Just in case you only check every week - there was a midweek special on 31 Mar
30 Mar Coney Island High, NYC - reviews below
31 Mar Coney Island High, NYC - reviews below
2 Apr Loop Lounge Passaic Park NJ - reviews below
3 Apr Middle East, Boston - reviews below
4 Apr Trocadero, Phila. - reviews below
5 Apr Black Cat, WDC
7 Apr Brownie's, NYC
8 Apr Brownie's, NYC
23 Apr Swindon (venue TBC)
27 Apr Camden Dingwalls
28 Apr Camden Dingwalls
30 Apr Reading Alleycat
Dingwalls - tickets £10 from over the bar, else from Stargreen 0171
Reading - Alleycat, Gun Street, Reading. Tel: 0118 956 1116. Tickets: 10/(9 members)
Smith on Smith
Spoken word CD from MES featuring self-penned short stories, lyrics,poetry, keyboard and sound effects. Will give fans a true persona insight.
Released on Artful 27 Apr
Live to Air in Melbourne Double CD, 'bonus' CD ltd to the first 1000
We think it's from Prince of Wales Hotel, Melbourne, 2 Aug 1982 which would give it the tracklist I Feel Voxish, Tempo House, Hard Life in Country, I'm Into C.B., Lie Dream of a Casino Soul, Solicitor in Studio, Marquis Cha-Cha, Room To Live, Hexen Definitive, Deer Park. CD2 - Totally Wired, Joker Hysterical Face, Hip Priest
Released on Cog Sinister 24 Apr
Also mentioned are reissues of Grotesque (specially mastered for CD w/new artwork; being advertised as a double!) out on Apr 6th, Cerebral Caustic, Infotainment Scan and Middle Class Revolt (last 3 specially mastered for CD).......
Right, this is the official line on the Smile compilation:
"It's been a matter of growing concern to The Fall, and fans of the band, that 'compilations' of Fall material have been released on a 'flood the market' type basis. Some of these recordings have prompted complaints from fans on various issues, such as: ill conceived track listings, regurgitating tracks that are already unavailable (some of them on other Receiver compilations), and all manner of matters of dissatisfaction. Note*...Under the Trades Description Act, consumers have the right to complain to the Trading Standards Officer about goods sold "unfit for the purpose" or of "consistent short measure".
Therefore any fans who feel they have been 'swizzed' by any compilation they may have purchased should contact the Trading Standards Officer and register a strong letter of complaint. Alternatively forward your grievances to TBLY or the website, and we'll package all your complaints together and pass them on to the TSO. The phone number of the Trading Standards Officer in Manchester is: 0161 226 8283 Feel free to bombard us with your grievances regarding this matter ASAP!
TBLY c/o Rob Waite, 19 Wellington Street, Retford, Notts DN22 6PR or mail firstname.lastname@example.org"
MES requested that we take this approach to begin with - more direct action to follow. Don't worry abut the language used, I'll sort it out from my usual abusive mail and we'll amalgamate it all with Rob's stuff.
CIH 30 April (cont)
From: Peter Messiaen
In retrospect, it seems to me that the Fall Groop we saw last night was sloppy and unfocused, althought they were trying really...really hard to get through the show without any disasters. As I mentioned in my last post, Mark was docile and even ....perhaps..... repentant(?!)
It would certainly explain the black eye.....
They could have done with a better live mix. I thought Karl's drums weren't loud enough and the atrocious Tommy Crookes was much MUCH too loud.............
From: Martin Wheatley
Rocktropolis allstar daily music news:
March 31, 1998
THE FALL DELIVER SPIRITED SET AT FIRST U.S. GIG IN FOUR YEARS
There is probably no other band from British punk's first wave that has managed to stay together as long and remain as vital as Manchester's the Fall.
Since their 1979 debut, Live at the Witch Trials, the band has managed to record a new album every 11 months or so, most of which have been worth owning. And through myriad lineup changes that rivals only the cast of Melrose Place, it has been frontman Mark E. Smith's caustic lyrics and unique, instantly recognizable (if unintelligible) delivery that has made the Fall one of the most influential groups of the last 20 years.
So it was with much expectation that the Fall played their first U.S. show in over four years, Monday (March 30) night at New York City's Coney Island High. Fall shows are a crapshoot, usually depending on Smith's mood and degree of intoxication. When the band has it together, it's a wonderful thing. Sometimes, though, it can be a shambolic mess, with Smith berating the crowd, if not the rest of the band (before a show in Belfast, Ireland last December, a very drunk Smith fired the whole band, only to take them back a week later).
There were no firings at the sold-out Coney Island High show, though there might have been a fight at some point prior to the gig -- Smith sported a black eye as he walked onstage to enormous cheers. The band was not at its tightest, but Smith seemed to be in reasonably good spirits (take that any way you like). It was not without its odd, uncomfortable moments, though. At one point (about four songs into the show), he stopped a song, conferred with the band, and said to the audience, "Right. Back in 10 minutes." The crowd murmured but held fast. Luckily, he kept his word.
Many in attendance seemed a little lost, as the set list mainly featured songs from the band's latest (and 22nd) album, Levitate, that has yet to be released in this country (same goes for its two previous albums, Cerebral Caustic and The Light User Syndrome). Some of the songs even appeared to be newer than that, with even the most diehard fans looking befuddled.
And what oldies they did pull out eschewed the band's poppy, mid-'80s material in favor of more dissonant numbers such as "Hip Priest" and "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul." Despite this, the crowd of sweaty, rabid fans didn't seem to care. They were just pleased to have their old favorites back on these shores.
CIH 31 April
From: Peter Messiaen
Subject: Day 2 - Fall @ CIH
Totally fucking excellent.
Almost as if the Fall had exorcised the demons of lameness that possessed them last night......
The mix was ironed out and tweaked to near perfection.
Tommy Crookes made an attempt at playing in time without drowning everyone else out.
Julia had her keyboard settings almost perfect.
Hanley was brillant as usual, but played with even more power and swing. and the same goes for Burns.
And Mr. Mark E. Smith was ON.....as in fucking like:
On hand were FF's Brent, Bivins, Oliver Jenkinson and Stefan Cooke.
We met at the International again and after a few hours of pleasant imbibing walked over to Coney Island High hoping for the best.
Everyone agreed it was a much much better show and it went a long way in reaffirming my belief in the band.
--I'm a Mummy
--Behind the Counter
Oleano, Pearl City, Chisllers and He Pep sounded stomping and righteous. Hanley attaining an iron grip of rhythmic virtousity and MES great heights of wry and intense vocal delivery and I would say I preferred these to the studio versions.
Of note were the exchange between Mark and Tommy in Chisllers, as well as the introduction to Jungle Rock wherein whislt Tommy was flailing about hopelessly on his guitar, Mark went up to him and put his hand around the neck of the guitar so that Tommy could not play.........and fuck up the song.
Anyway did I mention that the show was a definite corker.....stomper and a delight to behold......
One downnote is that the band didn't hit the stage until after 1:00 am. We never did find out what the delay was about, but it was pretty unpleasant standing about in the middle of a sold out crowd for what seemed like an eternity. Good thing Biv was around to explain to me the acoustic properties of Sine waves. Brent and Stefan also provided much good cheer during the delay. Oliver went off to find his excellent secret spot off to the side of the stage somewhere....
From: Stefan Cooke
Subject: Coney Island
Just got back from New York City and my frazzled brain tells me to sleep before class tonight, but my conscience insists that I jot down some recollections about the completely fantastic time I had yesterday and the day before....
Most important of all is my wish to echo what Gert said about meeting fellow Fallnetters--you guys are the best!! I had such a great time hanging out with Brent, Peter (not as scary as Peter Lorre), Biv, Oliver, Gert, Sol, Mike and co.
Monday: After much drinking and yakking in the back patio area of the International (watch those wobbly tables Stefan) we walk up St. Marks Place to the club at around 10 pm. Show is sold out but the small room is half full at this early hour. The Botswanas are playing for a completely uninterested audience and the lead female singer is vocal in her anger about their apathy. The sound is loud but clear, I retreat to the back of the club to talk with Biv and his lovely girlfriend and get my DAT gear pieced together. The saintly Mr. Gert buys me a beer. At about 11 the Bush Tetras crank up the volume as the room becomes increasingly packed and sweaty. I remember this band vaguely from their Too Many Creeps era but tonight they don't do anything for me--the songs merge into each other in a unmemorable way. However, I try to edge my way towards the front to get a decent view of the next act.
The band finally takes the stage at ca. 12:30, lurch into Spencer while the audience calls for MES, who appears on cue, sporting a left black eye and a slightly inebriated air. Next up 10 Houses, Hip Priest (to the delight of the older audience members), Masquerade, and (the first live rendition of?) Ivanhoes Two Pence. Then two more new tracks in a row--Scareball and Calendar--Calendar gets an extended instrumental intro with some great jamming by God and gurning by Karl before Mark reappears. Then a few seconds of Levitate before Mark calls a halt, "we'll be back in 10 minutes." 2-3 minutes later they're back with a storming Lie Dream, crowd becomes its most animated. Gale Force Free Range, I'm a Mummy, Inch and Ol' Gang (vox by Tommy for first half). Two encores, first a massive Powderkeg, second has Counter and an extra long Oleana. Set time 90 minutes. On recollection and in comparison with the next night's show, I agree that the band was not always tight and that Mark was not 100% into the show, and I'm afraid Tommy is definitely the weakest link.
