The Fall play Manchester Ritz on 29 December. Tickets GBP 10 plus Booking from Piccadilly 832 1111 Virgin, HMV or Ticketmaster.
Bristol Fleece and Firkin, 14 Dec 1998
From: Barrie Francis
The Fall plus Assembly Communications
...place was full.
Allright; reminded Id of The Cure around 17 Seconds era;bassist had a Tortoise T-shirt on;singer reminded me of Patrick out of Kitchens of Distinction;obviously local boys as their 5 mates shouted their heads off after every song;I've seen much worse headliners.
22:02 Lights out
22:26 Drummer,who's been behind his kit for about 5 mins,joined by Julia and girly bassist,go into usual instr bit which serves only to make me long for the Glummer Twins.At length MES comes on,song is then a truncated versh of 'Antidote'. MES then obviously departs from setlist by yelling out start of '10 Houses'.Band cope well. He Pep then followed by Touch Sensitive,which was a highlight for me.MES has spent the whole time tangling leads,farting about,but at least he's been singing.After another song-can't remember what,Neville the second guitarist comes on which is a cue for MES to redouble his niggling attacks on Julia.During Calendar he sends her off stage.Rest of band look at each other,Nev shouts' Ol'Gang'? but MES makes 'em do F-Olding Money.Somewhere in there as well was Spencer,I think.And This Perfect Day,deffo.
23:02 MES ushers band off.People yell for more,abuse etc,after a few mins a hairy roadie comes on and sez 'The band are having an intermission,back soon'. Julia's keyboards disappear.
23:10 Whole band reappear and raise spectre of doing whole gig again -Folding Money is redone,and Antidote,I think...though that may have been reprised in the main set.
23:33 'The Joke' finishes,and so does the gig.
We go home. Standard gig really.
From: David Williams
And so the pantomime season got underway in Bristol last night ... he's behind you!!
Fleece & Firkin set list+
Spencer - another re-working (new guitarist, presumably Nev Wilding(?), gets on stage)
Levitate (Julia is red-carded and sent to the dressing room for playing too slowly)
Band leave stage, road crew remove keyboard. Ten minutes later band return with Julia, this time with only a guitar to hide behind ...
Bound Soul One
This Perfect Day
Mark in good form, looking well - chatty and witty - except when throwing a wobler during Levitate - snide comments about 'miserable bands playing too slowly', '... mumble, mumble, Christmas concert .... I brought these people along ... and they're are doing very well'.
Otherwise a shambolic performance a la St Bernadettes. Hi points being the newer material. Low points - the band not knowing which song Julia thought she was playing, so turning it into F-Olding Money (again) as that was the nearest fit, even though Mark thought it was Perfect Day! So Mark introduces the next one 'This one is called This Perfect Day, when the band remember how to play it ...'
Some good housekeeping by Mark - picking up the stray glasses and bottles and putting them neatly at the side of the stage; pages and pages of lyrics; also collecting together as many microphones as he could find and lacing them all over the drums to give He Pep the beef that it needs.
.. sounds peculiar? I'll say!!!!
The first Antidotes, which opened the set, at the Fleece & Firkin last night was the same track that appeared on the set-list for the second night at St Bernadettes as 'Bounce' - only then it was instrumental.
The second Antidotes was as performed in the Peel Session. The two versions are unrelated musically, but the vocals/words were more or less the same. The 'Bounce' version is a .. er .. bouncy/poppy number and very good, too.
Antidotes and Bounce, together with Bound Soul One, Shake-Off and Touch Sensitive were the highlights for me - and these, perhaps with the two covers, F-Olding Money and This Perfect Day, I guess will probably form the core of the next album. Something to look forward to.
The new guitarist adds some much-needed, harsher, texture. This new band needs a half-dozen or so more new songs in order that they may ditch completely the Hanley-era material, which generally fares less well in the hands of the new line-up - Spencer being a possible exception. Otherwise some solid rehearsing wouldn't go amiss!
Antidotes And dozy votes And antidotes
His chewing gum is chewed The chewer is persued And in the house garden Is shotgun
And antidotes And dozy votes
And over and over again That Sting man I'm sick to the guts of him And a part of your town
Antidotes And dozy votes Antidotes And dozy votes.
