16 April 2013 : Due a family emergency Conway is taking an indefinite break from all Fall-related activities.
9 May 2013 : Conway says — Thank you very much to Mark and Elena, people associated with the group, and fans from all around the world for their kind messages of support. We have been quite overwhelmed with them all.
Another Fall album covered by the Fall Online Forum: The Real New Forum LP. Listen/download links on the FOF. Here're the UK and US covers, by ryaneno and Starsky-Tandoori respectively.
added 5 July
In case the Touch Sensitive: Bootleg Box Set wasn't enough 2001 live Fall for you, Ozit has released another date from the US tour: the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on 19 November.
It's a deluxe and expensive (e.g. £22.95 from Action Records) package on 2 LPs with an accompanying CD featuring, bizarrely, only 10 of the 17 tracks. Sound quality from the mixing desk is very good. Limited to 1000 copies on mauve vinyl.
The gatefold includes Eliot Van Buskirk's review of the gig which he posted on Playing In Fog. And Mick Middles has written a review for The Quietus.
added 1 July
Friday, 28 June 2013 All Tomorrow's Parties, Keflavik, Iceland
Victrola Time / Hot Cake / Strychnine / Hittite Man / Sir William Wray / Kinder of Spine / Nate Will Not Return / I've Been Duped / Jetplane / I'm Not from Bury / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Reformation / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness
The Universe: Explained is a very special event that combines science, art experiments, writers, poets and legendary post punk band, The Membranes. It’s an event unlike any other that will both explain the complex ideas about the origins of the universe and blow the minds of the audience with brilliant music, film and conversation.
There will be live interviews with key scientists about the latest theories on the universe that attempt to explain how it began, how it will end and all the bits in between. There will be talk of wormholes, dark matter, the Big Bang theory, the billion universe idea and the Higgs Boson particle.
added 24 June; updated 24 June
Saturday, 22 June 2013 Día de la Música, Matadero, Madrid, Spain
Victrola Time / Hot Cake / Strychnine / Hittite Man / Sir William Wray / Chino / I've Been Duped / Kinder of Spine / Nate Will Not Return / Theme from Sparta F.C. // Mr. Pharmacist / Reformation
Thanks to David for the setlist and Sergio for the photo. More on the forum.
I am setting up this 3 week long event in Copenhagen.
This is not really like the 3 Paintwork exhibitions in London, Hamburg and Berlin - even though I of course have included a lot of the names included in these.
This is more like a beast - with loud music - 9 gigs - film screenings - video installations etc.
Many of the artists are doing special pieces for the exhibition.
The poster can be ordered. Info will follow. You are welcome to include my email in the news. Would be great to get some feedback. email@example.com
I am finishing the film this week. A MES & The Fall documentary - running aprox 60 min. I hope Fall fans will find it interesting. But you never know :-) We did our very best. We started 12 years ago. Amateurs. But dedicated.
And with contributions by John Peel, Dee Dee Ramone, Thurston Moore, David Gedge, Gary Lucas, Damo Suzuki, Stephen Malkmus, Alan Wise, John Cooper Clarke, Grant Showbizz; FallfanDave etc. it has become quite entertaining I think.
Saturday, 8 June 2013 Long Division Festival, Wakefield
Victrola Time / Hot Cake / Strychnine / Jetplane / Chino / Sir William Wray / Hittite Man / I've Been Duped / Mr. Pharmacist / Spider / Theme from Sparta F. C. / Reformation / Nate Will Not Return / White Lightning
Victrola Time / Hot Cake / Strychine / Jetplane / Chino / Sir William Wray / I've Been Duped / Hittite Man / Mr. Pharmacist / Kinder of Spine / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Psykick Dancehall // Container Drivers / Reformation // White Lightning
Victrola Time / Strychnine / Jetplane / Chino / Sir William Wray / I've Been Duped / Hittite Man / I'm Not from Bury / No Respect / Loadstones / Theme from Sparta F.C. // Kinder of Spine / Blindness // White Lightning // Mr. Pharmacist
Victrola Time / Hot Cake / Strychnine / Sir William Wray / Chino / Kinder of Spine / I've Been Duped / No Respects / Hittite Man / I'm Not from Bury / Loadstones // Jet Plane (aborted) > Theme from Sparta F.C.