Next night I'm walking down St. Marks Place past the club en route to the meet up at the International, and just as I pass CIH Mark and Julia emerge and head back up the street. Mark looks in a good mood--laughing and almost sauntering--very cool and fits right into the Village ambiance. I follow at a distance, trying to get up the nerve to say hello.... They stop at a payphone where Julia makes a call while Mark studies a store window display. Brent appears out of nowhere and I point them out, and we both debate whether we should see if they want a drink. But we decide to leave them alone (especially since Brent knows the scoop about the black eye). Brent and I head for the International for a few beers with Peter and Oliver before heading back to the club at about 11 pm, just in time for another unmemorable set by Bush Tetras (but as Peter will agree, the bass player is not hard to look at.) Tonight most of the Fallnet contingent are only a few feet away from center stage. After a l o n g wait the Fall come on at 1:15 am, way past my bedtime. Mark is at his vitriolic finest tonight, the band is tight (even Tommy has improved overnight). Spencer, Masquerade, Levitate, Hip Priest, 10 Houses, Oleana, Lie Dream, a great Pearl City, Chiselers, Mummy, Calendar (no extended intro this time), then Jungle, where Mark manhandles the guitar and Tommy gets riled. The song lurches to a halt, Karl storms off, Steve throws the bass down and does the same, we're left with Julia's DAT playing a squonky keyboard mix of Spencer before the band finally return for an encore--Pep and a blinding Counter. I thought they'd play another encore but after much applause the stage hand begins to dismantle the drums. Set time 75 minutes. It's after 2:30, time for another drink with Brent, Peter and Oliver at the International before cabbing it uptown.
Thanks to the great sound system at Coney Island and decent vantage points my DAT recordings came out just great. I'll be spinning copies for the attendees and I'm sure they'll get circulated more widely soon enough.
I wish I could see the Philly gig with the rest of you, but I'll have to make do with Friday night's Middle East. I think the shows are going to get better as the tour progresses so Philly should be a treat.
Subject: A Tale of Two Minds
With respect to Monday night's Coney Island High gig, earlier this week we heard Peter M say:
> I wish the Fall had been as focused and dead-on
...observing the same gig, I stated that
>I thought it was a great gig.
...while Peter went on to note that
> it seems to me that the Fall Groop we saw last night was
> sloppy and unfocused,
whereas I thought that they were
> Really full sounding, the Fall clicking on all cylinders
and in comparison to previous years, Peter thinks
> and while I don't think it was the best Fall show
> I've ever seen (That would be Tramps '94
while I observed that
> The band I saw
> tonight far surpassed the hideous replica that was the
> Fall in NY in 1994,
How to explain this discrepancy?
> Gert buying me a drink
> So forget it Peter - you're flagged. No drinkys for you in Philly my boy-o.
gert that it is well documented
Subject: NY Times Review of 3/31
April 2, 1998
Hear a Sound of a Serpent? Then This Must Be the Fall
By ANN POWERS
Mark E. Smith, leader of the Fall, stalked up to the microphone at Coney Island High on Tuesday night and hissed. "S-s-s-s," he erupted. With that gesture he also announced to the sweaty room of loyal followers that the element they treasure most in him, his abrasiveness, remained intact.
A British punk-rock titan and winner of The New Music Express's Godlike Genius award for 1998, Mr. Smith has long worked against the grain. Unmusical by any traditional standard, he developed a vocal style that synthesizes a wide range of intrusive speech acts: one moment he seems like a rabble rouser standing on a box in Hyde Park, the next a heretical preacher, the next the crazy neighbor who stands in his yard and shouts to himself.
His hard-to-decipher lyrics are fragmented rants against church and state, or glimpses of modern alienation from the suburban backyard to the violent football stadium. "This town is a powder keg!" he yelled over the din of his band, his pronouncement half warning and half victory cry.
Mr. Smith would surely win any poetry-slam open mike night he dropped in on, but his utterances gain their power in combination with the Fall's music. The group's sound, as well as its membership, has mutated over the course of 30 albums: harsh at first, it eventually became poppier, then reverted to aggressive experimentalism. Currently, the keyboardist, Julia Nagle, lends ambient and techno-dance elements to the sturdy minimalist punk of the original rhythm section, Simon Hanley and Karl Burns.
On Tuesday, the band achieved a union of corrosive clamor and seductive beats that occasionally proved irresistible. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith seemed intent on defying it. He frequently stopped his vocals midstream, left the stage or plunked at Ms. Nagle's keyboard with his back to the audience. These flickers of despotism would have been charming if Mr. Smith had been more focused. When he did step up to the microphone and act as if he cared, this version of the Fall proved dynamic. Too often, though, Mr. Smith reduced himself to just another source of unnecessary noise.
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Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
From: Eliot Van Buskirk
Subject: Sonicnet Gig Review
SonicNet Daily Music News Reports: NEW YORK -- Mark E. Smith, sporting what looked to be a genuine, old-fashioned shiner on one eye, sullenly planted himself front- and center- stage at Coney Island High on Monday night.
The singer for the arty, British post-punk rockers the Fall, Smith then proceeded to chew gum, pick his nose and deliver a 90-minute mix of the band's old and new material, including a 20-minute rendition of "Hip Priest," without so much as changing his facial expression. It was as if he felt that to be the extent of his duty.
Although he is the leader of a band that seems to specialize in irony, Smith was a little less sardonic and a little more catatonic than one might have hoped as he fronted the Fall's performance on Monday night. Regardless of Smith's demeanor, the sold-out crowd's attention never faltered throughout the set.
Smith's normally near-intelligible vocal style mutated into a mumble reminiscent of the late, profane Beat Generation writer William Burroughs. There were extra syllables added at the end of words (as in "totally wired-eh" or "curious orange- eh"), augmented by a host of other odd sounds that might have been an arcane language.
Most of the audience -- looking old enough to have lived through punk's first wave in the '70s, the era out of which the Fall rose to some acclaim with albums such as Live at the Witch Trials and Grotesque (After the Gramme) -- absorbed the show in rapt silence as if they were satisfied by being in mere proximity to one of rock's most prolific and intelligent practitioners.
However, a handful of fans made their dissenting opinions known.
One of the few women in the audience summed up Smith's attitude as "I'm better than you with both brains tied behind my back." And in one break between songs, a distraught fan yelled, "Get your shit together, you fucking suck-asses!"
This is not to say that the show was devoid of emotional high points. "Hip Priest" seemed to spark some energy in Smith and the crowd, making people actually want to move a little for a few minutes. At times, it felt like an '80s flashback. A drum-machine track was occasionally audible alongside the live drums. Keyboard strains worthy of Duran Duran wove their way around the Fall's quirky, chunky rhythms.
But, at about the 45-minute mark, as if to squelch any momentum he had inadvertently gathered, Smith announced that the band would be back after a short break. The patrons faithfully stayed put, and the band returned after just about 90 seconds. Several fans observed that it was plenty of time for Smith to have fired his long-suffering band and then rehire them.
However, Smith managed to find some energy again with "Free Range," which, at least, got the crowd to bob their heads to the beat.
As the Fall's set blew right on past 1 a.m. without slowing down, Coney Island High remained packed. A mere trickle of thirtysomethings reluctantly headed for the door to get some sleep before the next day's work.
It's no mean feat to sell out a show and keep an audience enraptured for an hour and a half when, to all appearances, no one is actually having any fun.
On the other hand, as one concert-goer remarked, "The band might actually be having fun. Remember -- they're British."
From: Peter Messiaen
Subject: Re: A Tale of Two Minds (CIH upon further scrutiny)
Gosh......Gert if you thought that show was "great", you should've been there the 2nd night , your head would've exploded.
But alas, just for the record, I was really close to the stage (Day 1) and upon conferring with Stefan the second night, he pointed out that the sound was much better further back where the PA could smooth out the godawful wash of Tommy's guitar playing. Even without that though, Mark appeared lackluster and docile. There was no impetus in his delivery....or spark. I don't think anyone expects lackluster docility from Mr. Smith. Do we ?!
It's not like you can blame him or the band that much for the first night's performance. Christ.... if I was jetlagged and my girlfriend had banged me on the head with a piece of equipment, I'd be pretty repentant and docile as well.......