London LA2, 16 Dec 1998
Great stuff, I thought.
Er they had a new bass player, some bloke in leather kecks who probably did alright considering the circumstances. Bit exposed tryna play Calendar mind.
New guitarist, same as on the Peel session, takes front stage. Smirking and chucking himself about throughout, apart from when he just does a Hamlet ad in Calendar, quietly wreathing himself in smoke. He sounds like he did on the session - loud and spiky, which has been sorely missing for a while. The new stuff sounds great, but he obviously isn't much interested in the old. Good thing too - as Id sez, get rid of it.
MES all smiles and jokes - we're definitely back to the days of him adding loads of extra stuff to the lyrics. Cracked up when new guitarist got showered with beer after he'd sprayed a can over the front row.
F-olding Money's the great crowd pleaser, and indeed we got it twice. Bound Soul One also a cracker. Worst Ol' Gang I've ever heard.
Real good fun - shambolic in parts (that's good shambolic), and the bass was pretty ropey, but I thought it were great.
.. yeah, maybe, but tonight was the best Fall gig I've seen in a very long time. The transformation in the space of 48 hours is nothing short of astonishing! This was a big, bold, noisy, exhilarating show.
Rich has already got most of the key points. What I will add is that the dismissal - if indeed that is what it was - of Karen Leatham was a master stroke. Not that Karen did anything wrong - she just didn't click with Tom Murphy. Tonight we got a proper rhythm section again - whoever the new bass guy was, he did bloody well to get such a good feel for the material in such a short space of time. Not flawless by any means, but the solidity of the rhythm section enabled the new guitarist (Nev?) to take the lead with his slashing guitar noise - which was great - leaving Julia to pad out around the edges with bits of keyboard and rhythm guitar, which suits her better than being centre stage.
The main man, though, was in superb form again and the new material was stunning. Antidotes (twice, extended version for second encore), Bound Soul One and Shake-Off are little gems.
Great gig, make no mistake!
This Perfect Day
Bound Soul One
Rich again, the day after:
Happy memories still.
The guitarist was really larking about, chatting to the audience at the front and screaming at odd moments. First cocky Fall guitarist since Riley (or maybe Brix I suppose). The guitar sound's a bit like Inch, that kinda industrial tinge.
They were playing with some borrowed equipment, courtesy of Gold Blade (as MES left the stage, he invited the audience to help themselves) so that accounted for the furry bass amp. The place was full.
Tom has three more drums than he needs. (DIW: Each time (of 3) I've seen Tom play he's used the support band's kit, so maybe he has three drums too few!)
Touch Sensitive Great, as usual, and especially with the crankly(TM) extra noise on top of Julia's somewhat softer strumming
This Perfect Day Alright, with the same guitar riff as the session
Bound Soul One This song's got such a good repeating groove - the crowd all bounce along, and this should be The Fall's next 8 min+ song
Shake-Off Had more body than the session, and it's a horrible noise. (DIW: Eat your heart out Craig!)
F-Olding Money As I said before, the real crowd pleaser. New guitarist lets the crowd play the guitar for a few bars.
Antidotes Much less aimless than the session (doesn't just sound like Hip Priest anymore) and it all fits with the rest of the sound now. Excellent really
Ten Houses Can't remember if the tape actually started for this. Good guitar additions, and a load of joking around at the piano break.
Calendar Intro'd something like "And here's another festive song". Bass player makes a decent stab, Smith laughing again (DIW: Yep - Septober was a good month, apparently, and 'October merged into Christmas', which just about sums up the way I feel at the minute.)
Spencer (instr.) I didn't recognise this at all - thought it was a newie. Was this when the guy with the video camera came onstage in Smith's absence and got embarrassing cameos of all band members? (DIW: Maybe Mark didn't either - hence the instrumental and Mark telling Tom to play Spencer and Hurricane after Mr P. The distinctive slide bass part was omitted completely and the (almost subliminal) guitar riff of the original was dominant.)
Mr Pharmacist Very funny, and not at all bad. The recent tradition of ham-fisted solos is, I reckon, tremendous. (DIW: Personally I found this to be a bit lame - the low point of the set.)
