The Fall play London Forum on 14 May.
New LP out on May 14; Touch Sensitive single on Mar 8.
Ashton Witchwood, Sunday 28 Feb 1999
Great venue (small and dark and a good bar) Great band. Great gig.
Get yer arses down there tomorrow - £10 on the door.
9.20 : The four piece Fall rolled on stage, the venue was small and the stage was too. This brought out everything good in them, however, the audience werent as wild as I would expect them to be. My first Fall gig sober - not sure about MES - he was well in control though and was 'up for it'. One thing before I continue, his hair! Van Gogh cut off his ear - MES shaves off all the hair from the nose side of the ear to the forehead on each side. He looked liked a convict or a prisoner of war or an abandoned stray cat. Looked like he had done it himself - something odd about the top too. Very odd.
Touch Sensitive / Bound Soul One / Antidotes (a short and 'funked up' version) / Shake Off / Perfect Day / Spencer Must Die / Ten Houses Of Eve / Calendar
All songs played well, we have a Fall we start calling the Fall again. Then came a new song that was bass driven - few guitars - nothing greatly out of the ordinary. MES hands out the mic just before the last few bars of the song - no one took him up on it. Then came the strange one, Everybody But Myself (sort of) different lyrics to the keyboard intro dat - like it was a bit of topical life of MES - instead of 'Everybody But Myself' it was 'On My Own' - I caught the lines 'I've been drinking too long' and something else but I cant read my scribble.
On My Own / Mr Pharmacist / Hurricane Edward (very good - with lots of drums and bonkers guitar - hammered bass etc) / Antidotes / F-Olding Money (little guitar) - MES walks over during the song and we get guitar riffs. Not the best performance of this track I've heard.
10.00 The band go off. A short while later they reappear (while the remix of So What About It? blerts out). They fire up Touch Sensitive again - probably hoping for a wilder reaction from the audience - it was more enthusiastic - we were treated to an extended version - I got the impression MES instructed them at the last minute and they sort of second guessed what he wanted; great fun. Then came the Joke - MES decided he would attempt to play the guitar - after a good 2 mins into the track - he still hadnt go the fucking strap over head. We get a few very loud bum 'chords'. He gives up and walks around as though he has lost something (this takes another minute) we then decided to stop looking and sing a verse or two.
The song ends, MES is out of sight as he was for a good 10% of the show - crouched I presume - we heard him ranting into the reverb distortion device - it was interesting. I think the mic got handed around a little at the front of the stage and that was that.
This is the best I have seen The Fall in many a year. The posters stating 'Three special nights - Mark E. Smith and The Fall' - and the Inch single was sold as Inch Feat. Mark E Smith are paving the way for the emphasis on Smith rather than the Fall. I can see The Fall tag becoming less relevant as we stride into the next millenium. Is this Smith's intention? The Mark E Smith band perhaps. Who cares - he is the Fall after all; I mean, in the current lineup, the longest servant started in the late summer of 98!) I quite like it being Mark E Smith, I think these new members dont feel like Fall members to me (good though they are) - more like a backing band - The Fall name should be preserved for the select club of band lineups of Hanleys and Scanlons and Rileys and yes even Brixes.
Please, someone take a camera and capture this new hair style.
i haven't read anyone else's reviews yet, but some points ...
1) what the FUCK has he done to his hair ? in combination with his shite stripey black shirt, he looked like a stereotyped mental hospital escapee ///
2) drummer plays like a different man than he used to ... excellent breakdown bit in the middle of ten houses ... i wouldn't have thought him capable of that a few months ago ...
3) guitarist ... i like him ... he's a knob, but stands up to mark and that's got to be good
4) NO JULIA !!!!!! - prayers answered for terry 'shagpiece' smith
5) bassist ... is not bad in the main ... plays calendar better than that lass did ...
