It appears that Steve Hanley, Karl Burns and Tommy Crooks have left The Fall, and formed their own band called Ark. See news report below.
The three dates last week went ahead: the band comprised Mark, Julia Nagle (guitar/keyboard) and Kate on drums. Reviews also below.
Nothing planned for the immediate future.
Perfect Sound Forever has an excellent Fall tribute up in their current
May issue at:
There are reviews of all the proper albums, along with an interview with Steve Hanley and Tommy Crooks held a couple of days into the US tour. A couple of the reviews are a bit ropey mind.
There's a couple of US tour reviews in the new issue of The Wire and an article by Jonathan Romney in last Friday's Guardian (below).
Two copies of Live To Air in Melbourne 82 have appeared so far - one in Japan and one in Liverpool. It's a cracker by all accounts.
Spoken word CD might be out this week.
Still no sign of the Peel Sessions release.
Gez has updated all the recent gig photos and pics of scary-looking FallNetters:
Subject: (article) He's Grim Up North, Jonathan Romney, Guardian G2 p24, 1May98
Caption: Fall of the house of Fall...lead singer Mark E Smith indulged in fisticuffs with members of his band. But then critics have traced his sensibility to the tradition of north English anti-social madness.
The Fall's 1982 LP Hex Enduction Hour bore the proudly graffiti-ed slogan: "Have a bleedin' guess". That's been their watchword all along - have a guess what the band's founding ranter Mark E Smith was on about in his uniquely garbled lyrics, have a guess how they'd go on sustaining their apparently infinite variations on what should have seemed a limited musical format.
This week, it was have a bleedin' guess if they'd even turn up. Three members of the band had walked out after a disastrous US tour, claiming Smith was impossible to work with. After a fight on--stage in New York, Smith had been arrested, then gone AWOL. It seemed more than likely that if The Fall turned up for its two London dates at Dingwalls, it would be in the form of Smith alone, acidly and obscurely inveighing against the woes of the world.
In fact, what the partly-enraptured, partly aggrieved audience got was a subsistence-level Fall - Smith wit Julia Nagle on keyboards, guitar and stacks of rough-and-ready pre-programmes, and a terrified-looking woman on drums. Sometimes it sounded like Suicide's pared-down electronica, sometimes it harked back to the Xerox scrappiness of The Fall's very early days on the Manchester punk scene.It was possibly in honour of those days that Smith revived their antique number Industrial Estate (chorus: Yeah, yeah, industrial estate!), a prospect as likely as David Bowie encoring with The Laughing Gnome.
The makeshift feel was part of the fun, but it's doubtful any other band would have got away with it. Smith's fans are unusually indulgent - after all, he recently received a "Godlike Genius" Award at the Brats. But Smith asks for trouble - it's a point of honour with him to be a lousy communicator. Not only are his lyrics cryptic in the extreme, they're often inaudible and declaimed in a voice resembling Donald Duck through a British Rail tannoy. Over the years, he's evolved a singular anti-charisma, stalking the stage with the sardonic ill-grace of a no-nonsense supply teacher.
It's hard to explain why The Fall's continued existence matters so much more than, say, the prospect of a Spice Girls split or an Echo and the Bunnymen revival. But following The Fall has always required something of a leap of faith. You can't be logically persuaded, for example, of the brilliance of song titles like Eat Y'self Fitter, Mere Pseud Mag Ed and the (quintessentially Mancunian) You're Not Up To Much. It may sound like weary punk nostalgia to say it now, but of all his generation, only Smith consistently displayed the anti-social intractability that John Lydon turned into a cabaret act.
Smith may have invented his own form of marginality, but he and his cohorts have always been able to come up with something compelling, always sounding irreducibly like themselves, whether experimenting with rockabilly, disco, garage punk, or tape-spliced garble. However, excessive Smith's fancies, they were somehow the one band to dabble in other art forms that you could never accuse of pretension - whether scoring ballet for Michael Clarke or performing Smith's Vatican-conspiracy play Hey! Luciani, which just about compared favourably to the dramatic works of Ernie Wise.