“We are The Fall,” Mark E. Smith intones during the opening “Victrola Time”. “Do not think you’re going to get anything else.”
The loyal, still growing tribe crammed and jostling for position to watch the latest instalment of The Fall’s 37-year, ongoing last stand for Smith’s caustically individual values take that as a promise.
There have been times where it’s seemed more like a threat. Smith’s fondness for a pint can lead to behaviour running riot with the sensibilities of more delicate souls, not least his own band-members (dozens have jumped ship over the decades). But as the new, thirtieth album Re-Mit proves, everything remains a variant on a stubbornly rewarding theme: Mark E. Smith’s fascination with language’s arcane possibilities, set to primal rock’n’roll.
The Fall survive by moving forward, and as usual the set is drawn almost entirely from Re-Mit and other recent work. On “Sir William Wray”, the relatively young band Smith has kept together for five years now hold down a garage groove, his wife Eleni Poulou adding downbeat colour on her vintage Korg synth. Smith is an abrasive, unstable presence, one minute Les Dawson lugubrious, the next puffing his pigeon chest out as he haughtily inspects the crowd. At first, it’s funny - what’s mad old Mark going to do now?
But the humour is deliberate, and quickly turns into more ferocious energy, as “Kinder of Spine” brings the night into sharp focus. “Spider, spider, I hate you,” Smith whines. “Please judge me. I want to be judged…” Over rhythmically streamlined, slowed rockabilly which shifts into brighter 1960s R&B, Smith starts to declaim, his sometimes garbled words potently clear. The “spider” could be Simon Cowell, prostituting the working-class which spawned The Fall, or any one of a thousand held in Smith’s wry contempt.
When Poulou takes over the vocal for “I’ve Been Duped”, Smith turns his back to her, arms folded, somewhere between a Salford Napoleon and Steptoe. Poulou can hardly contain her grins at a husband who is unusually, playfully happy and singing with proud power over the band’s thundering, relentless groove. For the encore “Theme from Sparta FC”, Smith holds the mic with his arms flung back like Christ, and prowls the stage with the exaggerated grace of a benign drunk. He clocks off on the stroke of 60 minutes: all business, all pleasure, all Fall.
The Fall are back. Tim Cumming meets their unique, splenetic frontman
Mark E Smith and The Fall are one of the constant, cryptic undercurrents of English music. From Live at the Witch Trials, in 1978, through ballet with Michael Clark and Leigh Bowery in the Eighties to pioneering rock and electronica in the Nineties, near-collapse and rebirth in the 2000s, and now, with Re-Mit, the group's 30th studio release some 35 years later, no other band has reinvented itself along the same lines, album after album, and remained as fresh and challenging as The Fall. John Peel's famous dictum, “always different, always the same”, holds true. Re-Mit is a brilliant and essential album, as essential as pain relief in surgery. The word “different” runs through it like Brighton through rock. It is also the same.
When Luke Haines heard an advanced copy, he Tweeted: “Got my mits on Re-Mit. It's extraordinary. MES, speaking in tongues, channeling Wild Man Fischer at the exorcism” (sic). Even set against the illustrious Fall canon, much of Re-Mit is freaky, unnerving and very weird.
On record and in conversation, Mark E Smith's words are often cryptic. On new songs like “Hittite Man”, “Kinder of Spine” and “No Respects Rev”, he's a vocalist singing beyond words, spewing an unsettling stream of cries, shrieks and moans, infant-like whimpers of terror, and cackling, multi-tracked laughter.