Ol Gang I think everyone else wanted to play something else. Guitarist looks bored and plays the riff from Perfect Day, not sure what Tom was up to, Julia on guitar, MES singing Ol' Gang over the top of it all. (DIW: This was when Mark had been telling Tom to play Spencer and Hurricane only the crowd shouted out for Ol Gang, so Mark goes, ok, Ol Gang - I'm not sure the band were ready, so we got an ..er ..interesting interpretation.)
The Joke Er alright probably. Smith comes on and sings the first verse without a mike. Extra mike goes into audience for someone to howl "the joker" at every opportunity, at which point everyone looks embarrassed. Don't attempt to add backing vox people. (DIW: .. yeah, and 'Five years in a PC Camper', which was quite an amusing proposition the first time... but not the tenth!)
Powderkeg Nowt special (DIW: Another song that benefitted from the caustic guitar overlay, I thought.)
F-Olding Money Another semi-instrumental
Antidotes Stage lights went on and roadies started packing up, when Nev comes back to announce they're doing one more. Into a brilliant Antidotes without Julia. Guitarist shouts half-a-dozen times to turn the lights off (so he knows the ropes then). MES complains there's no mike, then ignores it when the roadie scurries out, picks up the one centre stage and offers it him. Grinning his face off. (DIW: Quite superb, this was The Fall at their best - at this moment they were a match for The Fall of any era .. yes, THAT good!)
Smith's comments to mine later: something about a balding middle-aged man at the side of the stage (he was getting all theatrical at this point, very wherefore art thou Romeo); summat about ex-Gold Blade fans; oh, loads of extras.
Made anyone jealous enough yet?
I don't want to come across as churlish, no, sod it, I will... I was kind of expecting to hear more new stuff in view of the fact that he's been going on about getting a new album out. So hearing half a dozen old numbers, and two cover versions, hearing two of the songs played twice, I was a bit disappointed at the time. I am shocked to hear that they played Spencer. If that's what it was, it was horrible. It sounded like the new Fatboy Slim single, which sounds like the Stone Roses. Also they struggled to make the set last 50 minutes.
So my worries as to whether he has got rid of some creative and prolific individuals (and Tommy) and replaced them with session musicians persist.
However, the performance was not one of a bunch of session musicians. I thought the rhythm section was outstanding, and Tom Murphy is a real Fall drummer. The guitar noise was pretty scintillating (but this guy is getting away with some poses that I never thought MES would allow). I thought they did a marvellous job on Powder Keg and Ten Houses. Don't remember hearing much of Julia's stuff though - I think the guitar was just very loud. The whole thing was oddly punk rock, and the techno element seems to have been well and truly sidelined.
And MES was alive and well, though why he needs to carry loads of lyric sheets around these days I don't know. They'll only get stolen before he has a chance to use them.
It was odd seeing them without the usual tension between singer and band, and I hope it isn't going to get all cosy. But looking back it was a pretty sharp gig.
A welcome cut-out-and-keep guide to recent reissues by Rick.Rosencrans
>I know nothing about what reissues to avoid and which are decent.
From memory, so someone correct my mistakes and omissions.
THE DREADED RECEIVER COMPS
Oswald Defence Lawyer
Fiend With A Violin
Various previously unreleased studio/live stuff. No overlapping tracks amongst these five. The last two had some fairly interesting moments, actually. At least these aren't complete ripoffs like THE REDUNDANT COMPS (see below).
"NEW" LIVE RELEASES (1995 - 1996 shows)
In The City
Fifteen Ways To Leave Your Man
Intermittently entertaining, though Fifteen Ways has a studio track misleadingly mixed in, as I recall.
Another Side Of The Fall (3CD) = Oswald + Sinister + Fiend
The Less You Look The More You See (?) (2CD)
These are all various permutations of the Receiver comps and the new live albums listed above. Smile has some studio tracks from LUS and a couple of other already available studio lps thrown together for no apparent reason. Forget all of these. I stupidly bought Archive, but wised up before pissing away anything else...