Much hinges on Smith's persona as a full-time whinger, venting an impatience that verges on intolerance. He plays up plain speaking almost as a Thora Hird parody of Northernness. The one time I interviewed him he announced proudly that he's been brought up to be "dead thrifty".
In his recent book England Is Mine, Michael Bracewell places Smith in a tradition of English, especially Northern, anti-social madness. He sees Smith as a latter-day avatar of Billy Liar and Branwell Bronte the doomed fantasist of the family. Not surprisingly, Smith has long admired Vorticist misanthrope Wyndham Lewis, the spirit of whose broadside Blast lives on in his seethings.
Among alternative pop's professional provocateurs and Sunday Situationalists, Smith is the real - an authentic Victor Meldrew figure ("I'm a bumbling old fool, me," he recently professed. I'd go further than that - he's on his way to being a Terrible Old Man of the calibre of Louis-Ferdinand Celine, the French novelist whose indiscriminate loathing fuelled a spectacular career of linguistic breakdown. Such attitude in Smith underwrites and even makes semi-comprehensible such obliqueness as, "Oh what branch, what branch is it that has a pipe of aluminium sprawling underneath it?" on his recent single Masquerade.
Judging by recent events, Smith has gone beyond being a self-appointed spanner in the indie-rock works, and headed into out-and-out dysfunction. The Fall's survival may be in question, but Smith's, I suspect, isn't. "The only pleasure in this life is work" he has said. Although the thought of spending 20 years of your life being in The Fall is one of the scariest things I can imagine, it's not quite as depressing as the thought of spending the last 20 years never having heard them. As for the next 20, have a bleedin' guess.
And for those of us who don't know Celine, he writes like this: (thanks to Simon Fluendy)
"In that despondent changeless heat the entire human content of the ship congealed into massive drunkenness. People moved flabbily about like squid in a tank of tepid smelly water. From that moment on we saw, rising to the surface, the terrifying nature of white men, exasperated, freed from constraint, absolutely unbuttoned, their true nature, same as in the war. That tropical steam bath called forth instincts as August breeds toads and snakes on the fissured walls of prisons. In the European cold, under gray, puritanical northern skies, we seldom get to see our brothers' festering cruelty except in times of carnage, but when roused by the foul fevers of the tropics, their rottenness rises to the surface. That's when the frantic unbuttoning sets in, when filth triumphs and covers us entirely. It's a biological confession. Once work and cold weather cease to constrain us, once they relax their grip, the white man shows you the same spectacle as a beautiful beach when the tide goes out: the truth, fetid pools, crabs, carrion, and turds. "
NME report, keyed by Pete Diaper
"The Fall are in disarray....blah blah blah...left and formed their own band, Ark, after accusing lead singer Mark E Smith of being "impossible to work with". One of the members of Ark, who did not wish to be named [TC], told NME: "The split is entirely due to Mark's behaviour. It seems he was intent on ruining the US tour from the word go and became too difficult to work with. In the end we found ourselves in an untenable position and decided to leave." He continued: "We're not going back. The tour was a bloody nightmare, just one police incident after another. It was unbelievable at the end, just fighting all the time. It was an ugly, ugly situation. Mind you, none of us got hurt. He couldn't beat himself off, let alone beat any of us up! "All we were interested in was going on and playing as hard as we could, but he was just hitting us, or going offstage, or messing around and knocking things over, sabotaging the whole thing. I think it might be the natural end to the Fall after 20 years."
(Report continues...) "Blah blah blah....Fall spokesman John Lennard said that he is confident Hanley will eventually patch things up with Smith. "They've been together a long time. They're hoping to put it all behind them and get on with it. They just had a bust-up in New York. Mark went off the rails a bit, but it's nothing that hasn't happened before. It was arrgument that had been brewing for months. It just needs the two of them to sort it out." "
Camden Dingwalls 27 April 1998
I've just got back home from the MES-and-Julia show.
I reserve final judgement until Dingwalls #2 tomorrow, but first impressions are as negative as I feared before the gig following the persistently gloomy rumours. MES was not too bad, but I think that towards the end he was rather pissed off with the booing and heckles (the most persistent being: "Where is the band?") -- and therefore he brought the whole thing to a somewhat abrupt end to the usual confusion of the rest of the band.
