Fall News

News for week ending 3 Dec 1997

bit of a long one again I'm afraid


Reviews where available...

Oxford Zodiac (27)
Stoke Stage (30)
Leeds Irish Centre (December 1)
Liverpool Krazy House (2)
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (4)
London Kentish Town Forum (5)
Cambridge Junction (7)
Norwich Waterfront (8),
Bristol Bierkeller (9)

The Forum, Kentish Town, London: tickets 12 quid from 0171 344 0044 (credit card,booking fee). Meet-up pub the Bull & Gate next door.
Cambridge Junction 01223 511511
Bristol Bierkeller 926 8514

Gez has some recent concert pics up at:

http://www.btinternet.com/~hmhb/djohn/djcardiff.htm (Cardiff)

http://www.btinternet.com/~hmhb/djohn/djding1.htm (Dingwalls)

http://www.btinternet.com/~hmhb/dingwalls/ding1.htm (Dingwalls)

And Mike Jones has some at:



MES is in Esquire this month, interview below (thanks to Geoff Caves). 

Arjan has supplied a snippet from a MES interview in the new issue of Opscene (Dutch bi-monthly alternative music mag):

... Q: On Levitate you worked again with the two producers of house-act D.O.S.E., with which you recorded Plug Myself In. Mark: "Well, in the middle of recording of a song, they quit. We got a row over money. Besides one of them thinks he really is Mark E. Smith. In the song The Fall sounds a bit like Nine Inch Nails. That's why I called the song 4 1/2 Inch." ...


Single in January will be Masquerade, or Levitate, or maybe something else

Cheetham Hill: Time Enough At Last, Free Range, Chiselers, US 80s 90s, Spinetrak, Idiot Joy Showland, Oleano, The Joke, Ed's Babe, Hit The North, White Lightning, Secession Man, Last Chance To Turn Around, Coliseum, Eat Y'self Fitter.

Recent news....

971125 Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stoke reviews
971116 Manchester reviews, Loaded interview
971112 Band "back together", teletext interview
971110 NME report, various Dublin/Belfast reviews
971109 First Dublin/Belfast reviews, MES on Elastica album


OLD PECULIAR Mark E Smith takes an awayday to London to celebrate 20 years of The Fall

Mark E Smith has never been a pop star. Even if he wanted to be one (and he never has), his mother would probably have had something to say about it. A while back, slightly fraught, he answered the door to her with his hair sticking up. He takes up the story: "She said, 'That's how they get, these pop stars, they set off on the marry-joanna and then they get on to the cocaine. That's how it starts - they split up with their wives and start on the marry-joanna. They think it's all right at first...'

"I said, 'Look, Mam, I haven't had a joint in 15 years.'

"'That's what they all say: it turns them into liars. Look at you - just like Sting. His wife left him, and he was answering the door with his hair stuck up. Just like you were today.'

"My sister said, 'Mum, that's just his image.'

"'No - he's shouting mad, his wife's left him, and he's walking round shouting, just like Mark."'

Mark E Smith has never even dressed like a pop star. "When we first started, I used to wear a parka. It was just 'cos I was working in the docks and couldn't give a fuck about getting a Union Jack T-shirt and spiky hair. Now people are actually wearing parkas as a fashion statement, and these horrible V-necks. It's like Pulp and the stuff he wears. He pays loads of money for crap my mam bought me second-hand for 10p."

We're sitting in a pub, talking about how his group The Fall are, in their own, uncompromising way, still getting on with being one of the most influential groups in British music (they recently featured in The Times's greatest ever makers of music: "They boast more ideas in a verse than most other bands contrive for an LP," wrote John Peel). About how, after 20 years in the business, Fall Iyrics are today studied by German schoolchildren on the poetry syllabus. "I wonder what they make of 'Jew on a Motorbike'," wonders Smith. About how a pre-Bunnymen lan McCulloch used to be their roadie. About how American "progressive punk" outfit Pavement ripped them off: "They're filled with this guilt, which is really amusing. They're still trying to do Code: Selfish" [Fall circa 1992]. About how Elastica were "heavily influenced" by Pavement, who were ripping off The Fall. Ironic, really.

A small, dark-haired girl self-consciously sidles over.

"Excuse me, are you Mark E Smith?"

"Yes, love," he says. Politely.

Turns out she's the bass player with Elastica, who are recording their new album in a studio nearby. Really ironic.

After a while, she goes off. But not very far. We can hear her nattering into a mobile: "I'm in the pub. Mark Smith's here... yes, in the pub. Mark E Smith... from The Fall"

"They've got no shame, these people," Smith mutters.

Soon, there are two Elastica girls, Donna and Sheila, at our table. To keep up superiority of numbers, Julia Nagle, The Fall's keyboard player of two years, joins us.

"We're recording our new album," say the Elastica gurrrls.

"Oh really?" says Julia, chattily, like a nice aunt asking what you've done at school. "We've got a new album out."

"Ooh, can you send us one?" asks Donna.

"Why? Have you run out of ideas?" barks Smith.

(Later, Smith visited Elastica's studio. Of course they treated him reverentially, getting the beers in and eventually persuading him to sing on two tracks. On "We Want You" he dragged in his publicist, Koulla Constantinou, to sing a duet which he'd hastily written about Gary Numan, who made £4 million in two years. It goes: "Instead of going to Montserrat, a la Simon Le Bon, I bought a caravan in Weymouth and nearly shot my mum." When Elastica's Justine Frischmann heard it, she wanted Smith to re-record the duet with her. Alas, Ms Frischmann couldn't sing the part as well as the classically trained Koulla, so Smith declined. "You've been sitting in this studio for a year with your fingers up your arses," he commented helpfully "and this girl's better than the four of you put together.")

Numerologists might find it portentous that The Fall (with many personnel changes) have - now been in existence for 20 years, that Levitate (the Fall's new LP) is their 30th album, and that Mark E Smith is now 40 years old.

Numerologists might also venture to suggest that this explains why odd things keep happening to The Fall.

Like the Elastica thing.

Like the fact that Mark E Smith (from North Manchester) gets a lot of letters from American Indians. "They only had three albums on their reservation," he muses, "one by Dean Martin, one by someone else, and Grotesque [Fall circa 1980]. Their chief thought that 'The North Will Rise Again' spoke to them through the music. When we played the West coast, they came and chanted backstage while we were playing."

Like the mad New Zealand fan. "About 10 years ago, this bloke strapped a load of dynamite to his back and blew himself to bits in the foyer of the New Zealand Nuclear Energy centre. When they went back to his house, they found his record collection was just Fall albums - nothing else. All over the house. They wanted to make a documentary I had to put the clampers on the script. Imagine that getting out: 'SERIAL KILLER INSPIRED BY THE FALL'.

"It's a tap you find in people's heads," says Smith, trying to explain The Fall's wide-ranging appeal. Well, it's certainly not the Nineties way of selling records. No advertising, little in the way of promotional work, and a loathing of the music press, for which Smith fosters a curmudgeonly menace. "Irritating little bastards," he mutters "They don't like me and I don't like them." Once he threw a fawning NME reporter's notebook into a lake.

The Fall are to the music industry what Ronseal is to flat roofs - it does exactly what it says on the tin. Tour and record, tour and record. It's a job. And with Smith's prodigious work-rate, there are always more words to wrap around songs.

"People seem to need The Fall more than I do," says Smith. "I've noticed the mail has been getting more and more desperate." Fans got used to the band's production rate - the antithesis of the Stone Roses's five-year hiatus while they produced that "difficult" second album.

Because I fucked off all my record labels, The Fall - for once - hadn't had an album out in nine months. So I left it for a bit - starve the bastards. It was getting really bad. I'd go into pubs in North Manchester and some barman would go, 'What are you doing sat in this pub drinking? It's been 16 fuckin' months!' In the street, it's always odd people you'd never think, like coppers and train guards, who come up and say: 'Get in the studio! GIVE US ANOTHER ALBUM.'

"Funny thing is," he adds, "the more I've left it, the more fuckin' lame other groups have become."