I've met Smith a few times and he is stimulating and entertaining, often hilarious, always serious. We meet in Manchester's Kro Bar, which Smith enters wearing a dark blue overcoat, moving slowly towards the bar, looking about him, hair dishevelled.
“It gets harder the more technology there is in the studio,” says Smith of recording the latest LP. He describes the sound as “hard and clear and clean," and vocally, it's his strongest, most detailed work in years. ”Kinder of Spine“ crawls with cowering, overlapping pleas to ”my captain, my judge“ (”it's like miserable 19th-century novels where the captain's going down and all that“) and throughout, there's the feel of a group playing on different levels, from art noise to pure pop, overlaid with surging, sluicing analogue synths and heavily collaged vocals. ”When I do a vocal like 'No Respects Rev', it is deliberate. I want to layer it, but you get some dickhead producer come in and say, 'now can we have the proper vocal?' 'That is the proper vocal.' They think you're drunk.“ He describes it as an ”up“ album.
“Even pop, rock, it's all very miserable right now. Everyone I meet says that to me. All that I hear is that it's shit. Old people, young people, taxi drivers; there's just nothing there. 'When will the new Sex Pistols come, Mark?' It's not going to happen, is it? It's not. The occasions I go to award shows, they're just a bunch of shits. You sit next to The Killers, and it's like, am I on the wrong fucking train here? No, really. Talking about shares and stuff. Mumford and Sons, it's like sitting next to Ernst and Young.”
The primal rock'n'roll glam stomp of “Sir William Wray” is an early highlight. “The idea of the song was to be anti-music,” he says. “The verses aren't on it. The guy who was mixing it said, 'are you sure about this Mark?' and I said, 'yeah, leave it like that'. It's the bare bones of it, no lyrics, just the nasty bits. Stick that up your arse, X Factor. Anti-music.”
Elsewhere, “Jetplane” is a very funny spoken-word narrative set at the head of an airport queue, while “Hittite Man” delves into ancient history, with a guitar sound just one remove from Joe Meek's “Telstar”. “He's in the sand, isn't he?” says Smith, dreamily. “He's coming out from the past.” It ends with the sound of Smith exhaling what sounds like TB or some kind of demon. “I caught a very serious chest infection and thought it would fit in.” It does, but still pales before “No Respects Rev”. This turbo-charged, two-note riot of sound and vocal confusion is ripped open in the middle by a wordless collage of whimpers, shrieks and moans. No one treads the twilight zone of sense and sound like Smith, and rarely has he done it with as much power. He cackles. “Our publisher got this deal with that film Twilight. They said they'd give us $50,000 to come up with a song. So I said, I'll give them some horror…”
The contract dictated payment whether they used the song or not. They didn't, of course. “They don't know anything about horror, do they? It might frighten the children. But it is frightening, isn't it? I've fulfilled my bargain with Satan…” He clears his throat, leans forward, gesticulates. “There's no way they're going to put that in Twilight. But if they were good, they would. Orson Welles would've done it. It's horror.” He growls out the word, as if grinding it to dust. “Their horror is some guy like him” – he gestures to some young men behind us – “wandering through a forest with his eyes glazed.”
The bar's crowded, and loud, and Smith suggests we move on. When I get outside, he's stood by his wife, Elena, the group's keyboard player. They've been married since 2001 and live where Smith has lived since the 1980s, in a semi in Prestwich. We head to an old hotel bar near the station. Smith orders a tequila. Targets of his humorous vitriol include the difficulties of bringing cash into the country – “if you've got more than 1500 euros they think you're a drug dealer” – and Leveson (“I think it is disgusting that some one like Hugh Grant can dictate what newspapers say”).
Then there's the internet, downloads, and smartphones. He still won't use a mobile, and is caustic on his group's habitual usage.