Did I say "the rest of the band"? We are talking true minimalism here. Julia deserves a gold medal. She kept the gig going despite very obvious confusion at times. She also kept her sense of humour, despite several antics by MES (the usual fiddling with her keyboard and even, at one point, the snatching of her guitar -- which he played for a while almost with artistic merit).
And then it was Kate. Lovely Kate is a good drummer. She did her best to keep up with Julia -- and she deserves a silver medal.
That was it. The Fall is on its way to becoming a girl band. Good for them.
Ah! And Mike (what's-his-name) was also there, with support vocals and recitals of incomprehensible prose before, during and after some of the songs. Adding nothing with his sporadic appearances on stage to what really was a trio + drum machine combo thingy.
The FallNet contingent was also rather minimalist, in tune with the atmosphere.
I look forward to tomorrow's surprises. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think that the whole ensemble will hold together until Thursday, for the Reading gig.
It would be very tempting to write off The Fall after tonight. I'd rather leave that to the idiots who were shouting 'where's Craig' - who may well have been the same idiots who were chucking plastic beer pots stagewards (are you still doing what you did two years ago?).
For now, I'll limit my comments to these:
i) Mark E. Smith ... is a gutsy f**ker and I admire him for that
ii) Steve Hanley ... remains the sound of The Fall 1979-April 1998; tonight offered no clues to what the sound of The Fall will be post-Hanley.
file tonight under The Fall: Offshoot projects - on that basis, yes, I enjoyed it.
Songs played (not in order I'm afraid) included:
Everybody But Myself
'Unidentified' - the drum sounded like Hey Student, not sure about the guitar, and the lyrics were Industrial Estate.
EBM was pretty great with programmed keys and plenty of lyrics - Mark saying how his dad told him he should be a builder, wouldn't have any luck, etc. Levitate also sounded okay, and it's difficult to imagine the drum and one-note k/board of Ol' Gang, even after a night's sleep. M. Clarke reading a whole set of lyrics off a sheet for this one.
Mark very focussed, with the odd smile; Julia cracking up after Mark picked up her guitar and someone shouted "Don't do it, Mark!"); Kate the drummer kept everything together. And there was a bass propped up at the far end of the stage.
From: Alan McBride
my take on the first gig...
pretty much knew what we were in for so arrived prepared mentally and alcoholically. got to door just in time to hear 'good evening we are the fall', and mumbled 'no you're not mark' to the bemusement of the bouncers. cringed through some of the more sparse and sloppy tracks (hip priest was real embarrassing - lots of empty space around the insistent but unconvincing drumming, which julia tried to fill with occasional keyboard washes but ended up making it worse).
but some tracks were great! loved the programmed deliveries of powderkeg (the powderkex mix) and the sparse guitar from julia on touch sensitive.
was truly disgusted by the audience and their puerile throwing of stuff - mostly plastic thankfully, but enough bottles to be a real risk.
but on one level it was. a very brave attempt.
and the bottom line was they pulled it off. most everyone stayed, and lots of shouts for encores. and some tracks got a great response.
michael clarke was great! reading stuff in a monotone - some stuff he read was the tbly receiver stuff, together with the phone number which he repeated a few times. and then the final track was basically him reading something mark had prepared for him - '...he has shown you the way....he is pa...thet....ic....pa....thet...ic....pa....thet....ic'.
kate (drummer from polythene who have a peel session this week) was actually pretty good if a bit sterile and studied. and very brave in the face of taunts and projectiles. and looking real pleased with hersel' at the end! good for her. she has this great way of staring at mark fixedly with a mixture of 'what the fuck are you trying to tell me?' and 'don't you dare piss me off'.
the outro tape on the first nite was GREAT! started with grungy free-range riff then merged in lots of rock classics with similar chords or rhythms, before degenerating eventually into a sonic onslaught of noise. and then slates - pretty good ending really.