The Fall have existed in a parallel universe, utilising the sound of the time, but always sounding like, well - like The Fall, unswayed by the vagaries of music. "We're always two years ahead of the time - it's just pre-cog, isn't it?" says Smith. In the late Seventies, they didn't even fit into punk. "I felt betrayed by punk," says Smith. "I just wanted to combine primitive music with intelligent Iyrics." Thus few embarrassments in The Fall's backcatalogue, no "Laughing Gnome" lurking in the cupboard: "Whenever I hear old stuff on the radio, I'm always pleasantly surprised,"

The only constant has been Smith's voice; a nasal Northern sneer lambasting everything he detests, from estate agents to East-Enders, students to container drivers. It is relatively unsurprising that one of his favourite words is "prurient".

The new LP was recorded in Edwyn Collins's studio, then produced by the techno outfit DOSE ("i got rid of them after a week") and then the hi-tech PWL (Pete Waterman Limited) boys ("they think The Smiths are some relation to us"). It gives the band a new sound - fuller, more techno, less guitar-led. "I've pruned a lot," he says. "l never liked British guitar music. I think it's redundant. Not commercially but musical,." Smith admits that his new one, Levitate, is "one of of the few LPs I can listen to all the way through".

In spite of constant evolution, there's always a danger that, through sheer longevity, they'll get cast as an old 1977 retro outfit. Smith hates retro ("Vimto and Spangles were always crap, regardless of the lookback buzz," he sings on "It's a Curse", 1993) and, unsurprisingly, wants to stamp this out. He has just pulled The Fall out of a lucrative US tour "because I found out that Stiff Little Fingers and Pere Ubu were on the bill."

Trouble is, diehard Fall fans will insist on droning on about the good old days. "It's such a shame. We did a show in Berlin last Christmas, and 19-year-old East German kids are really into it for the technical and Iyrical aspects. And then you get some fuckin' drip my age coming over and saying [irate German accent]:'I bought your 'How I Wrote Elastic Man' in 1981. Now I verk in computers...' Fuckin' saddo. I wouldn't go back now. You talk to people and they say the best times of their life were when they were 18 to 21. I fuckin' hated it, me.

"It's gone full circle," says Smith. "In the beginning, it was really hard for us to get shows, because we had longish hair but weren't heavy metal, and weren't punk, and no fucker liked us.

"We were banned from all festivals last year because we don't play the old stuff, because I walk offstage. Look at Johnny Cash - he walks offstage after half an hour. I just want to get the band moving. People don't want to hear some fucker shouting through songs like fuckin' Mick Jagger; they can go and see Oasis if they want to hear that."

Smith is dubious of being categorised as a "British sound". "I always liked Country and Western and rockabilly - it's more English than people think. All the white trash from the south of America are from the North of England; three-quarters of the blokes at the Alamo were from North Manchester. History gets distorted. Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones were just watered-down blues. England took Elvis Presley and got Cliff Richard. Paul McCartney had a nerve calling Oasis derivative - The Beatles never wrote a fuckin' original song in their lives..."

Smith is a font of opinions, spewing them out like Liam Gallagher spews out, erm, spew. He even has opinions on opinions. "Have you noticed that these days ordinary people think they have a right to say things? It's been shoved down people's throats that they have a viewpoint. I get in a lot of fights - people think they have a right to come up to you in a pub and say they think The Smiths are better than The Fall, and I get up and hit them in the fuckin' face because that's the way I was brought up."

Smith has little love for his hometown, although he'd hate to live anywhere else. "They don't like me where I live. People say, 'This isn't the wastelands you were writing about at 19', but it is. It's just casinos instead of factories. It's just cosmetic changes there's still a load of pissed-off people, it's just that the air's cleaner. I preferred the old Manchester when you couldn't see how horrible it was.

"Now it's cultural festivals and all that - everything I fuckin' hate. You still get Peter Hook [ex-New Order bassist] walking round like he's bigger than Mick Jagger. I try to tell him: people in Dallas, Texas don't like Monaco [Hook's new band]. People in Nebraska have heard of The Fall. Manchester has an inflated opinion of itself."

Like Marc Riley perhaps. Riley was The Fall's ex-guitarist who went on to become the Lard in Mark and Lard, ex-breakfast-show, now afternoon-show Radio I DJs. "It's almost exactly as I forecast. I said he'd get into astrology and the runes and end up as some floppy mong on TV." When they first got the Radio 1 job, Smith was cabbing it up through Manchester to a recording studio: "I was really sick - you know when you're feeling so ill you think you're going to die and everything looks really big? We came over a hill and saw this big poster of Marc Riley and Mark Radcliffe this big fuckin' head on a wall, like 1984. I thought I was going to die and all the people I'd ever known were flashing before my eyes. It was fuckin' scary."

A recent hagiographic Guardian interview described Mark E Smith as "God-like". It might be more judicious to use words like "funny" "clever" "professional", and "prolific". So he must be happy that Fall concert tickets are hard to get hold of these days? He smiles and sparks up a B&H: "Well, that's the general idea"



From: "Paul A. Pope"
Subject: Edinburgh/Glasgow Thoughts

Computer's been fixed for past couple of weeks, so (belatedly) this is what i thought:


I agree with everyone's views on Foil- standard indie guitar fodder, and far too loud. I stood at the back for them and they were vibrating my internal organs.Had tinitus for days........ Moved down front for Fall, and was as close as could be to band, in fact at one point when Smithy was at front of 'stage' i banged into him because of the moshers right behind me. I expected a stare but got nothing! May have been where i was standing but i thought Tommy's guitar was far too prominent. A complete wall of noise at some points. Not a bad thing in itself, but i couldn't hear MES at some points. And neither could he either, as he constantly twiddled with Tommy's amp.Keyboards, as someone else said, were non-existent. Spencer was sung kneeling from back of stage, reading from lyric sheets which were grabbed by someone at end of gig. One of us? Funniest moment- Mark trying and failing to adjust mic in stand and grinning to himself. Touching moment- Mark having words with SHanley mid -song to move up front a bit- he seemed to be edging more and more behind Tommy. Overall, a good but not classic performance. Much better at Cas Rock in August.

Glasgow- Much better sound, with the crowd far more enthusiastic compared to Edinburgh. This time the vocals were perfectly audible from the front, and keyboards were good as well. Intro tape was very long and was MES answering machine. One message was about money and a business deal from someone who was a Wolves supporter. Lie Dream was as wonderful as ever. After 10Houses(with Tommy ignoring heckles to do intro v well), came 5 songs which for me, showed the band at their peak. A manically brutal Hip Priest was followed by an even more savage M5. 'I'm just a well- read punk-peasant' especially well ranted. Levitate justs pales on record compared to live. Band seemed to be enjoying Mummy, especially Tommy, tapping his feet to the rhythm.

Not much has been said about Karl's drumming. i took time to watch him and he hold things together really well - looks very concentrated and focused. Incidentally, both at Ed & Gl. he helped set up his gear before the start with Neville, the silver haired man. MES also took time out in this gig to look at Tommy and Karl's playing, rather like a teacher looking over a pupil's shoulder in class. Usual meanderings from MESaround-stage, including having a word with sound-man during penultimate song. I think it was also at Glasgow where Mark (when off-stage) said 'i've got a fucking chest-infection' between songs, much to the bemusement of Tommy. May explain those pills being popped. Verdict : Tightly focussed band, MES on top of things. In short- superb.

CC T-Shirt & Levitate Poster on sale for 5 pound as well.

Also got a set-list(Glasgow) (S Hanley's):

Masquerade Spine Track (sic) Lie Dream Hurricane 10 Houses Hip Priest M5 Levitate Mummy Idiot Pep Counter Jungle Ol ' Gang*

*In the end this wasn't played. After a ' Jungle' that seemed to go on forever, MES shouted to band to play Pearl City.



From: "David I. Williams"
Subject: Zodiac

Just returned from my first (and probably last) gig at the Zodiac, Oxford.

Frankly the attitude of the venue management stank! This possibly accounted for a generally below par performance by The Fall, tonight. It also led, ironically, to the finest moment of the night - a fine, extended, drum and vocal only rendition of I'm a Mummy - as the power to all the amps was pulled at 10pm.