As I stated Hanley and Burns were solid........but the next night they weren't just solid they were SPECTACULAR.......so much so that I have a new understanding of the songs.....even the ones that have lost their attraction for me on the albums had a new quality to them.........I heard them in a different way....I heard what Hanley hears and it is a grand thing.......I wish I could convey in words the brillance of what Hanley is doing on Counter when he played it the 2nd Night. It wasn't just a pop song (as it sounds on MCR) it was a revelation. (cf. Day 2 Fall @ CIH : Stephan Hanley's Iron Grip of Virtuosity ). What we have in Hanley is something akin to a master at the very forefront of his craft and it's totally breathtaking. So imagine the contrast there: Crookes/Hanley......we have a bad guitar player who's not even an INTERESTING bad guitar player puking crappy brusts of idiocy all over and drowning Hanley out. It really says a lot for the saint-like disposition of Hanley that he is as nurturing of Tommy as he is........but he and Smith see the big picture...... Anyway as long as Crookes makes an attempt at playing on time and staying out of the way he's fine........he might turn out to prove to be just as great as Scanlon in the long run who knows..........but he's got he's work cut out for him.....anyway I digress.
2nd night Mark was right there as well (In the Zone) delivering the words with the right attitude and that certain intangible um.......MES-ness.......and I was (we all were) even closer to the stage........with a band like the Fall it's not what you do but the way that you do it and the areas they're dealing with are sometimes pretty fragile.........
>...while Peter went on to note that > > >> it seems to me that the Fall Groop we saw last night was >> sloppy and unfocused, >> >whereas I thought that they were > > >> Really full sounding, the Fall clicking on all cylinders >> >
Nope......like I said Tommy was atrocious, Julia was unfocused and Mark was going through the motions.
> > and in comparison to previous years, Peter thinks > > >> and while I don't think it was the best Fall show >> I've ever seen (That would be Tramps '94 >> > >while I observed that > > >> The band I saw >> tonight far surpassed the hideous replica that was the >> Fall in NY in 1994, >> >
Sorry, I should've been more precise here. The thing that made that show for me was the mesmerizing rendition of New Big Prinz. Hypnotic frenzy it was.......a cathartic unforgettable moment.
Rest of the show was passable.....bland etc.
From: Gary Jorda
Subject: Independent review of the Fall in NYC, from 3 April issue
Heading for a Fall
So what'll we do when he's dead, Mark E Smith? All those ciggies, all those cans in the park, and who knows what he eats - he can't be healthy. Seeing his ruined, gurning face in the flesh is a reminder of how much England will miss her greatest pop lyricist when he checks out.
On an east village stage not big enough to swing a cat, let alone a microphone stand, The Fall have just kicked off their first American tour for two years. After the support act, the crowd of about 250 suffered an unexpected half hour of tedious drum and bass recordings. Tension grew - had he sacked the band, as he did in Northern Ireland last year? Had he locked himself away in some Bowery hotel? Eventually the band crept on at 1am, Smith sporting a black eye, or possibly a large sty.
Despite these omens, this was a professional performance, unlike some of shambles (sic) of the early nineties. Although he took a few minutes during "Spencer Must Die" (from the last CD Levitate) to find his balance, by the time they got to the slow-motion pop of "Masquerade" they were quite a unit. The Fall classic "Hip Priest" came disguised at 33rpm and with a new, ugly melody which made it sound like one of Talk Talk's experiments (the downside of the Can connection?), but this is what you pay for. From his vast repertoire of songs (27 albums and counting) Smith is allowed to choose a mixture of whatever he can remember. Not that diehard fans are easily baffled - in a disturbing development, some have started to applaud the opening bars of re-worked songs, like jazz hipsters. "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul" - another Fall standard - was tight and chunky. Smith had either got the sound right, or there was little in the way of knobs and switches to fiddle with.
Surprisingly, he stayed on stage for most of the show - possibly because there were no speaker stacks to hide behind, and the backstage area was the size of a closet. Mostly it was a restrained performance, the most energetic rants being saved for "The Chiselers" and the encore, "Behind The Counter", a song about poor service. As far as service went, it's been a lot worse. But The Fall might not be around forever. "I'll be back soon," said Smith as he departed. "Get a job as a stage hand." England without him is unthinkable, but we might as well start preparing>
Subject: Rolling Stone review
Picture caption: The Fall's Mark E Smith - He looks like shite
THE FALL Coney Island High, New York, March 31, 1998
Not long ago, Fall frontman Mark E. Smith was awarded the Godlike Genius Award for Services to Music by the British music weekly New Musical Express. So what does a musical genius look like? Judging from Smith's appearance when he finally took the stage on the second night of the Fall's current eight-night U.S. tour (their first in four years) musical geniuses have freshly blackened eyes, sallow faces with mouths permanently sucking cigarettes and may or may not be drunk. In short, Smith looked like shite. But music isn't a beauty contest, and like Iggy Pop at the height of his drugged-out period, or any other artist who's been willing to push himself almost over the edge and report back to us what the view is like, Smith has earned the right to look like crap.
In the States to promote their latest of more than 20 albums, Levitate (which is to be released here April 7 on Artful records), the Fall, as is their wont, stuck mainly to new material. Just pleased to be seeing Smith in the flesh, the rowdy crowd of die-hard fans didn't seem to mind. It helps, too, that the group's current lineup (according to one Internet "bandmemberography" this is the 23rd incarnation of the Fall since late 1976) is one of its strongest. Affixing a ready-made tag to any of the Fall's music is nearly impossible, but a pattern did emerge. Longtime bassist Steve Hanley (he first joined the band in 1979) and drummer Karl Burns held down a shambling, danceable beat while guitarist Tommy Crooks cranked out dirty power chord riffs. Texture was provided by keyboard player/programmer Julia Nagle, who threw in a jungle breakbeat on a new, appropriately-titled number called "Jungle Rock" and elsewhere added synth washes. On top of it all, the inimitable Smith muttered his usual caustic tales of dread in his trademark slurred rap.
Seeing them live it's easy to see why the Fall have remained one of the most
consistently vital acts in rock in the last twenty-five years. Sporadic
commercial success has meant that Smith can concentrate on making experimental
music, and his ear for new sounds (he was an early proponent of today's
electronic music) plus his uniquely intense engagement with the world ensure
that his art will always have an audience. Whatever he does, it's interesting.
How many other rock musicians can you say that about? Famous for berating
both his band and his audience while playing live, this show went off without
a hitch (the previous night's audience, however, was treated to an impromptu
10-minute break just a few songs into the set). The absence of bizarre,
embarassing or awkward moments made sure the focus stayed on the music, which
Mark E. Smith will no doubt be concocting for 22 more genius-filled years.
Loop Lounge 2 April
From: Older Brother Gert
Subject: fall in passaic
This one had everything: the good, the bad, the ugly.
Approximately a one hour set. Loads of antics by Smith, leading to an abbreviated show. Walk-offs and near fisticuffs. The band (Burns/Hanley/Julia/Tommy) were in great form but Smith was a complete and utter pranny by the end of it.
I'll post more details after sleep; sorry to leave you hanging. When they played together they were excellent. They just weren't together all that long. I'll post the set list too.
High point: meeting Steve Hanley (top bloke, as has been said) and Julia. We virtually sat on the stage. Tiny tiny venue - a local neighborhood bar describes it better. Low point: Smith, so called dangerous.
have to agree with the aformentioned review,
tiny venue, but great place to see the fall nonetheless,
band walked on around 12:50 am sans MES opened with an instramental version of Spencer Must Die, go into Masquarade -- halfway through one of the bouncers escorts MES from the room behind the stage, Good Evening We Are The FAll and continues on with Masquerade, followed by a great Lie Dream and Hip Priest. Hanley and Burns seemed locked together throughout, MES seemed completely drunk stumbling around stage, messing with the microphone equipment. at one point he apparently asked the audience what their favorite song was.
Things seemed to be going pretty well until Tommy (that is Tommy right, i've lost track at this point) broke his E string, and called to the side of the stage that he needed another E string or if anyone had a spare guitar, this sent the woman from bush tetras (who happened to be sitting in front of me) for her guitar, guitars where exchanged while the band was going through ten houses, when he plugged back in didnt quite sound right, the bush tetras folks were fiddling around behind Tommy's amp and MES walked over and in a seemingly heated discussion was telling them to leave.
at one point the band runs through levitate while MES stands there, eventually he walks over to julia and they walk off stage and sulk in the corner, someone grabs the microphone and says "get back on the stage, we see you over there" -- band then takes a break and comes back on stage, Mark comes on for all of about two minutes of he pep, looks like a fistfight is going to break out between him and Tommy, and then walks off stage again, they finish he pep, and im a mummy with Tommy on vocals.
this is most of what i remember, i havent had enough sleep, im sure gert can correct me or any details i've missed, laregly a night of instramentals, i taped the show if anyone is interested, i sure hope Philly is going to be better than this, its a somewhat long drive -- if anyone needs a ride (i could fit two other people) im leaving around five or six.
From: Older Brother Gert
Subject: Mr. Smith Goes To Passaic
As Fall gigs go this one was certainly unique.