Camden Dingwalls 28 April 1998
Just back from Dingwalls, Briefly:
Much as last night, only better
1) Fall due on 9.30pm
2) much nervousness for half an hour or so, as no sign of Mark or Julia, no keyboard on stage ie. ONLY a drum kit
3) eventually Mark emerges and shouts something inaudible, Julia follows and begins assembling her gear, inc. keyboard
4) announcement from stage that the Fall will play at 10.30pm
5) a bass amp is hastily rigged up - a 5 -string bass is spotted
6) The Fall play as a 3-piece, no M. Clarke, no bass player
7) Mark is in good spirits, smiling, communicative
8) Julia plays better than last night
9) audience more receptive than last night
10) Mark announces 'we're taking a break for 5 minutes'
11) Rich suggests Mark is trying to cajole someone backstage to play bass
12) we get the full keyboard and drum version of Industrial Estate
13) highlight for me - Touch Sensitive
14) other highlight - Mark playing guitar on Jungle Rock, hands guitar to bloke in audience who straps it on, plays a perfectly passable guitar part and then wanders on stage and does the full-on rock pose. Hilarious - and one very happy bed-sit would-be guitarist returns to the audience to deserved applause.
A lot of fun. Whatever next?
From: Duncan Lynskey
It was about ten minutes past the hour of ten. I was stuck in the front row crush, waiting for big celebrity face.
"Last orders half past ten!", shouted Smith to the audience as he bounced onstage, looking very fit and working again. People cheered, but soon started jeering when it became apparent that what he meant was "you've got another twenty minutes to wait". Foppish poet type lollops on stage to announce ETA of band. We stand and stand.
The band arrives. Julia, looking calm but slightly self-conscious, plugs in keyboard, Kate new drummer ceremoniously sticks spare sticks in her back jean pockets and adopts wild eyed stare and open mouth hunched over drums posture that remains with her for the next hour and fifteen minutes.
Then Smith arrives and launches into ... whatever it was. I can never remember set lists.
He looked very composed. The only out of control drunks were in the audience, which is the way I like it. If this man is permanently drunk then he wears it well.
Julia looked fine and kept an eye on Mark all the way through, looking sideways across the stage with wry glances now and again. In fact there was lots of smiling all round.
The whole set was excellent with Lev stuff plus Hip Priest and Industrial Estate, and two encores, the last of which featured a guest guitar performance by audience member . [Alan McBride: yeah mark handed the guitar to a big guy with goatee and short hair during jungle rock. by fluke the guy could actually play after a fashion, and he strummed away valiantly and to good effect. after a time he got real enthused and jumped on stage and kept it up through the whole some. guitar volume was turned low enough so that he couldn't go far wrong anyhow. at end he went to shake mark's hand, but then clumsily embraced him instead. 'twas a very comic sequence of moments all in all]
Exit into the night for tea and drive home.
Much better the second night I thought, and I don't reckon it was just because I'm getting used to the idea.
The same songs, more or less (sorry again Stefan) with the addition of Cheetham Hill (?) and Mark insisting they play Hip Priest instead of er Calendar I think.
Ol' Gang started with the keyboard, then Mark pulled them all off for a couple of minutes, and Julia came back and did a guitar mimic of the bass bit for the rest of the song.
Good stuff though
the second night it [Good evening...] was spoken between songs, and in a tone like on some live album where he says off-handedly 'good evening we are the fall anyway...' but without the anyway. but in that sort of tone. sorta.
and then he said 'so what's people's opinions then? ....(pauses, turns his back)....like I give a fuck.'
julia got real into it towards the end. slapping her arse to the rythm of one track as if to keep kate on cue. bouncing up and down while playing guitar on another. smiling a lot. she looked as into it as she used to in her first few gigs, whereas at most gigs recently she's looked a bit bored or despondent.
have to say that I wouldn't have missed these gigs even though hanley and burns are sorely missed. the first was embarrassing at times but was still entertaining.
but frankly I _really_ enjoyed the second gig. ok so musically it was patchy, but if this was to be much of what the fall are to become, I'd still be at their gigs. I might not travel as far as I used to though.
on the upside, mark really had to work hard at these gigs, and the vocals were pretty good throughout. it's a bit embittering to remember the gigs where he couldn't be arsed and to then see that he can do it when he needs to, but bottom line is that he certainly hasn't lost it yet.
and as I noted before, most everyone stayed, and there were huge shouts for encores.
it has certainly felt for some time that it was time for a change. I wouldn't wish losing hanley from the band to be part of the change, but it's welcome and exciting to see the fall mutating again and to remember that they usually manage to do so to good effect.
so my opinion is simply this - that yes - it is still the fall.
