiddled with the microphones.
The set consisted of: Pacifying Joint / What About Us / Wrong Place, Right Time / Mountain Energei / Midnight Aspen / Theme from Sparta F.C. / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Ride Away / (walkoff)
Smith seemed unhappy that only Elena Poulou was singing the chant from Sparta F.C. He did his usual live mixing, turning down the bass player's amp (who later turned it back up when he wasn't looking). The show ended abruptly when Smith stormed off the stage after about 45 minutes [more like 35 according to most attendees -ed]. The band followed after running through an instrumental version of Ride Away, Elena giving an apologetic wave to the audience as she left.
Someone came out and announced that the show was over. A few people started throwing things on the stage and one bloke jumped up and nicked the set list, so presumably only he knows how it would have ended. The audience was eventually ushered out. Until that happened, though, and bearing in mind I haven't seen the Fall before, I though it was fantastic.
Reviews and ire on the message board. John S. took many photos.
20 October - Irish Centre, Leeds:
Youwanner / Bo Demmick / Pacifying Joint / Mountain Energei / Midnight Aspen / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Assume / Clasp Hands / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Ride Away / Touch Sensitive / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness // Boxoctosis
Dave Simpson from the Guardian:
Mark E Smith is missing, and whispers in the crowd ponder whether the notoriously unpredictable frontman has finally gone the way of the 40-odd musicians that have passed through the Fall. Finally, several minutes after the band, the great man makes his entrance, suggesting - despite his reputation - a keen awareness of showbiz.
These are intriguing times for the Fall. For the first time, they find themselves without John Peel, their famous champion. If Smith feels vulnerable, he has come out fighting. The new Fall Heads Roll album is their best in a decade. A Fall Heads Roll backdrop illustrates the elegantly turned out band. Smith must be heartened that the crowd is their biggest in Leeds since the 1980s.
In recent years Fall gigs have been erratic affairs, peppered with drunkenness and punch-ups, but here, Smith is sharp and focused, chewing over his words like a dog with a favourite bone. The new material - which, as ever, forms 95% of the set - is even darker and funnier than usual. The hilariously mischievous What About Us suggests alternate uses for Harold Shipman's liberally dispensed supplies of morphine, and produces the surreal spectacle of bald men and teenage girls singing: "What about us, Shipman?!"
On stage, Elena Smith (nee Poulou) is laughing. The third Mrs Smith has clearly had a major impact on the band, whether rejuvenating her husband, adding a touch of feminine glamour or changing the way the Fall sound with her curious talent for playing space rock keyboards with one finger. The unreleased Mountain Energy relocates Iggy Pop's The Passenger to Smith's sci-fi visions of Prestwich, and Touch Sensitive ("Hey! Hey Hey Hey!") is a rare oldie. But they close with the album's epic, bass-driven Blindness. Then Smith strides off with the purpose of someone who, after 29 years of hard labour, is starting to enjoy his job.
Mountain Energei was of course released on The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click). More reviews on the message board.
21 October - Roadmender, Northampton:
Higgle-dy Piggle-dy / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Bo Demmick / What About Us / Clasp Hands / Ride Away / Blindness / Touch Sensitive / Pacifying Joint / Mountain Energei / Assume / F-'Oldin' Money / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Youwanner // Midnight Aspen / Boxoctosis / White Lightning
The above from the band's planned setlist; not sure if that's how the gig transpired. Reviews on the message board. Thanks to The Man Whose Bed Diminished and Smudger for the images.
23 October - Zodiac, Oxford:
Youwanner / Bo Demmick / Pacifying Joint / What About Us / Mountain Energei / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Midnight Aspen / Assume / Clasp Hands / Touch Sensitive / I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Ride Away / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness // Boxoctosis
Reviews on the message board.
24 October - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham:
Youwanner / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Bo Demmick / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Mountain Energei / Early Days of Channel Führer / Pacifying Joint / Touch Sensitive / Assume // What About Us // Higgle-dy Piggle-dy / Blindness
Reviews on the message board. Thanks to Lou for the set and Clayts for the ticket.
25 October - The Charlotte, Leicester - cancelled by M.E.S. on the day of the gig.
Thanks to Clayts for the ticket.
26 October - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton:
Reviews on the message board. Thanks to Fiery Robert for the setlist.
27 October - Coal Exchange, Cardiff:
Youwanner / F-'Oldin' Money / What About Us / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Midnight Aspen / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Mountain Energei / Assume / Touch Sensitive // Clasp Hands / Blindness
Reviews and photos on the message board. Thanks to Pontypoolie for the setlist and Dean for the ticket.
Review in the South Wales Echo by Ian Carbis.
29 October - The Brook, Southampton:
Youwanner / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Clasp Hands / Pacifying Joint / What about Us / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Assume / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Touch Sensitive / Blindness // Boxoctosis / White Lightning
Reviews on the message board. Thanks to Mick for the photos, Mark for the ticket and Conway for the setlist.
30 October - Concorde 2, Brighton:
Youwanner / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / What about Us / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Bo Demmick / Higgle-dy Piggle-dy > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Assume
Another short, curtailed set, this time around 40 minutes. According to the planned setlist, next up were F-'Oldin' Money / Blindness / Touch Sensitive / Carry Bag Man / Boxoctosis / Big New Prinz.
Reviews and lots of photos on the message board. Thanks to Mark for the setlist and poster (via Conway).
2 November - Carling Academy, Islington, London:
Gig preview in the 2 Nov. issue of This Is London (from the Evening Standard).
Many thanks to Stephen for the annotated setlist:
2. All Clasp Hands
3. Pacifying Joint
4. Theme From Sparta FC
5. Midnight In Aspen
6. Mountain Energei
7. What About Us? (something went wrong at the point the song ended – apparently a problem with the drum pedal. Spencer walked off, closely followed by Mark.)
8. Janet, Johnny + James (instrumental, minus Mark and Spencer)
9. Bo Demmick (full band, but Mark sang crouched on stage floor, invisible to all but the front row. He then walked off again.)
10. Assume (instrumental)
(band leave stage, return for...)
11. Blindness (instrumental)
(Elena walks off before the end; then band leave; house lights on).
Reviews on the message board. Thanks to Conway for the setlist and ticket.
3 November - Carling Academy, Islington, London:
Youwanner / Clasp Hands / What About Us / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Ride Away / Mr. Pharmacist / Pacifying Joint / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Assume (instr.) (no encore)
Reviews and a few photos on the message board. Thanks to Conway for the setlist and backstage pass.
6 November - Sankey's Soap, Manchester:
Youwanner / Bo Demmick / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Pacifying Joint / Midnight Aspen / Mountain Energei / Wrong Place, Right Time > I Can Hear the Grass Grow / Ride Away / Assume / What About Us // Blindness / Mr. Pharmacist // Boxoctosis / Touch Sensitive
Reviews on the message board. Thanks to Danny for these photos.