“They are worse than heroin in my experience,” he says. “It's like having the telly on all day. There's no let-up. They never get that rest, contemplation.” Smith cups a hand to his ear, gurning. “It's like putting a little cockroach in your brain, that goes right through your brain and comes out the other side, after laying an egg.” He cackles. It's a vivid image worthy of a great Fall riff. He hunches up, shrugs. “Who are they talking to, and what are they talking about?” Smith's outlook doesn't connect with smart technology; it's more about instinct, and the one loud channel of primal rock'n'roll.
'Re-Mit' is out on Cherry Red now. The Fall tour until 24 May
added 16 May
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 Waterfront, Norwich
Reviews on the forum. Thanks to Mrs. Dave and Neil for the setlists.
Hit the North Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & Instrumental
Singles 1987 - 1989
Seminal Live - same track list as CD vesion
Which leaves Bend Sinister for a future reissue. Here's what Beggars said in reply to comments on their site:
All people on the Fall forum – you’re right, Bend Sinister deserves a separate release and a careful consideration of what speed it should play at [ !! ]. There should be sufficient material for a two disc set. The 5 album set is a way to keep the 3 main albums available on a physical format that sounds better than mp3 and it’s a chance to digitise some of the more obscure tracks. Actually I really enjoyed listening to the ‘Hit The North’ CD – it works better than it should.
Much has been re-mastered from analogue tape. Sadly we only have parts of ‘Kurious Oranj’ on analogue. I tried transferring the (digital) vinyl master but it just didn’t sound as good as the CD due to the extra compression, so the different vinyl mixes have been added to the end while keeping the vinyl sequence.
There is still some final work to be done comparing versions of ‘Wrong Place, Right Time No.2’ and ‘Bad News Girl’ – if they are different they will be included. Also I believe Victoria is the same on single and album. Seminal Live hasn’t been re-mastered, just adjusted to match the other CD’s. I’m hoping for a July release.
The Fall’s Mark E. Smith on Re-Mit, Playing for German Lawyers, and H.P. Lovecraft
Post-punk warhorse the Fall releases its 30th record, Re-Mit, today. As per most great Fall albums, Re-Mit is equal parts brilliant and confounding. Up-tempo garage-rock stompers, like lead single “Sir William Wray,” are balanced by inchoate noodling (one of said tracks is aptly titled “Noise”). The group is led by Mark E. Smith, the outspoken and cantankerous visionary and sole constant member since the group’s formation in 1976. Smith still churns out scalpel-sharp lyrics, this time focusing his wit and zeal on such topics as a Hittite corpse rising from the grave and wreaking havoc and Italian laziness on Sundays. We spoke to him by phone from his home in Manchester about the new album, playing for 6,000 German lawyers, and H.P. Lovecraft.
On the Fall’s first live record, 1980’s Totale’s Turns, the cover gave a funny shout-out to your tour itinerary [listing “Doncaster! Bradford! Preston! Prestwich!”]. Tonight you’re playing in Hebden Bridge [in West Yorkshire, England]. Why do you still play such tiny towns instead of only hitting major cities like a lot of bands?
It keeps the group on their toes, mainly. It works. Last year, before Christmas, we did this birthday party for a lawyer in Hamburg. He’s a big fan, and I thought it would be about 500 people, but there were 6,000 German lawyers there who’d never heard of the Fall in their life. I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it or go on the cocktail lounge circuit.
You’ve been quoted as saying you don’t like the last record Ersatz GB. I love it.
I’m just saying that, really. I was more bothered about the sound; I thought it was a bit flat. I was a bit disappointed, but I always am, ya see? What can you say? Do you have the new one? Do you like it?
Yes! In the song “Irish,” you say “James Murphy is their chief, they show their bollocks when they eat.” Is this the Murphy from LCD Soundsystem or an Irish everyman James Murphy?
Ha-ha. What do you think? Are you a big fan of his? I had to make up some lyrics quick for that one.
My favorite song is “Hittite Man.” I heard the other version where your wife sings backup on Facebook on it, and it's incredible. Was it hard to pick out which one to use?