Last nacht I drove over to Sol's house and we jumped in his car for what
turned out to be a short ride to Passaic. About 5 minutes to the Garden State Parkway and up the Parkway to Passaic, about 35 mins total. We'd have been fools to miss this since it turned out to be so close to home. Listened to some Peel sessions (incl. Jawbone/New Puritan/ Container Drivers one) to get ready.
Found the Loop Lounge in Passaic with no trouble at all. The Loop Lounge is essentially a glorified corner bar in a residential neighbourhood. "Nightclub" is overdressing; this was just a local bar. Right across the street are row houses. We pay our $10, get our hand stamped, and go in. It's about 9:30. No printed ticket, just a hand stamp. People were being turned away who had just shown up to drink: "What do you mean, a ten dollar cover charge? Who? Who are the Fall? etc.
The LL is 2 rooms; a front bar that holds about 14 people (!) around it and a guy playing records (LPs) - some good choices too as I recall. We meet Nottingham Neil (cheers!) who is working the t shirt concession.
We go into the back room where the band will play. There is a giant aquarium (at least 55 gals) over this bar. The stage is a mere 10-15 feet from the bar. Intimate? Tiny. We down several bevvies (Bass ale and Bushmills for me) and wait through the Bush Tetras again. Sound was very good. This place even served Sol Beer. Weird. Smallest stage I've ever seen the Fall play on.
Sol and I find seats adjacent to the stage right, on a wide ledge. I'm so close to the stage my right foot is resting on it, and I can touch Julia's Roland anytime at all during the gig. Burns, Hanley and Julia are milling about on the stage. Sol and I go over to Hanley and introduce ourselves, shake hands, tell him we're from Fallnet, and wish him a good gig. Brief chat w. Julia, telling her what big fans we are and can we shine her shoes or take out the trash for her and what not. She's amused; no sign of a cut out anything though.
At ten to one they (now joined by Tommy) launch into Spenser. What a thrill seeing them this close. I was 2-3 feet from Julia, and about 6 feet from god himself. Spenser finishes and they band launches into Masquerade. No sign of Smith. Hanley and Tommy are looking around the room for him but keep playing. Several long minutes into it Smith climbs the stage and joins in. This version goes on and on - perhaps up to 10 minutes or more. Following Masquerade is a terrific Lie Dream. Smith is (so far) well behaved. The band (minus Smith) seem very tight. Sound is excellent now. After LD comes Hip Priest. Smith removes the mic from its stand, and knocks the stand off the stage. Someone from the crowd picks it up and rights it - Smith takes it and offers it to another audience member "as a gift" he says. Hilarious. Things are looking really good I remember thinking.
During HP, MES starks fucking about with Tommy's mic - moving it away from Tommy. Everytime Smith goes to move Tommy's mic stand you expect an accident, the stage was so small it looked like someone would fall right over it. Perhaps the intention. After HP, Smith asks that the lights be turned down, to no avail. Apparently the message isn';t getting across so someone from the crowd yells 'turn down the lights!' Smith: (laughing) "you are correct!" Band now turns and heads into 10 Houses of Eve. Still sounding very good, but things are starting to become unglued. Smith is more and more distracted by things around him (mics, amps, Tommy) and you can just see things unravelling. I notice the bass player from the Bush Tetras (right - not hard to look at) is acting as tommy's guitar tech: bringing him a freshly tuned guitar, gazing admiringly at Tommy as he plays guitar hero. Interesting side bar. Anyway Smith is now amp-fiddling with Tommy. Tommy doesn't look too happy about it.
Oleano. At this point Smith has decided he doesn't want/need to sing anymore and is, for the most part, walking around the stage (as much as he can) and making a nuisnace of himself. He twiddles every knob on Crookes' amps such that a crew member must help Tommy restore his settings with a flashlight. Smith (still no vocals) walks off the stage, and remains standing stage left with his arms folded. Someone (either a crew member, someone associated with the Loop Lounge, or just an audience member) picks up the mic that Smith has left on the stage and shouts into it "Get back up here and stop acting like a baby!" He repeats the plea but Smith is unmoved. The band finishes and they all go off, with Tommy saying "Be right back, folkie- wolkies!". Some time later they return, sans Smith, to do Behind The Counter. They're just playing instrumentals now as Smith won't come back to the stage and sing. Next up is Levitate.
The band seems determined to not let Smith's behavior undermine the gig. A ripping instrumental version is played. Smith returns to stalk the stage. More twiddling with Crookes' amp, more flashlights. Smith begins heading towards Shanley's equipment. Steve cuts him off and yells something in his ear. Levitate is continuing and Smith retreats. Undaunted they swing intoHe Pep. No vocals from Smith, more twiddling and fiddling. Smith starts fucking around with Tommy's guitar, which Tommy takes exception to. Smith gives him a good hard shove, and Tommy shoves him right back. Smith seems really ready to start a fight but Hanley moves over, still playing, and boxes Smith in between himself and Tommy. Julia does not look amused. Smith grabs an unwilling Julia by the arm and leads her off stage to his sulking spot on the left.
I'm A Mummy, with Tommy on vocals, and it's over. Never saw Smith or Julia again. Karl gets up from his drumkit, looks out into the remaining audience and shrugs his shoulders, as if to say, "what can you do?"
Obviously, no encore.
Shirts: $10 white Levitate shirts with the 'godlike genius award' picture of MES and 'Leveitate U.S. Tour' printed on them. No backdrop, Mike.
Forgot 2 things - during Pep everyone turned their eqipment up really really loud in an attempt to drown out Smith - who wasnae gonna sing anyway.
Failed to snag Julia's set list because Smith later shover her keyboard out of reach.
gert see you in Philly
From: Chris Kovin
Subject: DC City Paper
>From our free weekly:<<
5 S U N D A Y
Denied a Grammy yet again, the Fall's Mark E. Smith had to settle for the Godlike Genius Award for Unique Services to Music at the NME Awards With Miller Genuine Draft bash held recently in Brixton. And don't think he didn't deserve it. No terminal rocker (excepting Gene Vincent, Hank Sr., and a few others) has sacrificed more for his sullen craft. And yet on he goes: Every bit of 40 going on 60, Smith has begun to resemble fellow Mancunian Anthony Burgess (as rendered by Francis Bacon), but his music remains as pungent as ever. On a U.S. minitour in support of the group's 197th album (as usual, available only as an import), the greatest toaster since U-Roy has reportedly vowed to make amends for the band's last show at the Black Cat, a drunken debacle that veered precariously close to performance art. Brix fans be forewarned: He's fired her again. With Bush Tetras and Botswanas at 8:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-7960. (Eddie Dean)>>
Middle East 3 April
From: Stefan Cooke
Subject: Middle East
Weeelllll I thought I was decadent in the Big Apple, but here I am postin at circa 5 a.m. after a momentous evening......in which...we have Peter Lorre...... ellipseseses.s........the Fall too.....
ok. met the wonderful Erin and Nottingham Neil and my better half Resa and a couple of other chaps at The Field, drank several pints of Murphys stout while Neil gave me the lowdown on all things Fall--basically you've heard it before.
Thenly, onward to the Club for a few more pints while talking with Neil who is working backstage tonight. My loverly wife Resa, Erin and I head for front stage center while the B-tetras drone..... The Fall appear... Mark is NOT overly drunk and eager to participate.... the set:
Spencer He Pep rockin rockin Hurricane (first of tour) Free Range rockin Levitate Scareball Hip Priest Touch Sensitive (first live performance) Everybody But Myself (first of tour) Calendar (this rocks) Jungle Rock (Mark on guitar, back to audience) Powderkeg Pearl City Lie Dream
Mark spends a lot of time singing from behind closed doors, but the band are on form... the gig is tight, no unexpected instrumentals, short and not as sparkling as the 2nd night of Coney Island but compared to the reports from N.J. we are well happy. Really a great gig all things considered. Sold out and crowded at front. Gig ends.
From: "Paul Docherty"
Subject: The Fall @ the Middle East
A night of trepidation...
After the reports of the previous night, my darkest fear was that the band wouldnt play. Couldnt entertain that possibility, so off we went...
We were worried about finding parking space as we drove into Cambridge, but as we turned the corner the ME was on, lo and behold! a space right next to the club! Good omen. We parked and started out to find a bar, since we'd arrived a lot earlier than we thought we would. I decided we should head for the Field, where I knew other Fallnetters would be. Nice bar, reminded me a lot of London bars (slight pang of homesick blues, but resolving to do myself a favour and move out of the sticks to Boston perked me up). There were plenty of people there who couldve been Fallnetters. Being the reserved Scotsman I am I didnt approach anyone to save myself the awkward embarassment of looking for someone I had no idea of who they were or what they looked like. Apologies to everyone there, I guess I'm just shy... :) Sipped on a Guinness as my cohorts sucked down 2 HighBalls each and we set out for some munchies en route to the club.
Stopped in at Winging It, a barbeque wings joint across the street from ME. Small place, reasonable prices, awesome spicy fries. We contemplated how serving these things in the bars here in Keene would triple beer sales. Mouths still stinging from the sauce, we girded our loins for the club.