6) met me old mate anthony outside who i used to play out with when i was 6
7) also in crowd : tracy BARRLORRRRRR
8) they were (in the main) rehearsed !
overall, the sound was crap to begin with and improved ... there was a group of about 4/5 songs midset (spencer/ten houses/that weird one just drums and bass ...) where i thougt they were outstanding and then there was some regualtion bobbins-ness ...
hurricane edward ... why did they bother ?
if anyone's going tonight/tuesday, get there early - they were on at 9.20 pm ////
From: Mark Donaghy
Just got back to Bradford after seeing the first of the Fall's 3 nights at the Witchwood at Ashton. After the appalling performance at Manchester's Ritz just after Christmas, this was the Fall back to top form. Superb sound and a great performance. The band gelled together really well. The renditions of Mr Pharmacist and F-olding Money were my personal highlights. Took a Fall virgin along with me who greatly enjoyed the night. Good support band, good beer and a top venue (about the half the size of your average Church Hall). MES was sporting a William Hague haircut. I couldn't see anyone on keyboards from where I was standing. Was there anyone? Only criticism was that the set only lasted an hour but then after their last performance I'm not moaning! To be honest, it was so good I reckon I'll be back there tonight.
Sunday 28 was indeed a great Fall gig.Its some time since I saw them(Roadhouse) and IMHO, they missed the 2nd drummer and keyboard player.To be sure , there was a lot of power in the performance but not quite the "in yer face" thunder of a six piece band.I know it would be difficult to pay such a band on the Witchwood's budget , so no grumbles really.The set was about 50 mins plus encores which took it to an hour.Passed quick though.The new band are very enthusiastic , but lack any sense of history as far "The Fall" way to play a song.I stood near the front and saw a lot of confused glances between the band at various points.The funniest bit was when MES was on his knees for about 2 songs , sorting out the various bit of paper that he brought on stage.He would look through them and screw some up , throwing them across the stage.Maybe its the only time he can find to do his correspondence. He then tried to drag the guitarist's amp off the cabinet , leaving it just balancing .It was 3 songs later before the guitarist noticed what had happened.His clothes looked straight out of the Charity Shop complete with shoes with holes in the sole.The rumour I heard was that he was doing the gigs cause he was skint , may be true.Frank is right he looks haggard .Like he's been living rough.I took along 4 Fall virgins with ages raging from 35 to 50! Everyone had a great night.The bar shut early, 10:30, but we found a nearby bikers pub that did A.T. Two special mentions must go to a) the girl on the mixing desk for an excellent job in difficult circumstances and b) the support band "Plastic Gun Alliance" who are the best band that I have seen supporting The Fall.They appear at The Witchwood headlining on April 1.Well worth a look.I'm going to give it another go on Tuesday
Ashton Witchwood, Monday 1 Mar 1999
sadly, julia is back. even more sadly (and i grit my teeth as i write this), the sound/playing was much imrpoved in comparison to last night...
some points ...
- mark sings a completely different set of lyrics to mr. pharmacist - drags band off stage half way through folding money due to tuning probs and leaves the offending instrument (julia's "AXE") on stage, still in an untuned state when they returned - good stab at "and therein" - hair didn't look so bad tonight ... almost as if it was intentional - met diw afterwards who had brought me some tapes ! top geezer ! - mark sang ten houses/masquerade over a new tune which sounded interesting.
overall, i thought it was very promising, (although some did not agree) there were a few great moments in there when i thought they were better than i thoguht i;d ever see them again ... but (and people may have a point when they say this), it's just not the fall, somehow, is it ? i look forward to the lp, though ...
From: Mark Donaghy
Well only 80 made the pilgrimage to the Witchwood for tonight's gig (which was about a third to a half of last night's attendance) Mark was moodier than last night and there were at least three ten minute breaks and MES sang a few of the songs off stage. F-olding money was halted half way through by MES with the announcement of 'back in 10 minutes' having been on stage for not much longer. Mr Pharmacist was sung without the words 'Mr Pharmacist' mentioned. Comedy highlight had to be when he was trying to sort out the dodgy mikes and pulled the mike-stand so that it hit him on the forehead. For a bit he was shouting into two mikes- very Fallesque.