Pearl City - (MES mis-times stage entry and is half way through first line as he reaches the mike, Julia scowling) Idiot Joy - (adequate) Masquerade - (slower version with some programming, but Tommy screws it up again) Lie Dream - (always great, but I'm beginning to tire of it) Levitate - (MES stops it after about 10 seconds; "a bit faster this time, I know its winter but fuckin' hell; 1-2-3-4" - gets better every time) Hurricane Edward - ('specially for konrad - good) Ten Houses - (excellent) Oleano - (ok) Hip Priest - (Shanley breaks a string!! - MES wittering on about picnics) M5 - (as you would expect) I'm A Mummy -( Karl and Mark just keep it going, while Julia and Steve mime sarcastically - and silently - Tommy joins in enthusiastically with b/vocs; altogether absolutely bloody hilarious)

Shortly before the plugs were pulled, I very clearly saw the manager saying to the sound team "one more after this one". Added to this a bouncer wandered menacingly into the moshers periodically for no apparent reason - and then stood there like a daft lemon.

Altogether slightly disappointing - although some say they really enjoyed it - but I will treasure that version of Mummy for a very long time.



From: "Stuart Antony Estell"
Subject: Oxford report

Set list:- (from Shanley's copy - I'll scan this in if enough demand)

Pearl City Idiot joy Showland Masquerade Levitate Lie Dream Hurricane Ten Houses Hip Priest M5 Mummy PEP

PEP didn't get played - the band came on late, so the house pulled the instrument plugs inbetween M5 and Mummy. A hilarious drums and vox only version of Mummy ensued, Mark milking it for all it was worth, Steve miming lots of hilarious Glam-rock type stuff on his bass. Much FallNet hand-jiving down the front.

Lie Dream and Levitate both had false starts - Tommy tried to play Levitate _far_ too slowly so Mark stopped him, and Karl (I think) fluffed the intro to Lie Dream. Masquerade just about held together in places - at one point Karl and Steve stopped to find out where they were in relation to the DAT backing tape.

Mark in good spirits - a lot of wandering about, but he seemed pretty focused, and enjoying it - esp. Mummy, but I swear he was eyeing up the FallNet contingent in Masquerade and kept doing the "the web descends" line over and over. He spent the first part of Hip Priest crouched in the corner, making dramatic entrance to the "he's going to make an appearance" line.

Julia beats Brix and Marcia hands-down in the "attractive female Fall member" stakes.

I caught Steve's eye at one point when Mark was fucking about with Tommy's guitar; he smiled wearily and raised an eyebrow. Could hardly hear Tommy all night - I got bass and drums, with a bit of keys and not much MES, but that was OK by me.

Not a brilliant gig by any means, or an inspired set, but immenseley enjoyable nonetheless, and wouldn't have missed the a capella Mummy for the world.

Stuart it's now _very_ late.


From: Alan McBride
Subject: RE: Oxford report

Opinions seem to differ on this one, but it's definitely up there with my top five fall gigs ever. And it has definitely furnished one of those unforgettable fall moments.

Set list, as has already been reported, was...

They were s'posed to do PEP, and I feel sure Ol' Gang would have been the encore, with maybe Glam Racket as a second encore. But they fucked that up by coming on after 21:15 when the venue were serious about closing at 10:00 'cos they run a club at 10:40.

Also Lie Dream and Levitate were s'posed to be the other way round on the set list, so Tommy starts into Lev but Karl plunges into Lie Dream.

David wrote; > Masquerade - (slower version with some programming, but Tommy > screws it up again)

Mikey already noted the new intro to Masquerade. I thought, as did Mikey - '...great - a new track...' but it wasnae. And yeah Tommy fluffed it a bit maybe, but it was still more together than at dublin or manchester.

> Lie Dream - (always great, but I'm beginning to tire of it) > Levitate - (MES stops it after about 10 seconds; "a bit faster this time, I > know its winter but fuckin' hell; 1-2-3-4" - gets better every time)

I was sure he said something like 'stop...play it faster...we're not fuckin' whitesnake...'. But if that's what he said, he pronounced it 'witsnake'.

By the way - what was that he said to Tommy at Jillys? Somethin' like 'ya fuckin' whitlow Tommae - WHITLOW!'. Whitnail? Whiplaw? 'Twas shouted in a fair effort at a scottish accent. Is there some guitarist with a name like Whitlow?

> Hurricane Edward - ('specially for konrad - good)

And then the drum and vox Mummy!

A classic fall moment. What other vocalist and drummer would you ever wish to see pull this stunt off? And what better track? Mummy captured the humour of the moment perfectly. And the thing was - it sounded bloody great! Karl thrashing away like the muppet drummer, Mark strutting about, grinning, ranting. For the first few seconds I thought '...ah - so maybe this one's a new track...', then I thought they'd done it deliberately (a la the a capella beach boys stuff). It was only Hanley's big bemused grin that made me cop it was that the power had been pulled.

This bit alone made the entire oxford trek worthwhile, 'specially when I had to miss the whippos.

But the thing that stood out for me, and the thing that has me holding this as a great gig, was the frequent and long periods of sheer faultlessness. And the sound was top. Ok so they fluffed a coupla bits, but I stood at the back for Levitate and Lie Dream, and was struck by just how perfectly balanced and authoritative it all was. A few of us are tiring of Lie Dream now (imagine!), but standing at the back and scrutinizing the delivery, I felt it could never have been better, even during the fall's mooted glorious bygone eras. Same with Hip Priest. Classic fall, no spent force here. Maybe you'd have to have been at the other gigs to appreciate this one, because some of the others had a wasted, tired feel to them. Not this one. I remember at one point being really caught up by one track, only to notice Gez gazing about looking bored, and I was incredulous.

No Alex, strangely 'cos I'm sure he said he'd be there. This means that the classic a capella rendition of Mummy prob'ly wasnae taped. 'Cept maybe a desk tape of course - wouldn't it be something if that turned up on a receiver comp?

Hey - thanks again Rich for the lift - the awake-dream memory of careering up the foggy M11, cocooned, drunk, half-asleep, listening to Leningrad Cowboys and Moscow State Choir will be an enduring image :-)

Hmm - wonder how long it would take to drive to stoke...



From: "Rafael Runco-Farrands"
Subject: Re: Oxford report

> > Julia beats Brix and Marcia hands-down in the "attractive female Fall > member" stakes. >

...and people at the front may have seen Julia smiling at me, right at the start, as she walked behind her keyboard -- except that I was rather rudely shouting at her whilst pointing at my watch because it was already 9:15 and it was obvious that the late start would inevitable result in an aborted ending... (we all knew that, come what may, the management would guillotine the gig at 10 pm; in the event, it went 10 minutes over).

However, the aborted ending was indeed one of the great FALL moments I've witnessed (the drum and vox rendition of I'M A MUMMY, as already reported).

I concur with those who think that, musically, it was not one of the greatest of FALL gigs -- even by the current tour's standards. But it was certainly vintage FALL! I seem to get much more out of them in small venues like this. Nevertheless, next week is the FORUM and I'm still looking forward to it.

I bought two nice CEREBRAL CAUSTIC t-shirts and a "97 TOUR" poster. I stole from the stage a computer-generated FALL STAGEPLAN (A4), showing the location of band members, instruments and equipment.

Nice again to see a good-size FallNet contingent.



From: Gerard Wood
Subject: Oxford tales

Wednesday night: no sleep.

Thursday: v. knackered at work, enthusiasm for work considerably less than that for beer and Fall gig. Nick off at 3.30pm, in Oxford by 5pm. Wander into New Inn at 5.30, no sign of FallNetters, save for a youngish chap sitting on his own. Doesn't seem to resemble Stuart's description of himself, so I take up me stool at the bar.

'Bout an hour later, Mel walks in, a delight of spangliness, straight over to mystery bloke who it turns out is Stu. The procession of Fallnetters + co follow - Neil & Jane, Stuart's mate Al, Mikey, Alan, Id, Rich, Michael + half a town, Konrad, and last of all, Ash (had a long way to come). Photos are taken, beers are supped, and having been told that the Fall are due on at 8.15pm, we head over to the Zodiac around then.

More beer supped. Meet up with Raf. Geoff Bennetts spotted by some. No sign of Fall. Getting very worried as it gets past 9pm, as I KNOW the Zodiac won't let any band go past 10pm. Allegedly MES has disappeared, so the band can't come on. 9.15pm, all members present and correct, and on they come, launching into "Pearl City". MES a bit late. Noticeable that there don't appear to be ANY monitor speakers, save for a couple at the side of the stage.

It seems from what others have said that the sound was fine for everyone apart from those of us leaning on the stage - Steve's bass was drowning out everyone else at times, especially at the start.