As we went in and got our hands stamped I asked the guy with the chunky sideburns at the door if the band was going to show. He said Mark had been and gone and the band hadn't arrived yet... mmmm, well, at least Mark is in town...
The downstairs of the ME was dimly lit, low ceilinged but had plenty of room. There were around fifty people there milling around when we arrived around 10. Saw the t-shirts for sale by the door. I liked the Godlike Genius white T, but plumped for the black tour t without the picture on the front. $15 well spent. By the time we got served at the bar the Botswanas were cranking into their first number. I dont know if the singer was high or if she's just stupid, but she went on and on about how they were from New York, New Haven... mad as a brush. The band was tight, but I wasn't too impressed by her. Mediocre pop rock really. The high point of their set was when some loser in the audience was giving her shit about not being the Fall. She climbs over the monitors and onto the floor infront of the stage, still singing the whole time, and squares off in front of him. He's yelling into her face and she peppers her lyrics with fuck-you's etc. I thought she would deck him, but the guy is escorted in a doorwise direction as she returns to the stage, saying something about if you want to see the Fall, come back in a couple of hours.... whatever. She was all NY agitation and attitude. Scarey woman.
The Bush Tetras were pretty good. After an amp problem, they crank it up with some dense alterno-rock thing. For such a skinny woman she had a hell of a voice. Strictly second-string stuff, I had enough of a buzz on to enjoy it. The bass player was definitely easy on the eyes. During their set, Karl shows up, stalks about back stage and disappears. Returns towards the end of the Tetras set with Tommy. Things are looking good.
The Tetras play about ten minutes over their time. It's about midnight. The equipment is taken down, I check my disposable camera to make the sure the flash works, Tommy comes on to tune up and be sure his amp works... tension mounts. I look over my shoulder from my vantage point about 5 feet from the stage, and the room is PACKED with people. Someone made the comment before about Fall crowds being over 50% people old enough to have been in their late-teens early-twenties when the Fall played in 82. This was certainly in evidence here. I didnt get the sense it was the kind of crowd that would riot if the band didn't play, but still, I didn't want to consider that eventuality... time passes...
The Fall finally show up around 12:30, sans Mark, and belt into Spencer Must Die, a blindingly good start. I relax a bit as Steve and Tommy seem in good humour as they walked on stage - it's going to happen... Mark emerges from backstage as the song draws to a close (wearing a dark dress jacket, shirt and light pants for you fashion watchers out there), sings for a bit as he swaps mikes around, says the immortal 'Good evening, we are The Fall,' and contorts his already fairly fearsome face as they launch into a vicious rendition of He Pep! Mark is on top form, leering over the packed floor and spitting lyrics with venom. What they play after that gets a bit hazy for me, but it's something like: Hurricane Edward (fucking brilliant! the track makes so much more sense live - not that I want to take anything away from the album version...) Levitate, something I don't recognise, Hip Priest (with Mark going over to Tommy and putting his hand across the strings to manually edit his guitar part as the song comes to a close - pretty bizarre to watch, it was like live record production, but it really worked - spectacular performance), Touch Sensitive (with Mark singing offstage - top number! catchy as all get out), Jungle Rock (far, far superior live), Everybody but Myself (became really disappointed with Karl by this number - he keeps a solid beat going, but there are absolutely no fills or frills - I expected more from him), and closing with PowderKeg (Mark spitting 'Manchester - ah - is - a - fucking - Powder - KEG - a!' and throwing down the mike as he stalks offstage)
Encores were something I can't recall and Lie Dream of a Casino Soul. The band departs and though the lights dont come on, after about ten minutes it's clear they aren't coming back...
Wish I could remember better - I hope someone can fill in the gaps (Erin?)
In all, I felt it was an excellent night - Mark had his attitude on full bore, does four or five costume changes, but didn't mess about too much on stage. Near the start (during Hurricane I think) Mark goes over to Tommy to presumably fuck with his guitar, but Tommy turns his back to him. Visions of a fight onstage rear their ugly head in my immediate future, but the moment passes and the show goes on. At another point, during Pep, everyone onstage seems to be, gasp!, having a good time. Mark looks over his shoulder as he steps up to the mike and has what suspiciously looks like a smile on his face. Good vibe, very very good show. Steve is very much my god, the guy is a fucking locomotive. If I can play bass half as good as he does I'll be doing pretty fucking good.
As I join the sweaty throng marching painfully slowly up the stairs to the exit and fresh air, I snag a sign from a door on the way out that says the show had sold out. Even though they didn't play Mummy or Masquerade, I felt elated. I wouldn't have missed this for the world...
if the photos come out, I'll post them for all on my sadly neglected website.
-dokk, still partially deaf.
From: Erin Carey
Re: Middle East
I think this show needs more representin':
Wandered over to the Field around 7:45, repeating descriptions of people to myself to fit in with the lunatics of Central Sq. As I head to the bar's doorway, a guy crosses over in front of me toting along a huge pack. Aha! Neil. So, we chatted for a bit, found Daavid in his Tindersticks shirt, then spotted Stefan via green courier bag. Everyone hung out a bit before heading off to the M.E. Observed the openers from afar. Not bad stuff, I just had limited patience and the crowd stripped most of that (not the best place to see a SOLD-OUT show). But, Steffan and I followed Resa as she muscled through the crowd towards the front. The waiting factor wasn't too painful due to a smattering of cool folks to chat with.
Eventually, though, the band came on. Nice entrance by MES, sighs of relief from members of the audience since he appeared to be in a good mood. And it held out. Not the best performance of frontman showmanship I've ever seen, but the band was tight and no tantrums. I managed to dance a bit -- no thanks to the midget in front of me who seemed to want to lambada with me throughout the show. But, I broke through during HipPriest and made a dash towards the center towards Stefan and Resa. Neil found our enclave after a bit and decided that the crowd was a bunch of wankers. So, he started jumping around a bit, forcing people to dance or clear out. Good job, Neil!
In summary,, not the best show I've ever seen, not even the best Fall show I've seen, but 100 times better than the Boston '94 show and a very good time. Kudos to Stefan, Resa, David, Nina, and, of course, Neil for meeting up beforehand. Didn't manage to recognize anyone else -- we'll need badges next time.
From: David Auerbach
Subject: gig report concentrate
NYC Round 1:
The rest of the folks covered this one pretty well. First Fall show ever for me, so even an average show would've impressed me, but I thought everything held together, even if they weren't as tight as they might've been. Spencer was great as an opener, hearing all the b-sides in a row was surprising--Tommy's spotlight on Ivanhoe came off really well, I thought. Masquerade held together really well, and the 10-minute Ol' Gang was a blaster, even if MES was offstage for the first half of it and Tommy had to do the vox til then. Dunno what all the Tommy-bashing is about--he doesn't have a lot of musical personality yet, but he gets the job done, and he tore up Ol' Gang just fine. Great to hear 4 1/2 Inch (first performance?), which sounded kinda poppy in this incarnation, with Hanley being a little more active than in the recorded version. From where I was standing (front) I could barely hear the keyboards, so it didn't make much difference when MES messed with it so much that Julia had to turn the thing off and on again.
Little things that amused me were MES inserting song titles from the Botswana's set list into 10 Houses ("If only thoust could understand 'Pretty Things' 'This Way is Up'"), and him yanking Tommy's jack right out of the amp, which the engineer fixed pretty quick...he had a piece of paper which was presumably amp settings, so MES's damage was always repaired pretty quickly.
So all in all, a great first Fall gig.
NYC Round 2:
Amazing. Unbelievable. Band + Mark were absolutely on, and with only one little problem (beginning of Masquerade was way screwy), gig was as close to perfect as I could ask. Mark was totally focused and really spirited, esp. on Chisellers, which was spat out about 1.5x as fast as the original, with nice, noisy guitar intro by Tommy and that great Tommy-MES duet at the end. 10 Houses was touching, MES looked wistful during the "If only..." part, and the crashing return of the band right after that was spot-on--huge rush for me. Levitate had thundering guitar and inspired MES doing "Levi-tate...with me." Hip Priest and Lie Dream tight and driving, and manic Oleano (now that I could hear the keyboards), with godlike performance by Mr. Hanley--never realized it was the bass that drives that song until this night. Jungle Rock goes on forever and sounds fantastic. Best moment for me was on I'm a Mummy, with Smith in great mood yelling, "Hot shit! I'm a mummy!" on every chorus.
Don't know what more to say about this, just that I was glad to know they had this level of show in them, & that I was there for it. One of the best gigs I've ever seen, period.
Nice to meet Erin, Stefan + Resa, and ubiquitous Neil at the Field. Ended up in front of the stage, which had less than great sound balance. (Keyboards were ok, but vox were low and Tommy's guitar was just a wall of noise.) Don't know if it was just coming off of CIH#2 or if I was just in a bad mood, but I was disappointed by this one (tho after reading the NJ reports, I should count my blessings). Band was in pretty good form, Hanley looking in good mood. Very happy to hear Hurricane (love Tommy's opening monologue: "The banks are closed...bank of scotland down...and now comes...HURRICANE!") with perky bassline that I never knew existed, & pummelling Karl perf. Free Range was tighter than at CIH#1, really tight, and I was glad to see Touch Sensitive finally show up (but it misses the clean guitar on the Peel session).