NEWLY ISSUED LIVE CDS OF OLDER MATERIAL
Fall In A Hole
Live To Air
Live Various Years
Fall In A Hole has skips mastered from the vinyl as well documented. Still, if you don't want to spring for the vinyl, it's bearable. Sound and performance on Live To Air aren't as good, but no skips, and somewhat different track listing. These two are worth owning. Various Years Live really kicks, despite the crappy cover art - the great sound and performance - the best reissue/new issue of old stuff over the past two years. Nottingham 92 is on it's way to me right now, but general opinion is not enthusiastic.
REISSUES OF STUDIO LPS
Live At The Witch Trials
Room To Live
Palace Of Swords Reversed
Perverted By Language
Witch Trials sucks (the mastering that is). Sound on Grotesque is a little muffled, but includes the four single sides from that time and good artwork, so it's a go. Room To Live is mastered from vinyl, but well done, and includes a four song bonus live CD - a go. Palace Of Swords sounds a little muffled compared to the original release, but also includes a four song bonus live CD - good to pickup if you don't have the original LP/CD issue. Perverted By Language has four contemporary single sides plus Pilsner Trail (Studio) - good sound on the album portion at least. A winner.
Definite Winners: Live Various Years, Live To Air, Room To Live, Perverted By Language.
Don't forget The Post Nearly Man.
In the Xmas spirit, I'd like to remind you all of the X-M.E.S. With the Fall page I did up a couple years ago which is at
It includes all the Xmas-related Fallsongs up to that point (have there been any since that I should add?) as well as a hilarious short essay 'Under MES' Tree This Year' by our late friend A.J. 'Rick' Richardson.
It needs to be updated, and perhaps I will update it but who knows. If anyone has any additional Xmas songs or FallCon that you think I should add to it, please let me know!
Also - for some instant wall/wrapping paper, click on the big X.
Grimm of the week
The Lord God had created all animals, and had chosen out the wolf to be his dog, but he had forgotten the goat. Then the devil made ready and began to create also, and created goats with fine long tails. Now when they went to pasture, they generally remained caught in the hedges by their tails, whereupon the devil had to go and disentangle them, with a great deal of trouble. This enraged him at last, and he went and bit off the tail of every goat, as may be seen to this day by the stump.
Then he let them go to pasture alone, but it came to pass that the Lord God perceived how at one time they gnawed away at a fruitful tree, at another injured the noble vines, or destroyed other tender plants. This distressed him, so that in his goodness and mercy he summoned his wolves, who soon tore in pieces the goats that went there. When the devil observed this, he went before the Lord and said, your creatures have destroyed mine. The Lord answered, why did you create things to do harm. The devil said, I was compelled to do it, inasmuch as my thoughts run on evil. What I create can have no other nature, and you must pay me heavy damages. I will pay you as soon as the oak leaves fall, come then, your money will then be ready counted out.
When the oak-leaves had fallen, the devil came and demanded what was due to him. But the Lord said, in the church of constantinople stands a tall oaktree which still has all its leaves. With raging and curses, the devil departed, and went to seek the oak, wandered in the wilderness for six months before he found it, and when he returned, all the oaks had in the meantime covered themselves again with green leaves. Then he had to forfeit his indemnity, and in his rage he put out the eyes of all the remaining goats, and put his own in instead. This is why all goats have devil's eyes, and their tails bitten off, and why he likes to assume their shape.
981214 NME & MM short pieces
981206 Dazed and Confused interview
981130 Nottingham 92 sleevenotes
981123 NME and MM news items
981116 nothing special
981109 Peel session reactions
981102 Melody Maker singles review, Action Records details
981026 St Bernadette's Hall reviews, Astoria ticket details, Nottingham 92 album
981009 NME interview, TBLY #13
981005 F-olding Money lyrics, couple of PNM reviews, Simon Rodgers' career
980927 Live Various Years details/review, 1994 interview
980920 more snippets
980914 bits & pieces
980907 NME interview, Post Nearly Man reviews, Mojo's How to Buy The Fall, Something Beginning With O
980831 Inertia tour details
980825 various snippets
980817 Observer interview, Manchester and LA2 gig reports
980811 Melody Maker interview, Live Various Years details, previews. Rick.
980802 Spoken word LP press release, Northern Attitude key & sleevenotes, Edwyn Collins, TBLY #12 details
Old stuff: Nov 1997 - July 1998
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