But worry not, Julie was back on the keyboards tonight and got the best reception from the 'crowd'. Neville was modelling another in his range of 'pervert' t shirts.
The running times on mixing desk had the Fall down for a 9.20pm start (as last night) but it took until 9.40pm for MES to walk off the street and in through the front door of the venue for a start half an hour later.
Overall a poorer performance than last night but I enjoyed it for its intimacy.
From: Pete Collins
Band on stage at about 9:50. Julia was back for this one (before anyone starts on about her, the crowd seemed very appreciative that she was there). MES haircut IS very interesting.
Band semed quite tight for first few songs, but during F-Olding Money he takes them off ("We're having a few teething problems...back in 10 minutes"). After only a couple of minutes they return however, sans MES. When our man comes back out he can't find the mike, so an instrumental "Spencer" follows. Roadie finds new mike, MES does an almost unrecognisable "Ten Houses" from behind speaker stack, but returns to the stage for "And Therein..." !!! Pisses off again after "The Joke", taking Tommy with him. Adam, Nev and Julia run through "This Perfect Day" before leaving. All back for a couple more songs, then off again. I honestly thought that wouold be it, but whilst I was having a piss "He Pep!" strikes up. Thought that the band were better in the encore than they had been all night. Tommy messes up start of "Pharmacist", much to the amusment of MES.
Setlist (I think I've got this in the right order) :
Touch Sensitive / Bound Soul One / Shake Off / Antitodes / F-Olding Money / Spencer Must Die (instrumental) / Ten Houses of Eve / And Therein... / (new bass driven song) / The Joke / This Perfect Day (Nev, Julia and Adam) / Everybody But Myself (Nev and Julia) / Antidotes (again) / Calendar / He Pep! / Mr Pharmacist / This Perfect Day
From: David Williams
Subject: <fallnet> Ashton postscript
.. in which The Fall confirm their resurgent capacity for polarising their own audience. One non-Fallnet visitor, whose first post-Hanley experience this was, desribed Monday's show as 'disgraceful - how can they call themselves The Fall'. To another it was their best Fall gig in years. This is the very essence of The Fall, surely?
For me this was a punk band playing before an audience too old to pogo. Forget Dave Bush (sorry, Adam), this band needs Yvonne Pawlett! Julia's return on Monday did nothing to diminish the sense that it could all Fall apart gloriously at any moment .. and sure enough it did. My reading of the first walk-off was that Julia began improvising on keyboards (possibly because her guitar was out of tune), and Mark was having none of it. Interesting, since Nev seems to be afforded considerable leeway to improvise.
Despite, and possibly because of, the above, I found the first two nights hugely enjoyable. Marks' stage antics were hilarious, although I can quite understand why they could be equally irritating. We were treated on Monday to two instrumentals (This Perfect Day, Spencer), while Mark scrabbled around looking for his favourite mic, and which Tom eventually handed to him from the drum stool. We then got the crouched behind the PA stack treatment for 'My Shoes Are Very Interesting', aka Ten Houses, played breakneck without the DAT track, complete with a snatch of Race With The Devil (which, incidentally, he has used in each of the last 5 gigs - though not necessarily in the same song - and which I also noticed recently in a 1985 version of Damo Suzuki!).
Minus point: only one new song since the December gigs, a rather nondescript thing called 'Inevitable'.
Plus point: I would confirm the view expressed by others that Tom is maturing nicely into a top Fall drummer. Julia played fine, too.