But... Julia was futzing with the DAT player more than usual, & seemed less than thrilled to be there. Mark isn't thrilled at all to be there--he noticeably peppered the lyrics with "fuck"'s ("This town is a fucking powder fucking keg!"), wreaks havoc with mike stands, acts a little out of it. Up til Hip Priest he just seems a little off, kinda distracted and not really connected to the rest of the band...no real cause for complaint, and he still sounds pretty good on Levitate (Julia does great, treble-jangly guitar on this) and He Pep. Then, halfway thru Hip Priest, he goes over to the drum platform, kneels, and starts flipping through a bunch of papers, not reading from them as far as I can tell, just flipping thru them and singing pretty half-heartedly. After that's done, he disappears behind a door for the next three songs, still singing but pretty absent. (I wonder if, in his looking-out-of-it state, he picked up on the joke of singing "Everybody But Myself" like this.) This is when I start feeling let down...band is still great and probably still better than NYC1, but Mark's mood casts a pall over the whole thing for me. His fiddling with the guitar on Jungle Rock (inaudibly from where I stood) dampened things too... Just couldn't ignore the fact that he didn't seem to care. (whereas he really did on the other two shows). Encore is good, and Powderkeg cheers me up substantially. MES is putting forth more effort, but still doesn't totally connect for me, even on Lie Dream.
Other bits: someone yells out "WE WANT CRAIG!" after Hurricane. Hanley thinks this is really funny, shakes his head "nahhhh..." and gestures to Tommy with a "here he is!" motion. Karl's sitting dance and expression at the beginning of Jungle Rock were priceless. Mark wears his Nietzsche t-shirt again--anyone know what the Latin quote on it says?
I'm probably being a bit grumpy on this one & I could be making more out of MES's attitude than he deserves, but comparatively, a disappointment.
Anyway, onward to NYC next week, again!
Philly Troc 4 Apr
In the interest of timing I'll post this version of the events of 4/4/98 at the Trocadero but I'll depend on the hardcore Fallnetters who were upfront to fill in with the exact setlist and details. Opening insturmental, then He Pep with MES coming on and making remark about a restaurant. He then leaves after knocking over papers etc over by Julia's setup. The band finishes He Pep. Mark comes back for Hip Priest. Second walkoff of the night within 10-15 minutes. Comes back for a few songs including Calender (?) and Lie Dream. Things start to go awry during I'm a Mummy as audience member is handed lyrics and microphone by MES. Fan takes the stage and sits on the drum riser and trades grunts with MES. About a verse of Jungle Rock around this time. Entire band leaves. They return and start up Everybody but myself, MES starts fucking with Hanley's amp and is butted by Hanley. Circles back but Hanley throws bass down and pushes him away as he leaves the stage, followed by Karl and Tommy Crooks ( who, in my opinion, played some decent guitar during Hip Priest). Then it gets even more bizarre as Mark and Julia launch into Cheetham Hill with only the keyboard samples. They play the entire song (more or less) in this fashion. Then Mark disappears behind the stage, Julia walks off, and a few minutes later Mark ascends the stairs and the show is over. Masquerade was in there at some point and maybe an instrumental 4 1/2 inch. Once again I'll depend on the Fallnetters upfront for exact details etc.
From: Kard2000 <
Subject: Philadelphia Trocadero review
this is pretty much the way i remember it:
The band came out and opened with Spencer Must Die, the band then started into he pep, MES walks out mutters some comment into the microphone which is buried very low in the mix. Mark makes a cut gesture to the band and motions to leave the stage, Mark walks off and the band launch into an instrumental and then leave.
They come back within a few mintutes and launch into Free Range, we get a Good Evening We are The Fall from Mr. Smith. The mike is sounding a bit better at this point.
They go into Hip Priest throught which Mark switches from the Microphone he is holding to the one in front of Tommy, dragging each around dropping them tangling the wires. Mark also begins messing around with the mike in front of the drum kit knocking it on the floor and fiddling with the amps and all that. Mark spends some time behind the drum kit smoking a cigarette and then comes back out front and spends a good five minutes untangling the microphone cords as the band continues playing Hip Priest, eventually unplugging one microphone and dropping it on Julia's Roland and unplugging the other one as well (Trocadero personnel later plugged them back in) -- and after Hip Priest , I believe is where the next walk off appeared
Mark comes back and stands on the side of the stage out of view of everyone and delivers the lyrics for Levitate as the band plays, comes out for Pearl City and Calendar, at one point taking has black pullover jacket over his hand and walking over to Julia's keyboard and doing a litte improv work.
Then Mark sits on the side of the drum riser and as the band launches into I'm a Mummy goes mumbles some uncomprehinsible comments of which the only things i could understand where fucking shit somewhere in there, he then proceeded to get up walked to the edge of the stage, kneeled down and handed this kid the microphone and a piece of paper. From what i could see the piece of paper had a typewritten comment about how it is Trocadero policy not to allow photography or recording of anykind, he motions to the kid to read the paper, which he does a little and then trades remarks with MES in MESspeak, he tried to hand the mike back to mark at a couple of points but mark wouldnt take it. The kid ended up jumping up on stage and ended up trading lines with MES, the kids best line was "look what happened to me" to the look what happens line. Near the end of Mummy the kid ends up going back to the audience. Mark decided to kneel down next to another kid and handed over what looked like a set list for the kid to read.
Somewhere during all this a hockey puck and two ciggarettes where thrown up onstage, Mark smoked one of the ciggarrettes and ended up kicking up the hockey puck into the audience.
After Mummy the band left. Everybody but Myself was triggered off and the band came back down and started playing, and this is where things got ugly. Mark started for Hanley's amp, Hanley wouldnt take any shit from Mark and gave him a shove, Mark tried a second time and Hanley whacked him with the neck of his bass and then unplugged it, dropped, and on the way of the stage gave Mark a huge shove and then grabbed the other microphone at Tommy and tossed it towards Mark and grazed his knee, Karl and Tommy followed Hanley off stage leaving Mark and Julia to finish.
Mark and Julia finish with Cheetham Hill over verbal taunts from the audience, "Mark E. Smith your an asshole", "Your finished", "You should join Brix's band" -- the night finished with a thank you goodnight, the crowd waited around to see if anything further was going to happen -- Tommy came out to grab his guitar and shook his head to signal this was the end of the evening
I think the complete highlight of the night was the Mark E. Smith for Drain Commissioner band Mike Wright got to the band to use for a backdrop and of course meeting Mr. Wright and some of the other Fallnet members, Russ, Kurt, Jeff Curtis -- this is everyone i remeber meeting, sorry if i forgot anyone.
Did anyone manage to tape the show? I couldnt get my recorder past the security guard.
hope they manage to stay together for two shows at Brownies next week, im hoping one out of the four shows im going to will be a good one
From: Hank Tomczak
Subject: Philly Report
To the best of my recollection after 8 or so Sierra Nevada Pale Ales. 1:57 AM
Oh My. Night starts out great. Hugh Fallnet presence. Botswanas sacked from tour. Looks to be a good night. T-shirt girls tells me band in good spirits, out to get bite to eat. Sounds good. Bush Tetra's put on decent opening act show. Everyone up for a good show.
First two songs - Spencer and I forget what. No sign of MES. Band tight but Hanley looking pissed. Walkout. Band returns for rocking Free Range. Soon as I saw Smith thought to myself "this doesn't look good". Smith looking totally fucked up.
Into Hip Priest. Band is hot but Smith into fucking around with microphones and wires gets all tangled up. Disconnects microphone and tosses over shoulder. MES leaves stage. Band continues and finishes up, kicking ass. Next song (I forget what - done as instrumental). Band walks again.
Mikes set up by roadies. Lie Dream, Calendar, Pearl City, some others. This was the best part of the show. Band tight, Smith hanging in, fucking with everyone's gear. I'm a mummy . Smith hands mike to front row guy who jumps on stage and shares vocals. Very light-hearted moment with everyone seeming to enjoy it. Levitate with Hanley siting on drum platform. Smith walks over and Hanley pushes him away. Things starting to look ugly. Smith wanders about and back to Hanley's gear, twisting knobs. Hanley VERY upset at this point, almost pushes Smith off stage. Jabs Smith in ribs with bass, throws bass onto drum platform and walks, soon to be followed by Burns and Crooks. Last time they would be seen. Julia and MES launch into Everybody but Myself, everyone waiting for band to re-appear. Never happens. Cheatem Hill with Julia and MES, no sign of rest of band. Song ends Smith and Julia walk. House lights come up. Crowd boos. End of show.
Was great meeting all you guys and girls - this show had so much potential and was just killed by MES antics. Well i'm off to bed.