Everybody wanted me to use that one, but I stuck with the first one. You like the wife one? It was a hard choice.
So, when writing it, were you really thinking of a Hittite corpse coming to life, or is it a grand metaphor?
I read daft history books. Sometimes the books I read are a bit crackers or strange. So it sounded interesting. The Hittites didn’t believe in debt or insurance. When I first started thinking about it was when I went to Greece, because the Hittites were with the ancient Greeks. And they didn’t believe in debt or overdrafts, which sounds crazy, and I thought they didn’t believe in wrongful communication, which I believe is the cause of a lot of trouble in the world.
I like that you use the word gibbous in the song; it’s such a chic way of saying hunchbacked.
Lovecraft made up a lot of words, didn’t he? I might well have gotten that from him.
I love H.P. Lovecraft. Last time I was on a plane I was reading a compendium of his, and I found a lot of lines that you snuck into Fall songs, like the chanting in “Spector Vs Rector.”
Betrayal! Well, you’ve got to pay homage, don’t you? Somebody’s got to do it. He’s not very bloody recognized where you live, is he? It’s disgusting. They come over here and worship bloody Jane Austen and shit like that. Funnily enough, I just reread At the Mountains of Madness. It’s great, isn’t it? I would love to visit Lovecraft’s grave.
Right? In Providence you can take a Lovecraft tour.
Have you been?
No, I can’t get anyone to go with me.
I’ll go with you!
You haven’t played in the U.S. since 2006.
It’s true. I can’t explain it. It’s hard work, to be honest. You have to get visas and agents. I’m not complaining. I like America. I could go from my house on Thursday and go to New York and go shopping and come back on Tuesday. But to take the group is hard work.
Well, come for the shopping.
You don’t really think I’m that type, do you?
This lineup of the Fall is the longest you’ve ever held one together.
It’s been about five years. They’re fantastic. I think it’s because they’re truly not fans or aware, apart from Elena [Smith’s wife and keyboardist Elena Poulou]; she’s very knowledgeable. But the group, like [guitarist Peter] Greenway, he’s got immaculate taste but not particularly [for] the old Fall stuff. And the other two are too young. When Grotesque came out [in 1980], they were about 6, which helps, I think.
You’ve had to assemble so many bands. Was there ever a time where you were worried, Can I do this again? Like in 2006, when the entire band left mid-tour.
Yeah, of course, but it wasn’t the first time, was it? I’ve always recruited off the street; I don’t hold auditions.
You’re like a pimp recruiting runaways.
Fuck off. I’m like a sergeant major from the thirties. I’m the sort who just goes, "You’re in. I’ve heard your cassette." In Britain, I’ve got this reputation [as if] I just sack everybody like I’m a tyrant. But they go from me. What do I do?
You seem to revel in the deterioration of your voice; you growl and gargle and sound like an old man.
I was hoping to on the new LP. I did go out a bit to create some kind of anti-music.
That is a good description for new songs like “Post MDMA Years” and “Kinder of Spine.”
It was deliberate. One of the producers — I won’t name him — but he said, "What we need is verse-chorus-verse-chorus." I said, "That’s it, go home."
Your sister did the artwork on the cover.
She’s a single mother. She did a student course. The first cover she did was Grotesque.
So she does one every 33 years.
Yes! I think she did great.
Have you been reading up on the Met’s "Punk" exhibit?
No. Does it have that London designer woman?
Yeah, Vivienne Westwood.
We always got attacked in '79. We got spat at all the time because we didn’t look like them. The Police, you know, the Sting Police, that stupid group; there is one of them somewhere in Britain, “Costumes of the Police.” Go and see that!
So, in concerts for a while you performed in a wheelchair because you broke your hip. But now sometimes you will sit down in a chair or disappear backstage and sing from backstage. What’s going on in your head when you do that?