Plugged-in set highlights - a bit of an improvement on "Masquerade", "10 houses" great, but as Alan said, "Hip Priest" was absolutely superb. In awe of Steve's bass here. True comic timing from MES, retaking the stage to the "he's gonna make an appearance" line. Speaking of Alan....

At 11:51 am +0000 28/11/97, Alan McBride wrote:

>I remember at one point being really caught up by one track, only to > notice Gez gazing about looking bored, and I was incredulous.

Bored? Are you kidding? V. tired and pissed yes, certainly not bored. I was actually looking round to see if there was any life in the crowd, as it was very quiet at the front. Also trying to spot Geoff B, as Id had just told me that he was in the venue. But certainly NOT bored.

So plugs were pulled just after 10pm, confusing Tommy initially, but not MES and Karl, who pulled off a superb "Mummy". Steve grinned, Tommy got his backing vox in, Julia gave a superb performace of the "crap flappy hand mime on keyboard", and there was some bizarre movements from the front row of the crowd - what *were* we doing Stuart??!!! The hot potato at a Fall gig? Someone did ask what sort of dance you do at Fall gigs. Now you know.

And so the stark lights of the venue came on, and we all left, most to their cars for the trek home, some of us to the pub to complete the job of gettin' right royally plastered (but not before Mel's spangly calendar shot had been procured). Apologies to Stuart for probably talking complete bollocks in the New Inn revisited. Kicking out time, and no Oxford gig would be complete without the obligatory final bevvies in the Kari (on drin)King, a late night drinking hole which masquerades as a food house. Much blether into the early hours with Ash and a couple of local pop stars (!), and then the stagger home. Yawn.

A top FallNet night, and a gig to remember for the best version of Hip Priest I've heard at a gig and the amazing a capella ending. I'll try and and get an injection of vitality before the next gig, Alan...

Gez, needing a bed


From: Rich Kidd
Subject: oxford

Okay, first of all, the usual summaries:

AmC: the walls were black, everywhere
OBG: unseasonably warm, pockets of fog on the way. No rain
mel: stunning dress (as usual)

Met in the pub; good to see everyone as usual. When we arrived in the Zodiac it was half-full, but once everyone was sure of missing Foil it gradually filled up. The toy soldier t-shirts have gone, but they were selling Cerebral Shyte shirts instead, and little posters (L6 and L1, respectively, or L5 for both).

Long backing intro tape was a fairly dull ambient affair, but 'cos they took so long to get on it ran out and it was replaced with some free-form answering machine affair (as Alan suggested:....<beep>..Err this is Receiver Records, we've got this bit pile of shit, and we're gonna release it unless you get back to us..<click>). Crowd was obviously getting a bit restive as time passed, then the band to arrive at about 9, then MES about 10-past. And we waited...

Then they came on about 20 past, Julia grinning broadly as Raf caught her eye and tapped his watch. Songs then proceeded as detailed earlier.

Clothing - mostly black - no costume changes. MES' kegs looked clean, but ironed in the wrong places (else he should turn 'em inside out before washing). Tommy and MES both in purple shirts.

Although they arsed up a couple of songs, the sound was great from where I was - Karl's rock solid drumming and Steve's immense distorted Wall Of Sound left the vocals, keys and guitar were swirling about underneath. They're trying to do something else with Masquerade, but I'm not quite sure what. Similarly, they've modified Hurricane with a different drum beat, so it's now a lot better, reminds me of Coliseum a bit.

Tommy always looks slightly ill, but he's doing alright. After resetting his MES'sed-with amp a couple of times he had to put up with Mark's backhand playing for about 60 secs at one point. But then, in Lie Dream, he starts dancing, lifting his feet up and down like a clodhopping puppet - that's the most animated I've _ever_ seen anyone in The Fall!

But at 10, the manager starts hassling the roadie, and they cut the power a couple of seconds into the next song. Steve and Julia turn as if to give up, but Karl just hammers away with what sounds like a variant on the Oh Brother beat. Then MES starts singing, then Tommy, Steve and Julia start miming.....and it goes on, and on....Tommy sings the guitar riff...Steve and Julia look bewildered...but do the occasional rocker pose...MES, Tommy and Karl just carry on...the crowd just love it...MES sticks his mike up against Steve's strings. How long was it then - about 8 mins of this? Just brilliant, Karl's such a star.

So, Mummy made up for 'em not getting on stage earlier. Rest of the gig varied from brill to okay. Glad I went.


From: Alan McBride
Subject: Re: Oxford tales

what were we fuckin' like, by the way? a crowd of tossers in a pub with half the contingent snapping the other half on camera like some sort of fasion show. 'twas funny tho - mel doin' the glam thang, smurf being subjected to all manner of compromises.

DAVID: ...how many smurfs do you have then mikey?
MIKEY: oh 'bout 1100...
ALL: <exchange glances of incredulity>
MOI: cannae understan' these obsessive types, mesel'
ALL: sniggers as irony dawns :-)


From: Neil Saunders
Subject: Oxford gig

Well, previous posts pretty much covered it. I thought people might be slightly less positive, but glad to see you all enjoyed it. I had a great time myself, fuelled by sufficient Guiness and plenty of jumping around. Sorry not to see more of people later on.

Anyway-highlights for me: the amusing answerphone intro tape, one of the best (if not the best) live version of Hip Priest I've ever heard, complete with dramatic entrance and great roll on into M5 (always great), the stuff from Levitate sounding a lot better in general (happy to see Jungle Rock dropped), Masquerade improving but not quite there, 10 Houses splendid. I'm not quite tired of Lie Dream just yet. On the whole, pretty tight, band looking happy, MES together, very impressed with Tommy's growing confidence as a Fall member. Hurricane Edward a surprise success.

But of course-nothing beats that drum and vocal version of I'm a Mummy, one of the funniest and most entertaining Fall moments I've ever witnessed. Everyone joining in-Steve and Julia miming away with dappy grins, Tommy singing the guitar parts, MES improvising wonderfully (at one point singing "look what happens when I cut the power supply"). A shame about the officious, over-bearing Zodiac staff, but in a way, they gave us a fine moment to savour for a long time.

Neil, satisfied


From: "M.Flack -Michael Flack"
Subject: Oxford Zod

Glad to see that people seemed to enjoy themselves on Thursday. I thought it was a fine gig, certainly the best I've seen in recent years, and it will be a dreadful shame if there isn't a tape of it around somewhere. Fantastic intro tape, brilliant Hip Priest, and of course, Mummy. Bit of an oldies set though? Five songs from the new album.

It occurred to me while waiting for them to come on that the kind of thing that happened in Belfast (or Stoke) might be intended to produce the kind of thing we saw in Oxford. Not just the old thing of putting the fear of God into the band, but creating some tension with the audience, like there used to be in the working men's clubs (!) or at the punk gigs where people only wanted to hear three chord thrash from people with safety pins in their ears. Now you get the sense of anticipation and apprehension which comes from not knowing whether they'll play, whether he'll stay on stage etc etc. And if I'm not much mistaken, a certain aggression builds up among certain members of the audience (I'm talking to you Jake! ;-)).

Or he might just be taking the piss. Either way, it's easy for me to talk, I didn't go to Stoke.

Tommy was really giving it the rock star stuff in Lie Dream - I think he thought he was back in his bedroom in 1982 or something. Probably the real reason Smith shouted at him - and I heard "Can we try it twice as fast now? God, Tommy, you're not with it tonight, are you?"



From: env@ibison.co.uk
Subject: stoke

top night out ...

... container drivers, hip preist, lie dream

burns walk out during j.rock (mes messing with cymbals, kk storms off - songs continues withoyt him and he comes back)

weird arrangment of spinetrak (but good)

place smallish (thunk boardwalk decorated like the hacienda), and packed)

barely audible julia



From: "Stuart Antony Estell"
Subject: Stoke shambles

Whilst I agree that it was a top night out, it would have been a brilliant gig too if MES hadn't been being a twat. Set should have been (according to one of the two copies of Tommy's set I got hold of):

Spenser Jungle Levitate Idiot Joy Masquerade Containers 10 Houses Hip Priest Counter Spinetrack Pearl City Ol Gang

Encores were Counter and Lie Dream.

In the end it wasn't too far off, except... MES was on stage for no more than 5 (6?) songs all the way through, performing some from behind the stage door - very amusing for a while, but he was there for ages.