Thanks to Pete Conkerton, (more or less) the whole transcript of Hey! Luciani is now up at:
According to HMV (via Stuart):
12": Touch Sensitive, Behind the Counter (live), Glam Racket (live)
CD: Touch Sensitive, LA (live), Gut of the Quantifier (live)
The blurb written by the new releases twat said "Surprisingly good new single from the ever-controversial Mark E. Smith and his cohorts, although the line-up will doubtless have changed at least twice by the time the record comes out" or something like that. I presume by "surprisingly good" the short back 'n sides cockney brylcreem lad really means "surprisingly poppy."
apparently no one else but me was listening to Peel on Thursday. He has a copy of the forthcoming single and played a storming version of 'Antidote' with what sounded like orchestral backing from this Looks like whoever reported those live B sides had 'molto wonkio informatione' as Alan Shearer might say
There's a Monks article in this month's PSF. "Bands like the Beastie Boys and the Fall claim them as an influence. Somehow that doesn't hold water." they say http://www.furious.com
taken from the weekly new releases list of Forced Exposure http://www.forcedexposure.com )
INCH FEAT. MARK E. SMITH: Inch CD (REG 027 CD). "Two young Mancunian producers, Simon Spencer and Keir Steward, got together with one Mark E. Smith and came up with 'Inch'. The result was so good that the NME pressed up on copy on a white label and sent it to John Peel (Fall fan #1) as a birthday present. He made it #7 in his best tracks of 1997, and now 'Inch' is made available to the public. 'Inch' features crunching beats topped by Mark E. Smith's inimitable vocals, and comes with mixes by Val Hooligan and Dose, with whom Mark released another memorable collaborative single a couple years ago." $10.00
INCH FEAT. MARK E. SMITH: Inch 12" (REG 027 EP). $10.00
"Basically, my biggest fear is that I'm turning into Sheena Easton. I've been in America too long. I asked for a 'jelly' doughnut recently without thinking! If I talk about 'fags' people look like they want to hit me! 'Fanny' is coming to mean 'arse' and not 'c***' in my head! And one seems to have the 'c***' conversation here more than in England: explaining it to stupid people, the majority of whom don't have a 'c***' anyway, so I don't know why they even start.
"'C***' is a far better and nobler a word than 'honeypot' or 'front bottom' or 'vag'. It's-a-fucking-c***!" Shirley crashes her head against the sofa. "I'm being perverted by language!"
-Select Magazine,June 1998
From: jack deguiseppi
Subject: <fallnet> Everett True/Courtney Love
In thiw week's "The Stranger" - art/music/news weekly from Seattle. ET interviews CL. Check out the following Fall Content.
ET: What's with your Stevie Nicks obsession?.
CL: What Stevie Nicks obsession? "Go Your Own Way" is one of the best white pop songs ever written, absolutely. There are songs on Rumours that are genius, but there's as much [The Fall's] Hex Enduction Hour as Stevie Nicks stuff on Celebrity Skin. It's what I choose to show people. I like to put it through my insane and absurd filters. "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys is a fucking amazing song. I'm not talking about crap Eagles songs. I like "Hotel California" for the insanity of it, and the fact I once made out with someone to it... but this record is also pure -- as in Ian McKaye pure, "I'm going to listen to these Minor Threat records now, I'm going to listen to Howlin' Wolf" pure
Subject: from alt.music.pere-ubu...
From: Bruce T
It's pretty odd to see that Mr. Pa Ubu himself, David Thomas, is the most frequent poster in alt.music.pere-ubu, but never mind that - here's a recent post which might be of interest to FallNet.
David Thomas <email@example.com> wrote:
> The Inertia Tour in the USA has advertized concert dates featuring Pere
> Ubu. We withdrew from this concert series in August 1998 after he
> bounced checks paid to us. Since then we have consistently told the
> promoter that we would not participate. He seems to have ignored us.
> Caveat emptor!
If anyone has time on their hands, and feels like checking out exactly how flaky the Inertia operation appears to be, have a look at their bulletin board at
to read about venues who know nothing of the dates, bands who know nothing of their presence on the tour, and dozens of fans screaming 'hoax'.... Incredible
990221 LP announcement, Inch reviews
990214 not much
990207 various stuff
990128 Peel Sessions CD review
990118 Uncut pieces, Marcia interview, NZ art collection
990110 NME LA2 review, modern rock sociology
990103 Manchester Ritz reviews
981220 Bristol F&F and London LA2 reviews, cut-out-and-keep guide to recent reissues
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
Return to The Fall homepage