From: David & Carina
Only a few observations to add about Dingwalls gigs. The second night had a better atmosphere and a better sound. There was a suspicion that more instruments had been added to the DAT, but this maybe they started with a song that had backing on the second night, and the guitar had a fuller sound.
The bass amp was miked up (courtesy of the support bands), and was not just for show. MES had occasion to fiddle with the knobs, making it hum loudly throughout the gigs.
When MES announced they were going to start at 10:30 we didn't hear the 'last orders' bit, but didn't catch his first words when he tried to speak into the mic. He was upset that the PA wasn't turned up, making him look foolish, but grinned at the audience and shouted to those at the front (we were only one foot away) that that they would start at 'half ten, alright?'.
Not sure what MES thought of the person who was handed the guitar during Jungle Rock, he had abused his trust by jumping on stage. MES kept his back to him and glared into the mid distance, and tried to shrug off his embrace at the end of the song.
As usual there was much changing around of microphones by MES, with greater opportunity to do so on the second night as Michael Clarke was not there. At one stage he threw one inside the bass drum with an instant increase in volume.
The drumming to Hip Priest was better on the first night (despite the lack of the build up during the 'Hip, Hip, Hip' part). The bass drum pattern was just not right the second night. During this song the good Doc was missed the most.
Ol Gang was very slow on the first night (Carina thought it sounded more like the Christmas song from the free Levitate EP played like that). They started it slower on Tuesday with Julia playing the keyboard part. After several bars MES announced they were taking a five minute break. This gave the roadie time to vainly attempt to unravel the two microphones from the mic-stand that were now entangled almost to an extent that would cause MES to want to stop for that reason alone. When they came back they restarted at a faster temp with Julia playing the guitar until half way through.
Dave & Carina
From: Michael Flack
I'd prefer not to think about Dingwalls no. 1, to be honest. I spent most of that gig trying to get my head round what was happening, although I was full of admiration for the sheer nerve of them. At one point during the set, Michael Clarke appeared a few yards away from me, watching the 'band'. I asked him how he thought it was going and how Mark was (because I was a bit worried about him). Clarke was cagey, as you might expect, but my overall impression was that he wasn't that happy to be there.
Although it was a below-par gig, it did enough to confirm my view that MES will not pack it in, probably ever. The Fall were getting a lot of stick, but I was more sad than angry.
The second gig, however, was much better. MES seemed to be really fired up and it reminded me of something a lot of people have forgotten - how important he is to The Fall. He bristled, he yelped, he shouted, he sneered asides ("Everyone's got an opinion ... I'm not fuckin' interested") at the whingers. He stayed on stage more than we're used to these days and he didn't give Julia or Kate stick because he appeared to know that he owes them.
Kate is a marvellous drummer, who on the second night added a pounding jungle beat to Jungle Rock and a completely new rhythm to Hip Priest. As I said before, I bought Polythene's demo tape last year after the Jilly's gig and was really impressed. I hope she can hold down both jobs. Julia had to work bloody hard to keep everything else going, but she did a sterling job.
The set could have been changed a bit though. The bass is really missed on the most, er, dynamic songs, and that was what was wrong with Hip Priest, no 'build'. But there are old songs they could do with that line up (eg Eat Y'Self Fitter). Overall, though, I'd like them to have a bass player on the next album.
I didn't get the impression that MES was unhappy with the guy he gave the guitar to. He maybe didn't expect him to be a musician! But the bloke had no room to play standing down there at the front. I bumped into him in the bogs and he said he's actually a bass player!
Anyway, I enjoyed this gig a lot, and The Fall displayed many of the qualities I admire about them - the stubbornness, the guts, the hard work, the swagger. And by the end a lot of people had shut their big mouths.
From: Simon Christian
Dingwalls, The Capitol.
28th April 1998
The audience waited (not very patently) for the group to appear, I thought by the time I got served at the bar (queue or what) and in a good position, it would be Fall time. I was wrong. The audience members were getting restless, a couple of specific 'people' were very rude and deserve ......