Jungle Rock should have been great - sound was almost perfect - but then he goes up to Tommy and just hits him, completely out of the blue. Tommy pushes him back. He then pulls the mic. out of Karl's bass drum and pushes a cymbal stand over. Karl says "right, that's it" and he's off. Good for him.

Tommy sends a roadie off to persuade Karl back on stage. End of Levitate and Mark's off; he then didn't come back on till 10 Houses. Big Alex kept trying to persuade me to "have a go," and I tried passing the buck to Gez, but that didn't work either. Throughout this the band were on really good form (though Karl had some serious problems with his other cymbal stand). I can't quite remember the rest of the order, but M5 cropped up (MES came back for this one as well - excellent, as was Pearl City), and Hip Priest was pretty great too.

But MES was shaky, not coordinating with his microphone at all, and seemed really hostile to all and sundry - some kid was leaning over the edge of the stage being the idolizing type, so Mark tried to stub his fag out on the back of his head.

Enjoyable in some ways, yes, but a crap gig really, and one with which none of the band seemed particularly happy (unsurprisingly). Karl was making "wanker" gestures as MES went off stage at one point, and although MES shook hands with the stage manager (?) at the end, I still wouldn't bet my last false tooth on the band being around much longer. And yet the encores were absolutely blinding. It's all far too confusing for me.


Steve Hanley was wandering about outside the Albion before the gig. On giving directions we received those immortal words "orrright, fook off" several times. All very jovial.

Big Alex says Craig's no longer doing music and that he went to see an Alice Cooper gig with him not so long ago. Apparently he's in good spirits.

Foil were shite and far, far too loud.

They didn't play Mummy, so squeaky toys went unused - the atmosphere was all wrong for that kind of arsing about anyway, and likewise the cutout Stve made an appearance in the pub but not the venue itself.

Decor, black.



From: Jake Atkinson
Subject: RE: stoke

>top night out ...

Shite night out. Smith can suck my c*ck in future, wanker.

>.. container drivers, hip preist, lie dream

First "containers" for how long and he isn't even on stage...

> burns walk out during j.rock (mes messing with cymbals, kk storms off >- songs continues withoyt him and he comes back)

I'd have shoved the fuckin' thing up his ass, sideways.

>weird arrangment of spinetrak (but good)

Agreed. One of the few 'enjoyable' parts.


I risked my job for this gig, leaving my duty for 2 hours to attend, and when Smith has such contempt for his band and fans it is, quite frankly, all over.

Jake, who left before the encore for the first time ever.


From: Konrad L Adams
Subject: Re: Stoke shambles

Idiot Joy & Ol Gang were instrumentals. Can't add anything more to what St Uart said. MES behaved like a tosser; KKB looked extremely pissed off; Tommy would make a good member of ACAS and Steve had the look of "seen it all before.

> But MES was shaky, not coordinating with his microphone at all, and > seemed really hostile to all and sundry - some kid was leaning > over the edge of the stage being the idolizing type, so Mark tried to > stub his fag out on the back of his head.

The kid deserved it. I thought it might have been JK as I'm sure he was about to give MES a BJ on a few occasions.

I thought at their best they were superb yesterday. But there were a number of low points too. My ears are still ringing - do those plugs work, Stuart?


From: Gerard Wood
Subject: Stokin' the fires

As Mel said,

"...we'll see you there for Stoke then eh Gez... he he"

and sure as eggs is eggs, I found myself making more apologies to the girlfriend in order to make another spirited dash up the M40/M6 c/o the excellent "Id's Chauffeur Service" (ICS), this time complete with tape of "Fall covers originals". Excellent, particularly as I hadn't heard the Monks before.

Arrived in Stoke around 6pm, without much clue as to the the whereabouts of the venue. Asked a few local types:

1) "No, I come from Suffolk".... 2) "Where? The Stage? Never 'eard of it"... 3) "The Stage? It's down some back alley somewhere".... 4) "The Stage? Er, it's left, then right, then left, then right, and straight on until...."

No.4 gets full marks for being a right arse. These instructions took us out of Hanley, so we took a quick trip round a roundabout and tried again. Immediately found the Albion by accident. Complete with car park. Turned out the No.4 was virtually standing on the corner of the street where the Stage was situated. S'pose he might have thought we were taking the piss...

So, after a spot of food, into the Albion for the usual meet'n'greet and obligatory photties. The roll-call, in order, was: Id, Gez, Stuart, Mel, Id's three mates from Shrewsbury (Simon, Dave and John was it? ;-0 ), Konrad and Paul plus non-listers Pete and Al (I think). In between all this Id & meself wandered down to the venue at around 7pm to claim/buy tickets. This was the point where God spoke to FallNet ("...alright, fuck off!"). Tommy and Karl also passed on the way to get food. Went into the venue - no-one on the door. Julia was setting up (well, having a fag watching stuff being set up). Eventually procured a ticket from the pub next door (which had the Foil boys had taken residence in).

9.20pm, and off we meandered to the gig. Met up with Alan McB inside, and also Big Alex and Retford Rob. Rob As usual, we were far too early, and had to suffer the whole Foil set for a second time. Ears ringing again. No fun.

10pm-ish: Neville the soundman disappears backstage with an additional bottle of whisky in his hand...

Fall group came on at around 10.20pm, I think, to the plinky-plonk of "Jap Kid", straight off the LP. Into "Spencer", which had MES hammering out plenty of additional lyrics, which I couldn't decipher but Alan seemed to think weren't too complimentary to FallNet. We're scum, apparently. Couldn't tell meself so I'll reserve judgement. MES with same jeans on as Oxford, complete with wasing marks. Alex had a slight altercation with security during this, who refused to let him record the gig.

"Jungle Rock" second up, and the fun begins. MES again on particularly good form vocally, seemingly very concentrated. Then he wanders over to Tommy - not quite sure what MES was trying to do, but I didn't see him actually hit Tommy (Stuart was a bit closer to it all though). Tommy pushed MES back anyhow, towards Karl's kit. The mic was removed from the bass drum and a cymbal stand moved out of position and finally thrown to the floor. Karl straight off his stool, and storms off-stage. Band carry on, and make a pretty good job of it, MES seeming not phased at all. Tommy sends the crew to try and appease Karl - he returns after a few minutes of drum-less "Rock" and brings it to a fine ending.

"Levitate" third, which was OK - again, the lyrics sounded different to the original, but MES seemed quite intense. At the end, MES disappears off stage - nowt strange there - but doesn't seen interested in coming back. "Idiot Joy" is completely instrumental, "Masquerade" (getting better every time) has a few lines delivered from backstage but is mainly instrumental (I think?), and then the next surprise - after a few worried stares between band members, Karl launches into "Container Drivers". A few lines of vocal are heard at the start, but it descends into instrumentalness again. Bit of restlessness at the front by this time - Alex trying to convince a few of us to "have a go" on Tommy's mic. Rob seemed quite keen, actually.

"10 Houses" next, and MES finally reappears, complete with new jumper (black or navy, I think). He seems pretty alert, but there's a lot of staring into the middle-distance, and some strange hand gestures/movements. Into "Hip Priest", and like in Oxford, MES crouches down, this time in front of Tommy's amps, for the first part before "making an appearance". MES didn't seem too sure of the words initially, and again there were some odd hand movements. Think MES disappeared again after this, as the band launched into "M5". After a *long* instrumental start, MES reappeared to finish the song off. Then it was "Spinetrak", "Pearl City" (MES off again) and finally "Ol' Gang", which was instrumental and very guitar driven - as terry said, Julia's keyboard was barely audible throughout.

So off went the band, lots of shrugs, nods and "hand gestures" from the band as they leave. Didn't really expect an encore after MES's somewhat bizarre performance, so was amazed when they all charged back on for "Behind The Counter". MES came on, fag in hand, and then immediately passed said cig to a guy in the front row (I don't think he was *trying* to stub it out in his hair, Stuart ;-) ). "Lie Dream" had a protracted ending, with MES back into full throttle, almost frenzied, you might say. When MES was on stage, he seemed really enthusiastic, in stark contrast to the long silences in between. Anyone's guess what MES had "eaten" for his dinner.

And that was it. Time approaching midnight, goodbye were said, and we all went home. A1 service from ICS, ta very much, glad I've renewed your enthusiasm for HMHB. See you all Friday, then...