From: Older Brother Gert
Subject: Re: Philadelphia Trocadero review
> Mark and Julia finish with Cheetham Hill over verbal taunts from the audience,
At one point, either just before or after CH, Mark begins an acapella Mr. Pharmacist but gives up after one line.
Another highlight: uproarious cheer from crowd as Smith finally untangles the mic cords after five minutes of hard labour.
Entire show was approx 1 hour, including walk-offs, cigs, etc.
I don't have much to add. The show was a bit shambolic. Hanley's a saint, Smith's an ass. The MES For Drain Commisioner backdrop was hilarious. Great to meet AmC, JC, John Huston, Brent & Peter again, Kurt V,Mike Wright and company, Fiona, and others I'm forgetting
From: JF Howard & MW Hamilton
Subject: Fall in Philly
Well, Martha and I arrived at Philly about 7:00pm. We gave the meetup at Dirty Franks the miss, due to cover charge, lateness and chili cook off. Met many Fallnetters in the upstairs bar...too many to mention. Everybody was great. Mike Wright's MES for Drain Commisioner was hung up behind the band! That's Mike's story and I am sure he will tell it. As for the show... Quite enjoyed the Bush Tetras, very post punky, parts reminded me of Thalia Zedek era Live Skull, no bad thing.
Ahh the Fall...well, rumour was that our man Smiffy was in a foul mood, but the band seemed chipper wandering around the stage. They opened with Spencer, which ended as Smith took the stage and they started to go into 10 Houses. After about 2 seconds, Smith stopped it, and yelled at Julia, the band played it instrumental, Smith walked off the stage and off into the dressing room. They played through the song and started into Hip Priest. Smith came back and spent most of the song untangling microphone chords. He left the stage again. This was to become a theme. Smith left the stage a couple of times, forcing the band to go chase him, Karl jumped up at one point, looking like he was going to kill him. Each time they coaxed him back, getting passable versions of Free Range, Levitate, Pearl City and Calender (great song).
During I'm A Mummy, Smith gave words to a kid in the audience (who it turned out had never heard of the Fall) and made him sing. Finally he wandered around the stage for a while, stepped in back, had a smoke. The band started a new song (I forget what it was) MES began to walk over to Hanley's amp, Shanley bumped him away, vigorously. After a moment, Smith started back at Hanley's amp again, Hanley stepped in between him and the amp, jabbed him with bass and pushed him across the stage, taking off his instrument and yelling at Smith in the process. The band left the stage at this point. Mark wandered around for a while and then Julia started Cheetham Hill,and the two of them did a version of that (not bad I might add) and that was the end of the show.
I have to say the band sounded ripping, and if Smith had bothered to be on stage it would have been musically great. As it was it was frustrating and entertaining. We really did not know what was going to happen next. The entire audience stuck around for the whole fiasco. When Hanley shoved Mark and stalked off stage you could have heard a pin drop though. I have never seen anything like that before. Well, It's 4am and I am going to bed. Glad to meet the Fallnutters that I did, glad I saw the whole thing, sorry it happened. Whew. Hopefully, judging by the every other gig good pattern of the tour, tomorrow will be good. john
From: Russ Smith
Subject: disaster in Philly - Hanley/MES fight
I met a whole bunch of Fallnetters for the first time. Mike Wright got Hanley to put up the MES for drain commissioner sign. Several people had tape recorders taken away.
The third band was not there so it was the Bush Tetras opening. Then the Fall came on and the disasters began.
MES walked off the stage several times and they had to keep stopping to go get him. When he did come out he went up to Julia's keyboard and knocked her notebook to the ground.
Then MES started fooling with all the cabling on the stage. He spent about 20 minutes untangling all the cords and eventually disconnected some the microphones (the road crew fixed it). MES also kept fooling with all the knobs, etc. on stage. At one point when it got quiet and MES was off the stage smoking a cig. I yelled "anyone got a bottle of ketchup" and a few of the band members laughed.
Mike Wright found a hocky puck (an official Phila Flyers puck) on the floor. I rolled it on the stage when MES was fooling with the cords. MES eventually kicked the puck into the crowd hitting Mike Wright.
Eventually MES started fooling with Hanley's equipment. Hanley jabbed him a few times with his guitar. MES tries it again. This time Hanley pushed him and they both started a struggle on stage. They almost broke into a fist fight but Hanley ended up just storming off the stage. Then everyone left except Julia. At that point I yelled to MES "you can join Brix's new band now." (I was right up front). At that point MES stopped, came up to me crouched down and said "wot did you say." I thought he was going to start a fight but he just walked away.
He then did a song with Julia and the show ended.
Not a good night for the Fall.
From: (Robert Getz)
Subject: The Fall At The Trocadero
Spencer Must Die (Insr.)/He Pep! (Instr.)/Free Range/Hip Priest/10 Houses Of Eve(Instr.)/Lie-Dream Of A Casino Soul/Levitate/Pearl City/Scareball/I'm A Mummy/Jungle Rock (Instr.)/Everybody But Myself/Cheetham Hill
Well, I'd read about some of those legendary shambolic gigs where everything went out of control but in my 18-odd years of seeing The Fall play live I had never actually witnessed one.
Last night changed all that. As you may have gathered from the large number of "instrumentals" in the set list, the evening's performance was less than stellar. Most of the evening was spent watching minders attempting to coax Smith back onto the stage after his second or third attempt to hide or run back up the stairs.
They needn't have bothered. MES spent most of his time wandering the stage like a spoiled and petulant child, doing everything possible to ruin his bandmates' efforts to actually put on a show. You knew there was going to be trouble when the band got through all of "Spencer" without any vocals. Smith staggered onstage towards the end of it, grabbing the mike to mutter something. Launching into the next number, Smith stopped the band and made them start again, only to remain silent throughout it. Seeming barely able to stand up, Smith wandered about, miming that he couldn't hear himself on the mike, tried all the mikes to find one he did like, put the other musicians' mike stands off stage or on the floor, etc. Fed up, the band left the stage. This set the pattern for the night.
When the band returned to go into "Free Range", Smith actually deigned to sing, albeit with much dropping of mikes on the floor, pushing Julia's notes off her keyboard and general misbehavior. Throughout, MES seemed to be making a conscious effort at ruining any possibility of the show succeeding. Most of his time was spent gathering up microphone cords to see from whence they sprang. Whatever Smith unplugged was then replugged by frantic roadies.
Managing to get through "Hip Priest", Smith disappeared again and returned to sit off stage to watch the band run through "10 Houses." (The audience was privilged to watch his cigarette smoke curl up.)Things went fairly smoothly ( though with the audience beginning to throw things at the band) until "Scareball" and "I'm A Mummy." Smith sat on the drum riser to get through "Scareball" and then went to the audience for help with "Mummy." Picking a young man from the crowd, he invited him to sing the song and proferred a lyric sheet. Turning his back, Smith never noticed the kid scrambling up onstage to continue the duet. When he did notice him, he was happy to continue and the combination bacame a sort of call-and-response: MES: "Look what happens when I try to talk to someone!" Kid: "I don't know what happens! What happened?" Poor Steve Hanley made motions to the audience inviting them onstage as if to say, "You might as well come up here, too."
Then it was offstage for Smith again, as the band tried to coax him into singing "Jungle Rock."The audience wasn't about to leave, transfixed as if by an auto accident. Smith returned for "Everybody But Myself." Part of the way through, he approached Steve and was pushed away. It was hard to tell what was going on exactly: was Mark trying to readjust his amp or just be irritating? Whatever it was, the third time it happened, Steve slammed Smith with the body of his guitar and for a moment, it seemed like the fight would spill out into the audience. Disgusted, Hanley grabbed a mike and threw it at Smith, clipping him neatly in the knee. If it hurt Smith showed no sign, but then again he barely seemed able to register what had been going on all night. The rest of the band followed Steve offstage (except for Julia) , leaving us with the bizarre tableau of Smith singing the words "everybody but myself" on a mostly darkened stage all by himself. Julia soldiered bravely on, head bowed.
Someone in the front called out, "Maybe you could join Brix's new band!" which inspired an impromptu vocal of "Mr. Pharmacist." In a last ditch attempt to keep some kind of show going, Julia hit the programming for "Cheetham Hill", and Smith obliged her by singing. At one point, Mark peered into the darkness and said, "You haven't come back yet, eh?" and then made his last exit of the night.
The audience remained transfixed throughout this entire affair. Some called out for refunds, but the hard-core fans seemed to take it in stride. The only thing godlike about MES this particular evening was his colossal contempt for the audience. Perhaps it was really for the band: the entire evening seemed to be spent pushing all of them as far as they would go and Hanley finally snapped. (He got terrific applause for this, by the way).
Witnessing everything I've described may sound sort of interesting but it was actually pretty unattractive. To see a group like this devolve into this sad parody is unnerving. Then again, from all the other gig reports it sounds like I just hit an off night ( to say the least). I certainly won't be surprised if this is their last go-round. I think it may have been mine, however.
Robert W. Getz
A guest informant ........
> rang Receiver (ie Trojan) to
> query them about the barrage of crap being foisted onto the market in
> "the name" of the Fall.