I can concentrate. It’s better for my voice. When I was in the wheelchair I had no fucking choice. But you get a better, more realistic tone. Sometimes it’s because the group aren’t functioning properly. So when I go off, they have to get in sync more. They’re used to it half joined when I was in a wheelchair.
added 13 May
Sunday, 12 May 2013 Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
Victrola Time / Hot Cake / Kinder of Spine / Mr. Pharmacist / Sir William Wray / Chino / I've Been Duped / Loadstones / Hittite Man / I'm Not from Bury / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Jet Plane / Reformation // White Lightning
Friday, 10 May 2013 East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
Victrola Time / Strychnine / Jet Plane / Chino / Sir William Wray / Hittite Man / I'm Not from Bury / I've Been Duped / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Loadstones / Kinder of Spine // Reformation // White Lightning
Reviews on the forum and thanks to Mark for the setlist and Comrade Gonzo for most of the 11+min Reformation.
added 7 May; updated 11 May
RE-MIT (Cherry Red CDBRED580; vinyl (ltd to 2000 copies): BRED580)
1. No Respect 1 (instrumental) (Smith / Presley / Poulou)
2. Sir William Wray (Smith / Poulou)
3. Kinder of Spine (Smith / Presley)
4. Noise (Smith / Spurr / Greenway)
5. Hittite Man (Smith / Greenway)
6. Pre-MDMA Years (Smith)
7. No Respect 2 (Smith / Presley / Poulou)
8. Victrola (Smith / Presley / Poulou)
9. Irish (Smith / Spurr / Melling)
10. Jetplane (Smith / Spurr / Melling)
11. Jam Song (Smith / Spurr / Melling / Poulou)
12. Loadstones (Smith / Greenway / Poulou)
Reviews of Re-Mit have been trickling in and it's already been spotted in several UK shops a week before its official release day of 13 May. Reviews and links on the forum.
Too many press reviews to post here, but here's Ben Ratliff in yesterday's New York Times:
Mark E. Smith’s ideas are getting less idea-like than ever. The songs on “Re-Mit” (Cherry Red), his 30th studio album with his band the Fall, resemble a row of unevenly smashed windows, or patches of broken concrete in a street — unsightly ruptures within a familiar context, potentially more shapely and interesting the closer you look, but perhaps not. The contexts here are burly, starchy, midtempo garage-rock or punk riffs. The ruptures are the startling uses of words as nonsignifiers, as pure sound.
Mr. Smith, from Manchester, England, is 56, and sounds closer to 80; his recent singing technique is marked by glottal contortion and frequent use of the phlegm in the back of his throat. In nearly every song here, his wandering texts, and possibly improvisations, are inhabited by his angry-outburst voice, the sound of a man not worth bothering with. In “Noise,” he singles out Peter Greenway, the band’s guitarist. (“In his hands is a guitar,” and “At least I like Peter! He won’t be twitching all over the frets!”) In the dreamlike flow of “Irish” he mentions a James Murphy, perhaps the one from LCD Soundsystem, who has called the Fall his favorite band in the world. And there are a few semi-narrative songs that sound read from a sheet: “Hittite Man” and “Jetplane.” But otherwise, he’s gesturing broadly, making garbled oratory without clear referent, sometimes through what sounds like a megaphone; over all he can seem to be fading into the background, becoming a gremlin in the corner, a human gargle.
Rating among recent Fall albums: Better than “Ersatz GB” (the 29th); far better than “Reformation Post TLC” (26th); not as good as “Your Future Our Clutter” (28th) and a full mile worse than “Imperial Wax Solvent” (27th). Go get it.
added 10 May; updated 12 May
Thursday, 9 May 2013 Fibbers, York
Victrola Time / Strychnine / Hot Cake / Chino / Sir William Wray / Hittite Man / I'm Not from Bury / I've Been Duped / Loadstones // White Lightning // Theme from Sparta F.C. // Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness
John Peel once said Of The Fall, “They are always different; they are always the same”.