God, they don't write reviews like this in the music papers (chorus of "Thank God" from the rest of FallNet).

Gez, signs of "gig-fatigue 'flu" encroaching


From: Alan McBride
Subject: RE: Stoke shambles

> >> But MES was shaky, not coordinating with his microphone at all, and >> seemed really hostile to all and sundry - some kid was leaning >> over the edge of the stage being the idolizing type, so Mark tried to >> stub his fag out on the back of his head. >

nope - he wasnae trying to stub it out on his head - he was proffering it to me (I was standing behind said kid), but I declined so he handed it to the guy standing beside aformentioned idolator.

and at this point in the gig, far from being hostile, he was hyper-enthused, grinning lots, reacting to heckles with grimaces and grins...


From: Jake Atkinson
RE: stoke

>what do you want him to do ?? stand there all night and tell jokes in >between ?? - i think it's the nature of a fall gig that you never >know what's going to happen ... you could go and see them play the >same songs in the same order at the same place two nights running and >it would be a compltely different gig - they're not eric clapton, >y'know ....

As someone who has been to nearly 50 Fall gigs in just over 10 years I don't think I need telling this, cheers pal. What I "want him to do" is what he did that made me get into them in the first place, be exciting, original inventive, professional, breathtaking, and *respectful* of his talent, band, and 'fans'.

> I risked my job for this gig, leaving my duty for 2 hours to attend, > and when Smith has such contempt for his band and fans it is, > quite frankly, all over. frankly, i think you're missing the point

I have never, in my many many years of Fall worship, believed that they would end, I couldn't imagine there being no more Fall. I'm 27 years old but last night was the last night of my childhood, innocence lost.

what does anyone else think about this ??? any more clapton fans out there ??



From: Alan McBride
Subject: RE: Stokin' the fires

>Fall group came on at around 10.20pm, I think, to the plinky-plonk of "Jap >Kid", straight off the LP. Into "Spencer", which had MES hammering out >plenty of additional lyrics, which I couldn't decipher but Alan seemed to >think weren't too complimentary to FallNet. We're scum, apparently. >Couldn't tell meself so I'll reserve judgement.

Mark was about as vitriolic and vicious in this rendition as I've ever seen him. He was ranting and railing against someone, and I enjoy the delusion that it was probably fallnet. Maybe us or Loaded magazine. Anyhow, lines such as '...they are BORONS....they disgust me....they are SCUM!' could be clearly heard.

>MES with same jeans on as >Oxford, complete with wasing marks. Alex had a slight altercation with >security during this, who refused to let him record the gig.

Yup - Neville spotted Alex's DAT recorder and had it confiscated. Alex held out the hope that the machine had been left running so we might yet have a recording. > >Karl >straight off his stool, and storms off-stage. Band carry on, and make a >pretty good job of it, MES seeming not phased at all.

>From where I stood (on the balcony about fifteen feet diagonally from smith) he looked pretty worried when Karl storned off - seemed to regret it pretty quickly. > >"Idiot Joy" is completely instrumental, "Masquerade" (getting better every >time) has a few lines delivered from backstage but is mainly instrumental >(I think?), and then the next surprise - after a few worried stares between >band members, Karl launches into "Container Drivers". A few lines of vocal >are heard at the start, but it descends into instrumentalness again.

Actually from where I stood you could hear that he did an entire vocal for both tracks, but towards the end the volume dropped so where you stood you probably couldn't hear it. But where I was it was clear as a bell, and container drivers was bloody brilliant. Mark cheerfully bellowed 'drum....solo....KARL.....DRUM....SOLO...KARL!' and Karl obliged grinning. Astounding to hear this track, especially so well delivered. Shame it wasnae so good where you stood. > >"10 Houses" next, and MES finally reappears, complete with new jumper >(black or navy, I think).

Yup - the navy one with metal zips on each side that he wore at dublin.

>He seems pretty alert, but there's a lot of >staring into the middle-distance, and some strange hand gestures/movements.

Yeah the hand jiving stuff was a scream. Wonder was he tripping. He was certainly popping something at the start but that was prob'ly just pep pills.

>"Lie Dream" had a protracted ending, with >MES back into full throttle, almost frenzied, you might say. When MES was >on stage, he seemed really enthusiastic, in stark contrast to the long >silences in between. Anyone's guess what MES had "eaten" for his dinner.

Yeah a few tracks were significantly extended - long instrumentals, repeated verses, improvs. And frenzied is a pretty fair description of some of smiffy's antics at the end. He really had worked himself up towards the end.


From: "Mel O'Reilly"
Subject: stoke

Er, well, um, I think the main problem was that my expectations were far too high after oxford, which was 'Grrreat' (and now, time for Jazz Club). < ObFastShowCon

Highlights were container drivers, lie dream, hip priest, spencer, me getting a setlist (will get someone to scan it), smith using my coat as an improptu mic stand, me nearly dozing off in the pub beforehand, me being intro'd to big alex's friend as 'mel from spencer' which is my standard intro now. the encores too (1 hr 20 minute set) lowlights were: losing my glove :-(, stuart losing his hat, the train back being delayed by 120 minutes (beating my previous record of 90 when i returned from cardiff), Smith fucking well being offstage for so sodding long after I paid 33 quid to get up there, the overzealous bouncers, MES looking so worryingly ill all the way through, foil (complete shit)

writing this out makes me realise that it was actually a pretty good gig, but there was no need for the storm/walk offs as far as I could see.

my setlist says (it's Tommy's):

Masq Pearl City Lie Dream Levitate 10 Houses Idiot Joy Mummy Spencer Pep M5 Hip Priest Ol Gang

bears no resemblance at all to what actually occured!

I'll probably be in attendance on friday, but cambridge is dubious at best. mel, agreeing slightly with jake and chucking her mes adoration in the bin. and burning the bin too. and stamping on the ashes. huh.


From: Alan McBride
Subject: FW: Stoke shambles

> >Never mind the bollox - another stunner of a gig. Ok maybe not their best >musically, and the antics became a bit much at times, but it was the fall at >their most unpredictable and entertaining best. As I said before, p'raps >you'd have had to be at dublin and manchester to appreciate the more >shambolic and chaotic stuff of the last two gigs. I was almost getting bored >after those two. But at both I've found myself reaslising afresh why I go to >fall gigs.

But then don't trust my taste - I even enjoyed some of Foil's set this time :-)

Actually I think a key reason why I enjoyed this more than most was that it seemed the rest of the fallnet contingent had found just about the worst place to stand from an accoustics point of view. I spent the first half of the gig on a balcony about five feet above people's heads and about 10 from the stage, just above a speaker. A bit too loud, so I had to use improv'ed earplugs, but the sound was really clear, smiffy's vocals perfectly audible. For the rest I stood stage right then stage centre, both times ending up right in front of mark. Stage right the distorted thunder of Steve's bass was overpowering, coming from a monitor at rear of stage.

>Set list, as reported, but p'raps not correct order; > Spencer (not-very-coded warning to fallnet) > Jungle Rock (karl departs half-way through) > Levitate (karl returns) > Idiot Joy (mark departs, instrumental rendition) > Masquerade (mark sings from behind side-stage door) > Containers (again sung from offstage - '...drum...solo..karl...') > 10 Houses > Hip Priest > Counter > Spinetrack > Pearl City > Ol Gang (disappointing) > Counter (encore) > Lie Dream (went on _forever_)

>For a while it didn't look like we were getting an encore. Mark had >dissappeared and Karl and Steve just gave up on the situation and left the >stage with angry and bemused looks respectively. Neville came out and >started turning stuff off. Very few shouts for encores. But then out they >came - Smith starting straight into the vocals to counter to drown out the >hecklers. I was very near to smiffy at this point so I bellowed '...so what >happened at empire then, mark?'. He glared at me, then proffered his B&H, >which I declined - no thanks mark - that won't attone for belfast. > What I liked about this gig was that Mark did more improv'ing than I've seen in a very long time. Lots of thoughtful pauses then he'd come out with something witty or just plain surreal.

The whole thing reminded me of 10 houses - he shattered the mood, getting aggressive with the band, then he re-constructed the gig again from scratch.

And hearing excellent renditions of lie dream and hip priest together with the hugely welcome resurrection of container drivers was just awesome.