> I spoke to a really sniffy guy there : "it's all marketing, innit,
> Quote: "as long as you lot keep buying them we'll keep putting them
> (that's the spirit!)
> On being challenged over the band's non-approval : "nah, they're all
> legit. Mark E Smith has approved every one. Whenever he wants a bit of
> money he comes to us with some stuff and we either put it out or we
> That's not what he says.
> "Well he's bizarre, he's a maniac, nobody knows what he's going on
> Trojan are on 0171 383 4889 and I'm sure they'd just love to discuss
> their future exciting marketing plans with anybody who's interested.
From: Peter Conkerton
Subject: Hyperlink texts
Oh lordy. So there I was, listening to 'Seminal Live' (well, somebody has to)...
from 'Ancient Indian Aircraft Technology'
"It is evident thaat ancient Indians flew around in these vehicles, all over Asia, to Atlantis presumably; and even, apparently, to South America. Writing found at Mohenjodaro in Pakistan (presumed to be one of the "Seven Rishi Cities of the Rama Empire") and still undeciphered, has also been found in one other place in the world: Easter Island! Writing on Easter Island, called Rongo-Rongo writing, [oh REALLY?] is also undeciphered, and is uncannily similar to the Mohenjodaro script. Was Easter Island an air base for the Rama Empire's Vimana route?"
patience, Fallcon coming...
from 'The Morning of the Magicians'
"Easter Island, 3,000 kilometres from the coast of Chile, is about as big as Jersey. When the first European navigator, a Dutchman, [oh REALLY?] landed there in 1722, he thought it was inhabited by giants. Towering over this little piece of volcanic land in Polynesia are 593 enormous statues. Some of them are more than 20 metres high and weigh 50 tons. When were they erected? and how? and for what purpose? Examination of these monuments reveals, it is thought, three levels of civilization, the most advanced one being the oldest. As in Egypt, the enormous blocks of tuff-stone [sic], basalt and lava are adjusted with prodigious skill. The island, however, is hilly, and a few stunted trees could not have provided enough rollers; how, then, were those huge stones transported? Certaainly there was no large labour force available. In the nineteenth century the inhabitants of Easter Island numbered two hundred - three times less than the number of their statues, and there can never have been more than three or four thousand inhabitants on this island where the soil is fertile, but there are no animals. What, then, are we to believe? As happened in Africa and in South America, the first missionaries to arrive on Easter Island took steps to remove all traces of a dead civilization. At the foot of the statues there were wooden tablets covered with heiroglyphics: these were all burned or dispatched to the Vatican Library which houses many secrets. Was this done to destroy all traces of ancient superstitions, or to remove what could have been evidence of some Unknown Power? A record of the presence on the Earth of other beings - visitors from elsewhere? The first Europeans to visit Easter Island discovered that the inhabitants included a race of white men with beards. Where did they come from? The descendants, perhaps, of some degenerate race, in existence for many thousands of years and today completely submerged?? There are references in legends to a Master Race of Teachers, of great antiquity, fallen from the skies."
and, just when I thought we were well into Von Daniken territory (hey - remember HIM?), MES pointed out that we "misread Easter Island" in H.O.W., which nearly caused me to drop me black pudding butty. Bloody synchronicity. Anyone had a good go at transcribing H.O.W., incidentally? I'm about halfway there, but my ears aren't really up to it. So, more grist for the mill. Pete, hideous microscope thingy
From: "David Patterson"
Subject: RE: fall-live in melbourne 82 cd
> So this could be the widely available Prince of Wales radio
> broadcast with storming Deer Park (2 Aug);
Seems that's the one. It comes as news to those of us involved with PBS-FM, the station that broadcast and recorded the show. I hope CogSin has a good tape of it, the master is in need of expensive restoration.
From: Alastair Reynolds
> Right, this is the official line:
> "It's been a matter of growing concern to The Fall, and fans of the band,
> that 'compilations' of Fall material have been released on a 'flood the
> market' type basis.
Interestingly there was case reported in the Times yesterday concerning K-Tel being taken to court over a substandard Mott the Hoople cd!
The Cd was advertised via mail-order as being a greatest hits compilation. The guy who bought it, however, realised that it wasn't authentic - it was re-recorded stuff dating from 1993. Ian Hunter (?) claimed that the band hadn't recorded since 1989, and that the guy singing on the cd was a session singer trying to sound like him...
In a further twist, K-Tel claimed that they had bought the tapes in good faith from an ex-member of the Animals!
I don't think any of the Reciever things are quite that bad, but it indicates a precedent, m'lud.
From: Jeff Curtis
Subject: This week's newswire reports...
Copyright 1998 VV Publishing Corporation The Village Voice
March 31, 1998
SECTION: Music; Pg. 117
HEADLINE: TOTALLY FIRED
BYLINE: Douglas Wolk
BODY: It's been more than three years between the Fall's last American tour and this week's Coney Island High shows, but contentious frontman Mark E. Smith has been keeping busy. He's: released three new studio albums in Britain, notably last year's smoking Levitate, on which keyboardist/arranger Julia Nagle reinvents the Fall as an electronic act;
released five albums' worth of mostly inferior alternate mixes, work tapes, and mediocre live stuff on a British bargain label; this is not counting the two additional compilations drawn from that material, or the abruptly withdrawn and truly awful live album In the City, or the rather good live double, The 27 Points, which includes a recording of the band walking off for a couple of minutes to figure out what's wrong.
parted ways again with guitarist/ex-wife Brix, and also with longtime drummer Simon Wolstencroft. Sacked guitarist Craig Scanlon after 18 years , allegedly for ''slovenliness and failure to maintain equipment''--as someone remarked on the Fall mailing list (fall@ listserv.oit. unc.edu), isn't that why he was hired originally?
fired the entire band before a show in Belfast, then apologized a few days later. Repeatedly fell over in Worthing and had to be carried off by the rhythm section.
announced ''if it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's a Fall gig.''
reissued some out-of-print Fall discs on the band's own Cog Sinister label, mastered from scratched-up vinyl. Fall in a Hole, in fact, audibly skips.
presented DJ/biggest fan John Peel with a superb single, ''Inch,'' released in a limited edition of, er, one copy. (An alternate version is on Levitate.)
won NME's Godlike Genius award for ''unique services to music,'' which is a good way of putting it.
Copyright 1998 Boston Herald Inc. The Boston Herald
March 27, 1998 Friday ALL EDITIONS
SECTION: SCN; Pg. S20
HEADLINE: BOSTON BEAT; Punk rocker finds mature sound
BYLINE: By Tristram Lozaw
BODY: .....Still, much of yesterday's rock seems at home in 1998, and here come a few more returning heroes.
On Monday, singer Mark E. Smith brings the latest version of the working-class punk-lifers known as the Fall to the Middle East for a show with the Bush Tetras. Tetras' guitarist Pat Place is cognizant of the fact that punk music doesn't necessarily improve as the musicians learn to tune and play their instruments.
New Sounds From The Fall
Thirty years from now, after we have the final empirical proof that the asteroid missed us, we'll probably be able to toddle off to a Fall concert.
Mark E. Smith and his band The Fall have been at it for 20 years now, putting out high-quality, snarling Brit-rock; there's no reason for them to stop any time soon. Monday and Tuesday, the band will play Coney Island High, 15 St. Marks Pl. in the East Village. Expect a preview of their new recording, "Levitate," which is due out April 7. Tickets are $12, $15 on the day of the show and available via Ticketmaster. Schoolhouse Jazz?
From: Alastair Reynolds
Today's obligatory Fallcon newspaper article:
>From the Grauniad:
EARPRINT FAILS TO CONVICT -------------------------
EARPRINT evidence used for the first time in a trial in Britain has been rejected by a Liverpool crown court jury. It had been claimed that the two earprints left by a burglar at two homes belonged to Mark Smith, aged 29...
Nicholas Clarke, defending...described the findings as "pseudo-science fiction"
980331 Details of Live in Melbourne 82 CD, Smith
on Smith spoken word CD, Nine Unknown Men, initial Coney Island High
980329 bollocks Smile comp details
980322 Vox interview, other stuff
980315 TBLY/Info service details
980308 Peel session details; US tour dates
980227 a few bits & pieces, RTL, PoSR out
980222 NME interview
980215 Destroy punk covers exhibition, Masquerade single details
980207 Brats award transcript
980130 Bits on NME Award, POSR/RTL reissue details
980125 Shanley i/view
980118 Time Out interview w/pics, Melody Maker review, Oh Brother press release, Oxford review
980111 Dutch Opscene interview
980104 Melody Maker interview
971221 Not much
971211 Portsmouth, London, Cambridge, Norwich, Bristol reviews
971203 Oxford, Stoke, Leeds, Liverpool reviews; Esquire interview
971125 Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stoke reviews
971116 Manchester reviews, Loaded interview
971112 Band back together, teletext interview
971110 NME report, various Dublin/Belfast disaster reports
971109 First Dublin/Belfast reviews
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