I spoke with 'the mixer' as I was convinced a volcano had errupted backstage and tried to prize out some info from him. There was something up, but he was as much in the dark as everyone else was this side of the curtain. Ten minutes or so later, Julia appeared with keyboard and gear. She then 'tested the lines' I think the mixer said. The new drummer girl 'Kate' appeared from behind the curtain and fiddled with the drums.
Oddly, Smith appeared and advanced straight to the front of the stage and appeared to bollock the members of the audience left of centre of the stage. He turned and walked straight back off as quickly as he appeared, he looked somewhat unhappy. The group members proceeded to follow him off through the curtain. Shortly after, a jerk (promoter) announced that The Fall would be on at 10.30 and walked off to the groans and heckling of a packed house.
Twenty minutes later, 10.30 arrived.... and went. They all re-appeared eventually at approx 10.40 with intro music a-blasting. Smith reached for the mic and announced 'Good evening, we are The Fall'. It was at that point I realised that I had taken this catch phrase far too much for granted. The 'The Fall' tag didn't seem appropriate (at that moment) for what we were about to witness. 'Good evening we are Mark Smith' a waggish character replied. The Fall would now appear to consist of Mark, Julia, Kate and of course the magic backing music machine.
The attitude of the vocal audience appeared to take the stance of attacking Smith like he was the star attraction of a Victorian freak show. Goading him, hoping he would flare up and do something foolish. I saw red. I admire him. I admire him a lot after what I saw tonight.
The stripped down Fall kicked off with (* Everybody But Myself) /Scareball / He Pep / Oleano / Hip Priest / Ten Houses Of Eve / * Masquerade (the single version) /
Pearl City / Levitate / Powder Keg / Industrial Estate
Jap Kid played as The Fall came back on stage and hammered out
??? / Free Range / Jungle Rock / Cheetham Hill
* I think.
During the set Julia handed Smith her guitar and he charmed a load of bum notes out of it. By the latter stages of the set the ale edged overal control of my actions and vision. I even thought I saw a Lard playing guitar on stage!
The band played for a considerable time and I lost count of the tracks, the order they played them, the number of encores. There was an atmosphere, like something special was happening. I think this was the best thing Smith could have done - confronting his audience in what must be difficult times rather than lying low for a long time, re-inventing himself as a solo artist (consequently releasing a terrible album and then vanishing from the public eye for good). I take back the 'Good evening, we are Mark Smith' comment.
Long live The Fall. As Smith himself said, the tank keeps rolling.
Reading Alleycat 30 April 1998
Courtesy of Lukey:
Everybody But Myself
Hip Priest (with shit drums) - it sez here
Highlights at the present moment:
1) a superb vicar's pie
2) yep, that pie were good
3) a fair few ales
4) Rob buying one of 'em
5) venue, ah yeah, tha' Fall
6) Hip Priest working for a few mins, then not really progressing
7) Fine cowd vocals for Ol' Gang
8) Thinking, yeah, this is the Fall, but no, I don't wanna see this too many times.
9) of course, the latest recruit on guitar. A *flying* pasty, indeed.
From: Alan McBride
'...I really like this venue...where you can meet your fans in the toilet...that's lovely. where everybody's equal...I think that's lovely.' (mark, just before encore)
oddly expansive stage at the alleycat, huh. looked real empty with just a three-piece, but mark used it to good effect with the best show of 'walking the mike stand' that we've seen since infotainment-era. at one point the stand fell over and righted itself three times in a row! and he did a great job of trying to untangle the lead and making it an order of magnitude worse, before giving in and turning it over to roadie - and it was comical to see two roadies eagerly untangling same lead at same time.
what song was it that mark improv'ed the line about '...your cowardice...'? a nice swipe that. mark had turned and crouched to read some lyrics at the back of the stage and this one tosser took the opportunity to lob about 7 plastic glasses in succession. he had them stored ready on the speaker stage left. managed to land a nice gob onto his shoulder from about 7 feet away, which, although ungentlemanly, was pleasing, especially since mark turned just in time to see this and was well amused. and then rob pointed the asshole out to a bouncer, and the bouncer escorted him out! joyful.