Did anyone manage to catch Karl's drumsticks? He doesn't usually throw them to the audience, does he? Wonder if that was a signal that it was his last gig - that he'd had enough. Hope not.


From: "David I. Williams"
Subject: RE: stoke

If anyone is wondering why I've yet to express my views about Stoke, its because I'm still very confused about it. I think I enjoyed it - it certainly had some great moments - but it was painfully embarrassing at times, too.

One great moment I recall was when Hanley looked at his set-list to see what was next - realised it was a load of bollocks, screwed it up and threw it on the floor, laughing.

I had a good view of that Tommy/MES altercation early on. MES decides to wander to the back of the stage, but has to squeeze between Tommy and the drum riser. Tommy stepped to one side to let MES through. Mark fiddles about at the back for a few moments and as he begins to wander forward finds his way blocked by Tommy, concentrating hard on his guitar part, and oblivious to MES's presence. Mark deliberately barges into Tommy to cause maximum discomfort. Tommy is visibly narked. by the time he regains his balance, MES is a few more paces forward, heading back towards the mike. Tommy lurches forward and shoves MES in the back. MES retaliates half heartedly and harmlessly and continues on his way.

It was shortly after this that the cymbal standard was deliberately knocked flying by MES, sparking the Burns walkout.

Shortly after Burns returned, MES walks off after glancing at a set-list. Tommy, it seems is the only one with a reliable set-list - he tells them its Idiot Joy. Then the comedy moves to a new level. Mark is in the dressing room, just to the left of where I'm standing. Mark asks Neville the sound man to bring the Mike into the dressing room. But the cable won't reach. At maximum extension, the Mike reaches about six inches through the door at the side of the stage, so Mark is crouching on the ground, just behind the door.

Throughout Idiot Joy, the mike was within my view, while this farce was unfolding - so yes, Konrad, it was instrumental.

Lie Dream was absolutely stunning, MES with manic eyes staring menacingly into the audience throughout.

strange one.



From: Konrad L Adams
Subject: Re: Stoke Review

On Mon, 1 Dec 1997, Mark Goodacre wrote:

> And the crowd seemed very much more passive. No leaping
> around at all -- are all Fall fans getting old and arthritic?
> No-one seemed bother to cheer much either, or to applaud for an
> encore. I did, and felt a bit of an idiot. I couldn't quite pick
> up the mood. Was everyone thinking that it was a shambles and so not
> bothering? Or is it not the 'done thing' now?

The crowd were well into it in Oxford. That is when the twat of a bouncerwasn't stopping people from moshing. What a pranny! There's a few people enjoying themselves, not doing anyone else any harm and he wades in there to tell them to cut it out. Unsurprisingly the genreal direction of moshing tended towards this bouncer when he was stood at the side. God the attitude of the zodiac stinks.

Personally, I didn't really feel like it at Stoke for a number of reasons: No-one else seemed to be either, though one of Id's mates nearly got me going when his arms started to move a bit; the mood of the place was subdued due to the early farting around; the place was a bit small to "fully express oneself via the medium of dance".

I think I can best sum up the gig as follows. The horizontal axis represents time from the beginning of the gig; the vertical axis represents goodness of performance, with 1 denoting perfection and -1 denoting dreadful.

{err...this doesn't look like it's gonna work - RK

0.5 A A A A A A
+ A A A A AA A
+ AA A A A A A
+ A A A A A A
+ A A A A A A
| A AA A A A A
0 0 A A5 A 10 A A 15 AA
+ A AA A A A A
+ A A A A AA A
+ A A A A A A
-0.5 A AA A AA AA A


From: "Mark Goodacre"
Subject: Stoke Review

Here are some of my reflections.

I went to pick up our tickets from the Stage at about 8.15 and coudn't get the door open so banged it backwards and forwards a bit. Heard voices; the door opens and Mark E. Smith walks out, clearly towards the end of an argument with the doorman. "It's 8.15. Doors are supposed to be open. There are people standing out here, f***ing freezing." We had only been there about 30 seconds, and not at all cold, but it was a great thrill (for a saddo like me) to become an aspect (however small) of one of Mark Smith's arguments.

Exhilerated with our encounter, we had a drink in the Dew Drop -- lots of other Fall fans there talking loudly. Went back to the Stage at 9.30 and watched Foil. Nice to be given a badge and a sticker to give to our little daughter. Otherwise, not worth bothering with.

I liked the venue. Very small but somehow not too claustrophobic - a small square main area with a bar on the right hand side and some seats on the left, partly raised -- good for standing on if you are small (like my wife) -- she got a great view. Balcony up top -- probably a great view up there too. Photographer with a big lens.

Jap Kid made sense as an intro tape. Do they always use that now? Longish gap between the end of it and the beginning of Spencer.

Sound quality was good, except that the keyboards were mixed too low I thought - often couldn't hear much of them. Vocals excellent - I could hear very clearly. When he was actually singing, that is.

I quite enjoyed all the acting around - knocking the cymbal over, unplugging things, going on and off stage - adds to the drama. A bit worrying when Karl Burns left, though, halfway through Jungle Rock (just after the knocking over of the cymbal stand) -- seemed to be in a real strop. Did someone (tour manager?) have to persuade him back on? Also disappointing to have no vocals for Idiot Joy. MES sang Container Drivers from behind the door, propped open by the silver-haired tour manager -- really bizarre.

MES wearing a nice jumper when he came back after the long absence (for Masquerade + Idiot Joy, if I remember correctly). Only wore it for one song.

First encore was Behind the Counter -- pretty good -- especially MES beginning singing before the band had started up. He did the same with Jungle Rock.

M5: it sounded to me like MES sang 'suit of black leather' instead of 'suit of green' (or whatever it should be) and he seemed to look over to Tommy for that line (though I don't think he was wearing black leather, but a horrible shimmery satin-y black number).

This was the first time I had seen the Fall since Jan. 1994 (at the Venue in Oxford. Is that the same as 'the Zodiac', i.e. on the Cowley Road?) so it was very, very exciting for me. As John Peel would say, their very presence on stage was enough. However, I was struck by the contrast with the last time I saw them. Rhythmically they seemed much less tight than with Scanlon, Bush and Wolstencroft. I remember then hearing them rehearse without MES and it was terrific to listen to in its own right -- not so the instrumental versions last night. They seemed to have real trouble keeping together with the backing track and it sounded very shoddy on occasion.

And the crowd seemed very much more passive. No leaping around at all -- are all Fall fans getting old and arthritic? No-one seemed bother to cheer much either, or to applaud for an encore. I did, and felt a bit of an idiot. I couldn't quite pick up the mood. Was everyone thinking that it was a shambles and so not bothering? Or is it not the 'done thing' now?

Fantastic evening. I wish I could have it again. Seven hours' babysitting is expensive though.

Actually, a message has just come through with the header 'Stoke Shambles' so it looks like that must be the consensus. I must admit that it is not the kind of Fall gig I would have liked to have taken someone who had never been to a Fall gig before to.

If someone could forward me any reviews that came through during the night or this morning I would be v. grateful.

Out of curiousity, is one of you the chap with glasses who was at the front on the right who got done by the black security guy for (presumably) trying to get the set list from the keyboards?




From: IanGWilson
Subject: Leeds........Where's Julia????

Just returned from the Irish Centre......Fall played sans Julia (as far as I could see/hear)...........Back to a 4-piece!

Having said that, at least MES stayed onstage throughout. Karl and Steve were as tight as a ducks arse........Tommy played well...........Acoustics excellent as always at the Irish Centre.................More details to follow (when I wake up!!!)

.....Karl taking pics of Tommy/Steve afterwards as if...this is it!!!....



Subject: Fall Concert

Bass player held the set together Mark -E was a total pratt!! Where was the
key board player???? Music was 100% ie ;The people who wanted it got it!
But Mark didn't want to know!!!!!!!!! Why is the man ,one minute a genius
the next a total shit
Who knows???? Only Time will tell !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


From: Simon Christian
Subject: Leeds Review / Play List

It was a pretty enjoyable evening despite the cold, the food poisoning and the fucking split in the bottom of my beer glass. It was the first time I've seen The Fall since the Code : Selfish tour (Sheffield '92?). I thought Foil were terrible, 99.9% Nirvana, 0.1% Prolapse : they have a track on a forthcoming Kerrang cover CD. Need I say more.

