The Fall play:
4 May Leeds Irish Centre
5 May Birmingham Foundry
6 May Brighton New Concorde
9 May Sheffield University
10 May Cheltenham The Attic
11 May Cambridge Junction
12 May Southend Cinnery's
13 May Luton Venue 21
14 May London Kentish Town Forum
New album The Marshall Suite out on May 14 (or maybe March 29); Touch Sensitive single on Mar 15.
Dragnet has been reissued on Cog Sinister. Don't have any worries about this one, they've done a really good job on it. If you can't find it in the shops, it's 13 quid from Voiceprint or a bit less from Action. The release of Backdrop mentioned a couple of weeks ago was a red herring - it's just the old bootleg popping up again.
Ashton Wychwood, Tuesday 2 March 1999
I thought it was good Monday, but last nacht really amazed me. First time since SHanley left that I have thought that this band really does some great potential. Not sure about Mark's cardigan though! Anyone take any photos? Took along a Fall virgin hoping it wouldn't be like the Ritz debarcle (which was the last time I took a "non beliver" along). Fall virgin has now proclaimed MES a "genius". So I think he was impressed.
Setlist (possibly! Someone who can remember correct my mistakes and put these in the right order again!) :
Intro thing / Touch Sensitive / Bound Soul One / Shake Off / Antidotes #1 / Folding Money / The Joke / He Pep! / Ten Houses / Hurricane Edward / This Perfect Day / Everybody But Myself (On My Own) / Antidotes #2 / Powderkeg / And Therein... / Calendar / Mr Pharmacist / Ol' Gang / Folding Money (again)
i managed to get a setlist (after a bouncer refused and i whipped it when he wasn't looking)
(as written ... julia's handwriting on the front ... mark's on the back)
(crossed out) intro tape on my own
intro birthday song
(crossed out) spencer
on my own
the back has the address + directions in mark's handwriting and a list of the dats used ...he sang 'horror in clay' over the intro song
i enjoyed tuesday, but not as much as monday
i really think he should just finish off the rest of his head with the shaver ... if it was a mistake, you'd do it all over, wouldn't you ? not just a bit on the side and on top ...
anyway, he looked painfully thin in his cardi iwth no sleeves ... mr pharmacist was as awful as it always has been since they started doing it agian ...
i can't really talk afresh about this 3rd gig cos there will similarities with 1 and 2 ... they were excellent, though ... mark sang the words of pushin too far and green fuzz in one of the songs, but i can't remember which
during mad dog, he was knelt in front of the bass drum plucking pieces of paper that he'd clearly already out there out and seemingly reading the words off in a random fashion ...
hurricane edward made more sense to me tonight ... they don't use the trademwark drumbeat and it's all gone a bit free-form. he pep sounds much better with guitars on it now than it did with just the 3 of them. the drummer is limited but tight.
as i drove away, peel was playing touch sensitive and it sounded like there were mistakes in it ... i wasn't mighty impressed ... the backing vocals are cool, though ..
Back to the Fall review , now that I've sobered up.Last nights gig was excellent.The best of the 2 nights that I saw , by far.The atmosphere was good even though it wasn't a full house.The support band were average.The start of the Fall set took me by surprise. I was ready for the intro recording that was played on Sunday but it was completely different.A short music intro then MES booming out from the stage accompanied by just the DAT player.He sang the first song without the band and stood upright(not stooped - amazing) at the front of the stage.That was something that he didn't want to do on Sunday.The band then kicked in on the second song and it was a much more polished performance.Very little of the grunge type sound, this time.Julia seems to hold the band together and they even sounded like The Fall.Amazing!MES seemed purposeful and confident.Swaggering round the stage spitting and snarling into the mic.No untidy breaks in between songs.No shuffling of paper.
He didn't even wait for the drummer on some of the songs.Shouting the "count in" to the band quickly.A man with a purpose , indeed.I haven't seen him look so tuned in for ages.He even looked quite sober.You could actually distinguish some of the words , rather than the usual drunken slur.He even tried to yodel a few times.The set got underway on time 9:20 but was quite
short at 40mins.A couple of encore returns took it up to the hour.I used to like it when The Fall would do an hours set , then 20mins of returns but that didn't happen on any night at the Witchwood.For the record , the young lady doing an excellent job on sound mixer,DAT and Mindisc is Speth Hughes who at the tender age of 24 seems to have mastered the unpredictable nature
of a Fall gig keeping the feedback just where it should be.She gave me her "set list" which i have typed below.Attendence at the 3 gigs (info from Witchwood staff) was Sunday 200(sell out),Monday 120, Tuesday 110.Figures for Monday/Tuesday include The Fall's guest tickets.The set for Tuesday 2 March was:
1.Birthday Song *
14.On My Own *
15.Powder Keg *
Encores were Mister Pharmacist and another version of Foldin Money and something else that I can't remember.I think they may have missed one or more of the songs out.For the anoraks amongst you , the songs marked '*' were backing tracks(DAT ect) that were used instead of/as well as the band.I believe The Fall are touring soon to support the new album.Hope they come toa town near you. Phew! Thats it
I found the Monday night gig quite a harrowing experience. MES looked so ill, and was INCREDIBLY nervous (shuffling papers, winding the mike lead, playing with jewellery etc). There were flashes of genius, but I spent most of the time wanting to get up on stage and shake some sense into MES (not to mention tune up Julia's guitar).