mark waved mike under my nose for ol' gang - probably just co-incidence but I fancied this was my reward for said gob at projectile fiend. but I didnae want it so the guy beside me took it. he did a good job for a while, but then wouldn't shut up so mark had to retrieve mike. and then the chappie irritated the fuck out of me by spending the rest of the gig trying to get mike again, or insistently calling out to mark or julia.
and what was going on at the start of ol' gang? mark suddenly got a bit agitated and bellowed something like 'this was what the start of ol' gang was all about' and dropped his mike and belted off stage. I figured he was coming after the cowardly tosser for a scrap but he re-appeared soon after in good spirits.
overall? well, if dingwalls on tuesday was four lights, and dingwalls on monday was two lights, then reading was three lights.
and touch sensitive was GREAT again :-)
From: Mike Jones
I've broken my radio silence to throw in fivepence worth on the Alleycat gig;
I agree with DIW that MES is a 'gutsy' bloke and that Kate did a good job on drums, given her short recruitment notice.
That said, the gig in my view shouldnt of happened. The lack of BASS (whether hanley or other) was evident, and all of the songs lacked power without this. Mark put on a brave show (despite usual crowd heckles of disappointment). Hip Priest was killed (wrong drumbeat, tacky keyboard), pearl city sounded like a demo song off a VL-Tone, Industrial Estate an embarassment. A couple of songs (Touch sensitive/Scareball) almost sounded good, though lack of bass made everything hollow. The more techno songs (10 houses/Masquerade) were fine, but considering everything was played from DAT we were in the league of Karaoke Fall. During the 2 note drench of OL gang, Marks frustration was visible during the introduction, maybe himself realising how the poor the show was.
After dozens of Fall gigs, this is the first time that I hoped they wouldnt play an encore.
Hopefully the band will become a full band once more (with or without Hanley) and go on to produce more great music, but I feel they should have cancelled the 3 shows and re-organised the band prior to playing a gig. Maybe it was a show of Smiths determination and Bravado, and hats off to Mark in both those fields.
All in all a sad day for the Fall, but things can only get better (Mark is tough as old boots).
end of the pier show
Subject: Dingwalls #2
Well, they say the Fall are full of surprises, but they don't come much bigger than this. Julia is first out on stage, setting her DAT running with that squelchy Free Range rhythm. The new drummer Kate starts tinkling away on her hi-hat for a few moments then begins tapping out the biggest sounding bass drum noise you ever heard, then she's pounding out a primitive floor toms and snare beat... Mark slips out from behind the curtain behind Julia, curling his lip and snarling like he REALLY means business tonight - bashing the mike against his thigh . Julia crashes in perfectly with her guitar, and the pit is a seething mass of moshers - a line of salivating Fallnetters crushed against the front barrier. Then the curtain parts at the left of the stage and the distinctive, bulky, balding frame of Steve Hanley straps on the same bass guitar which had, the previous night lain idle - the audience roars it's approval. Mark looks on over Julia's shoulder as Hanley starts strangling the neck of his bass and pumping away with his left foot. Eventually Mark wanders up to the front monitors and rests his shiny right shoe on the crash barrier before raising the mike to his lips for the first time and spitting out enomously ... 'IN ... TWO THOUSAND AND ONE ...' and then .....
..... the house lights go up
..... the PA cuts out
.... the pounding bass drum alone
.... continues remorselessly
... Mark is gone
... I feel a tapping on my shoulder
... WAKE UP, SIR, THIS IS READING, THIS TRAIN TERMINATES AT READING, CAN YOU PLEASE LEAVE THE TRAIN NOW SIR ...
980426 German Levitate review, Dee Pop's tour
980419 NME online report, Lathe of Heaven
980414 Wire Levitate review
980410 More Philly reviews, Black Cat DC, NY Brownies reviews. Loads of stuff on the Thule group. Select interview from January
980405 CIH, Loop Lounge, Middle East Boston, Plilly Troc reviews. Various press reports.
980331 Details of Live in Melbourne 82 CD, Smith on Smith spoken word CD, Nine Unknown Men, initial Coney Island High reports
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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