About 10:20pm, Hanley, Burns and the guitarist walked to their positions and belted out Spencer - the bass sounding particularly nice. A minute or two in, MES appeared from the curtains to a reception of over the head hand clapping and cheers. It reminded me of a scene from the original of "The Phantom Of The Opera". He wore a tasteful green, shiny shirt, necklace, pale black jeans with the 'Steve Albini seat-sag'. He fiddled with his, and then the guitarist's mic, clutching a little black wallet (a magic mic distortion tool?) in his left hand. When he was happy, he blerted out a small fraction of the lyrics and walked around alot. He then took his mic off the stand and moved it to the back of the stage like a roadie i.e. it fell over.

MES was overall in good humour, apprearing mostly during Hip Priest, as he acted out the custom of changing lyrics to offend the locals; I picked out 'Yorkshire grease' and 'Yorkshire Guardian' out of the snarled mass of words which amused the audience and Smith himself. He even laughed, if somewhat briefly.

I was pleased to hear 'Lie Dream' but wished Smith would have kept to what he does best, (but maybe he was) as he decided to master the workings of the keyboard, and the song was largely instrumental with MES generated whooshh noises.

I'm A Mummy sounded lame and dearly missed an extra guitar - Smith was fully attentive though.

A member of the audience then requested 'Counter' and Smith replied, "Yeah, good idea, lets do that instead of Jungle Rock", he pointed at Hanley and they were away within the second.

He Pep was mechanical and Smith went on another wierd journey into world of fizz noises, and bubbles, leaving the guitarist screaming out HE PEP on cue, alone - I noticed samples of what appeared to be the Brix screams of He Pep. Maybe not? Smith at this point lit his first cigarette.

I just recognised 'Masquerade' with it being slower and the guitar chugging rather than ching chinging. Not a patch on the wonderful LP version. (See *)

The remainder of the 'two encore' tracks were played with energy but are 'Third Divsion' songs in my league of Fall. Maybe not Glam, but that song, like 'kin Idiot Joy have been played to death and I cursed them under my breath.

11:40 ish the throng embarked into the cold. And filled a bus - not knowing where it was going - which was apparent when the bus driver stopped, turned off his lights and said "This is it!". The hobgoblins dispersed into the cracks in the frost.

The Fall played :

Spencer Must Die Levitate Hurricane Edward Idiot Joy Showland Lie, Dream Of A Casino Soul Ten Houses Of Eve Oleano I'm A Mummy Behind The Counter Hip Priest He Pep

Masquerade Spinetrack

Glam Racket Pearl City

* Lyric-Ace Simon (me) has deciphered a crucial line in Masquerade,

"I'm looking forward to a bout in ring"

I am now going to bombard CogSin with my story board ideas for the video of Masquerade if it released as a single. The main theme is based around my lyric discovery; a send up of a high profile boxing match, starring MES and ??? (A masked mystery man?). It would be nice also, if ex- members would appear in the crowd cheering on his opposition. The crowd would also contain a large number of tinfoil head people. There would be pre-match, back stage coverage as well as MES walking up to the ring in style. Also 'rocky' style slow motion shots of sweat flying off Smith. There would also be unrelated shots of Smith walking down a shopping precinct and walking into a high street bank. Maybe the band would be playing in a Barclays.

Simon Christian


From: Daniel Blake
Subject: Leeds review

The Fall Live at The Irish Centre Leeds 01/12/97

Line up:

Mark E Smith - Vox and Keyboards ( w/ Chris B. Power vox on Glam Racket/Star) Tommy Crooks - Guitar Stephen Hanley - Bass and Keyboards Karl Burns - Drums

Soundcheck Spencer Idiot Lie Dream 10 Houses Hurricane M5 Counter Jungle Rock Hip Priest

Gig set list 1. Spencer Must Die 2. Idiot Joy Showland 3. Levitate 4. Lie Dream 5. 10 Houses of Eve 6. Hurricane 7. Oleano 8. Behind the Counter 9. I'm a Mummy 10. Hip Priest (SH arrangement) 11. He Pep! 12. Maqueraderie

------------------- Encores
13. Spinetrak 14. Glam Racket ------------------- 15. Pearl City/O'l gang.

This gig was one of the best Fall gigs I've seen in the last 5 years. Defiantly much tighter than Manchester a few weeks ago. But first the band news. It looks as if Julia has temporarily/permanently left the band. Her equipment (synth and guitar) were set up (guitar being taken off the stage 1/2 way through the gig). Synth duties went mostly to Smith, but Smith nudging Steve to have a go for Masquerade. Steve Hanley also took up front and middle stage to fill the gaps on the stage, at times coming forward to the front. Mark and Steve are co-operating but still not talking. Surprise of the evening was my companion Chris B. Power of Hull who Smith passed the mike to, he did an improvised version of Brix's lyrics to Glam Racket at the break, at the end Karl Burns went up to him shouting, "do you want a job? Do you want a job? That was fucking brilliant!"

Mark was in joyful spirits that evening - dancing at the side of the stage with the road manager (like in eat yourself fitter) to Masquerade, smiling, laughing and concentrating with the job. He made lots of references to the Jobcentre, the DHSS, and dole money as well as winding the Leeds crowd up by making up lyrics about Yorkshire in Oleano. He brought on his radio mike but it didn't work. Tommy's guitar playing is really coming on strong, the sound seems much cleaner than playing in tandem with Julia - but the PA system was spot on. The venue itself probably holds a max. of 1000 and was packed. The audience loved the Fall and, although the gig began gently, by Oleano things went wild. It'll be hard work to follow this at the Forum on friday.



From: env@ibison.co.uk
Subject: liverpool

Right - I dare you to say THAT was rubbish !

I think mess only left the stage twice (once during the first track and again later on)

nice set - inc. hurricane edward. burns on top form. seemed like the programmed stuff wasn't used ... karl started 10 houses and masquerade (i think)

plenty of MESsing with amps/microphones - ever wondered WHY he does it ? maybe he doesn't like the sound coming out of them ...

at one point, steve yanked mark's mike lead (i don't know if it was to distract him or stop him tripping over it) and then grinned at karl

nice protracted m5 to finish



From: "A.C. Marshall"
Subject: Liverpool gig report

Ooooh my head......

Well Gert - sad to say you missed a classic. This is the first time I've seen the band on this tour and I've got to say that I thought it was ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT. MES spent the whole gig on the stage - he came on about a minute into Spencer and even remained centre stage even during the long instrumental bits.

It was great sound with everything being audible -Julia's "toytown" keyboards were rasping away the whole time - no problem. Karl Burns eh? What a drummer! Him and the doc are such a solid unit - strikes me that Simon Wolstencroft leaving was a blessing in disguise.

Hilights for me were Oleano, Behind The Counter, Masquerade and the encore. I was really bowled over by Oleano - I never realised how good a track it is. The new Masquerade sounds every bit a classic - lets hope the single is a rerecoding of this version. Levitate also sounds much better than the LP version. I feel a bit of a chump but I couldn't suss out what the encore was - it sounded vaguely familiar with a chorous "5:30, 6 - 7pm" and was executed in classic Fall style - about 15mins of heads down riffola from Hanley and Burns with a fair amount of Fffpah- and Hup-ing from MES. (Can somebody put me out of my misery and tell me what the song was please.)

The sound was great throughout the gig - whenever somebody wasn't getting heard they got turned up - this meant that by the end of the gig the volume was awesomely loud with all the instruments growling and rasping away - just how it should be. I was also struck by how good it sounded when MES randomly bashed away at the keyboards - maybe I was just a bit pissed at this stage! Somebody even jumped upon stage towards the end and showed us all how not to dance.

Word from the mosh pit was that MES was constantly fiddling with Tommys amp and kept moving bits of Karl Burns' drum kit around - lots of smiles from the stage though.

Here is the set list (I think):

Spencer Must Die Idiot Joy Showland Levitate Lie, Dream Of A Casino Soul Ten Houses Of Eve Hip Priest Behind The Counter I'm A Mummy Oleano He Pep Masquerade


There was much interest in the upcoming Covers Tape and a heap of old ex-Liverpool indie band members promising to contribute. It was even suggested that Will Sergeant currently has a bit of spare time and would be keen to do a track.

Dr Adz (enthused)


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