How right the late voice of the BBC was. Come Monday, the Manchester mavericks will release Re-Mit, their 30th studio album since post-punk’s dawn in 1977; the one constant being sarky Mark E Smith as band leader; the constant difference being the ever-changing line-up.
Many have fallen by the wayside, but the 2013 line-up was brutally magnificent on Thursday night. Smith doesn’t go in for eye contact, his eyes almost closed, his face sour as vinegar.
Not even wife Elena Poulou, the Linda to Smith’s McCartney but a vastly better keyboard player, receives more than a cursory thrust of a microphone when it’s her turn to sing.
Keiron Melling’s pneumatic drums crash and smash and drill and thrill. Combine them with Peter Greenway’s abrasive lead guitar and David Spurr’s bludgeoning bass, and it is a mighty, moody, muscular racket, repetitious yet exhilarating.
Around them Smith prowls and growls, sneers and mocks like a grown-up Hamlet, itchy on the trigger, sometimes singing out of view, other times leaning over his audience, many as long-lasting as Smith himself.
Smith doesn’t do chatter, never mentioning the new album; that’s not his remit. Lyrics are often indecipherable, although you can hear snatches: “Can’t string a sent…”; “Blah, blah blah”; “Sir William” (the new number Sir William Wray), but it is as much the sound of the fury that signifies everything.
Fall favourites bring communal singing: especially Bury! and three encores with ever lengthening gaps between, White Lightning, Spartacus and Mr Pharmacist. “Thank you Yark,” said Mark. Thank you Mark; long may you bark.
added 9 May
Wednesday, 8 May 2013 Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast
Victrola Time / Strychnine / Hot Cake / Chino / Sir William Wray / Hittite Man / I'm Not from Bury / I've Been Duped / Loadstones / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Kinder of Spine / Weather Report 2 / Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness // White Lightning
Reviews on the forum and thanks to Little Frank for posting the setlist. Also a couple of press reviews:
It is both a tribute to their longevity that a book, The Fallen, has been written cataloguing the fate of all 61 former members of The Fall. But 2013 has seen a significant milestone in the band's history, as the current personnel are now the longest-serving stable line-up.
With a new album, Rem-it [sic], imminent, have they reached that dread place, respectability?
The band enter to a miasma of white noise and spooky voiceovers cranking up an electro punk rhythm into which a leather-jacketed Mark E Smith wails imperiously. It's an incredible sound, both subterranean and futuristic.
Smith shares vocal duties with keyboardist Elena Poulou on some tracks, but when their main man is in such imperious form as tonight they are a revelation, this nation's saving grace.
THE FALL, led by perennial frontman Mark E Smith, played to a sell-out audience at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival marquee on Wednesday night. The band are still going in some format after 35 years, while the latest incarnation including Smith’s Norwegian [sic] wife Eleni have been together for five years, which is long by Fall standards.
There was to be no repeat of the band’s almost no-show from 2008 as Smith (56), looking sprightly in a crisp blue shirt, appeared on stage promptly at nine thirty. After a dramatic extended intro, the band launched immediately into superb new tracks from their forthcoming album, Re-Mit. This 30th original studio release was given the full treatment with tracks like latest single release Hittite Man, Sir William Wray, Irish and Bury all showcased. Crowd pleasers like Strychnine, Theme from Sparta FC and Mr Pharmacist were also thrown in for good measure, along with an electrifying rendition of Blindness, a good humoured Smith passing the mike into the crowd for accompaniment. The hour-long set, which saw the now typical on-stage fiddling with the amps from Smith, was well received by a boisterous but good humoured crowd as the band returned for a thunderous encore of White Lightening [sic].
added 8 May
Tuesday, 7 May 2013 O2 ABC, Glasgow
Victrola Time / Hot Cake / Kinder of Spine / Mr. Pharmacist / Sir William Wray / Chino / Loadstones / Hittite Man / I'm Not from Bury / What About Us? / Blindness // Theme from Sparta F.C.
Reviews on the forum, and thanks to Stephen for the setlist.
added 7 May
M.E.S. chatted on Radcliffe & Maconie's BBC 6 Music show yesterday afternoon. They've kindly excerpted the MES bit and posted it here.
added 26 April
R.I.P. Anna Paton 1964-2013. Anna passed away peacefully in her sleep after a long and brave battle with breast cancer (2002) and breast cancer secondaries in the liver (2010). Much loved wife of Conway and mother of Katie (16) and Isabella (13).
The Fall's Birthday Song (Remix) was the soundtrack to a photo slideshow played at Anna's funeral.
5 August 2013
This is the latest news and gossip off the message board, Fallnet, and elsewhere. If you have something to contribute, please email Stefan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
29may13Nov/Dec '12 gigs, April '13 gigs; Re-Mit preview; Sir William Wray RSD 7"; Guardian, Q Mag Q&As; Lancashire Telegraph, Going Thru Vinyl, Viva Brighton, Scotland Herald interviews; Ding on Salford Radio; IAKO video; Beggars 5xcd box; Steve Hanley book deal; Fall Fans Round Table, 2 Librans Lockdown.
23oct12European gigs (Greece, France, UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden); Ginger Wildheart's Mutation; Woog Riots LP; Fall-A-Thon in Ohio; Night & Day and Greek interviews; NME Heroes, Blaine Harrison & MES; The Frenz Equivalent cover LP; Night of the Humerons 7"; Another Nice Mess "Worst of the Fall" special; Sex, Drugs & HIV; MES T-shirts, Action Man, and Birthday Cake; Simon W's "You Can Drum But You Can't Hide" book; Pascal Le Gras paintings; Magic Band magic footage.
Ersatz GB + reviews + press + interviews, Laptop Dog 7", summer festivals in Europe and UK, Nov UK tour, Live at the Hac pt. 2; Kill Pretty (Mike Leigh); Perverted by Mark E. promo vid; Brian Blessed Alarm Clock + Skinnybrain (Dave Milner); Uncut w/MES on old Fall lineups; Julia Adamson int.; Steve Trafford album; Pascal's "Blue Christmas" video.
Live at the Hacienda DVD; MES Guardian Q&A; Timekode
& MES video clips; Fall sign to Cherry Red; Marshall
Suite, Wonderful & Frightening World and TNSG
reissues; Before the Fall compilation
TNSG Omnibus; Danny Baker; Euro/UK/OZ/NZ/Israel gigs;
Don Van Vliet, Rex Sergeant, Steve Ormod, r.i.p.; Before
The Fall comp; White Lightning promo vid; Pop Fiction;
Marshall Suite 3xCD; FoF's "Hex Enduction Ours";
Bracewell & Wilde "The Art of The Fall" (1992);
Middles' "Story of The Fall" doc; The Fall in Iceland
press; Sex, Drugs & HIV; M.E.S. I.P.A.; MES Quietus
interview; Factory Star's "Enter Castle Perilous"
East Village Radio session; Ideal; new Scanlon demos;
UK/Euro festivals; NZ/Aus tour preview; Eat Y'Self
Fitter redux; Susan Vale; Quietus, Vice & Brag ints;
Mike Joyce, Adrian Sherwood ints.
YFOC reviews; UK tour + Primavera; Times (London &
New York interviews); "worker bees" interview; Bury,
England's Heartbeat videos; caption comp.; Beleaguered
Fall Fan; Paintwork conference book; Bury/Cowboy Gregori
7"; Mojo, Tim Cumming Q&As.
Berlin gig; FIGFALP; Domino YFOC press release; Tate's
"Sound & Vision" series; Gorillaz' Glitter Freeze;
Gavin Friday int.; Beggars archive update; #1 Cult
Figure (Alex Chilton, rip); MES as Narrative Lyric
Writer; Quietus, Independent interviews; couple of