The bass player was fantastic. Definitely from the hanley school of heads-down, no-nonsense playing. Sadly, I felt the drummer lacked any real character (to be fair, it's not an easy job to fill, considering the calibre of your predecessors).
From the sound of the reviews, it looks like Monday was the least interesting of the three gigs. Ho hum...
In conclusion - harrowing, but hopefully an indicator that things are slowly starting to come together again (judging from the review of Tuesday).
Graham C posted up the following, which has previously appeared in The Biggest Library Yet http://members.tripod.com/~GColeman/thirteen.html
FALLING THROUGH TIME
Last summer, as part of John Peel's Meltdown 98, the London Musicians Collective were awarded a month-long license to broadcast Resonance Radio to central London. This consisted of a host of fascinating programmes, including on consecutive weeks, hour-long shows entitled Falling Through Time, offering a history of the Fall presented by Grant Showbiz, featuring "interviews, unreleased and live tapes and lots of great music". Grant's love of the Fall shone through clearly and his commentary was equally rivetting.
This is a transcript of the first show, broadcast on 14 June 1998.
JOHN PEEL: (over intro to Hit the North) I've been listening to records ever since my Dad gave me his record collection - the Savoy Orphans, Charlie Coombes, that sort of thing - when he came back from the Second World War. Since then I've had many favourites over the years - Frankie Laine, Gene Vincent, Duane Eddy, the Yardbirds, Otis Redding, Captain Beefheart of course, Country Joe and the Fish, Pink Floyd, Little Feat, the Faces, the Undertones, Lee Perry, Ranking Trevor, Diblo Davalla ... but The Fall have given me more pleasure, over a longer period of time, than any other band. And when people ask me why, I always say gnomically "They're always different, always the same". I'm not sure that that means anything but it sounds reasonably good. They're just the Fall - a band by which in our house all the others are judged.
GRANT SHOWBIZ: The Fall defy all genres. For a band to keep up over 20 years of art brilliance is unprecedented. From Live at the Witch Trials to Levitate, of the 40-odd albums floating around out there, 90 per cent of them are brilliant. Over the next two programmes I'm going to do a short historical trawl through the Fall's spectral beauty. Part One: 77 to 87.
Back in 78, I was introduced to the Fall by Mark Perry when he played me a test pressing of Bingo Master's Breakout. Throughout 77 Mark E Smith had been rehearsing with the Fall in their first incarnation - Tony Friel on bass, Una Baines on keyboards, Martin Bramah on guitar and Karl Burns on drums. This is a tune they were rehearsing in early 77 called Dresden Dolls.
(Dresden Dolls - same version as on the 7" bootleg)
MARK E SMITH: I wouldn't have formed the group if we related to anybody. I don't wanna be anybody, I don't wanna be David Bowie, I don't wanna be anybody. I wouldn't have formed the group if I wanted to be anybody. It doesn't interest me.
GS: By 78, personnel changes had already started happening in the band. Una Baines and Tony Friel had left and been replaced by Yvonne Pawlett and Marc Riley on bass. The sound was already starting to devolve away from the norm with these non-musicians joining the band Step Forward was still keeping faith with the Fall although they couldn't really understand them Kay Carroll, Mark's girlfriend at the time, had become increasingly influential in the band, taking over managerial roles and increasing the organisation of the group. This is Various Times - it features some beautiful spidery guitar work from Martin Bramah.
MES: I shout for the Fall, and I'm about to interview myself for my friend Grant in his bid to clean up the market interested in what emperors and latter-day art heroes like myself have to say. Hang on, I'll just get my line, I mean lines. (sniff)
GS: 79's personnel change involved Karl Burns giving up the drum seat and handing it over to Mike Leigh who played on the album Dragnet. His style was far quieter and more in the rockabilly genre than Karl's. The former road crew of Steve Hanley and Craig Scanlon came into the band, Steve Hanley taking over bass duties from Marc Riley who'd moved onto guitar when Martin Bramah had left and Craig Scanlon joining on second guitar. Mark is often portrayed in the press as a dour reactionary whereas there is a wonderfully warm spiritual side to him. I think this comes through on this track, Before the Moon Falls.
(Before the Moon Falls)
MES: ... for various reasons In fact there's a fanzine interview with him and this is, I quote, they asked him about The Fall's relationship with drugs and he says ... he says (laughing) "let's get this straight. Drugs have killed and maimed thousands of people and it's about time so-called working class heroes stood up and said something about it. Well, Mike was always a good contrast to the band....
GS: By 198,0 The Fall had fallen into the clutches of Rough Trade, a far more suitable label than Step Forward. They were continuing their touring around England, playing to 300-400 people in tiny clubs up and down the land. Nobody seems to notice the humour in the Fall - this song is a song about Jesus coming back from the North.
MES: I won't bring up the 18 million teddy boy deaths caused by the landing craft invasion in 1983.
GS The band are now starting to move way from their Manchester roots and the next album is recorded in London - Slates. This saw the arrival of Paul Hanley on drums, replacing Mike Leigh. We did our first US tour...
MES: We've got a good following in California, believe it or not - massive. Fanatical. It's funny, Americans are ... you're carrying 20 different countries there in one country. For instance we went to Cleveland and they hated our guts ... which I was very proud of.
GS: As with most Fall tracks, Mark would change the Lyrics for each take. We did several takes for this song which included the line "showbiz mimes, minute detail", a kind of line I liked. Sadly, the best lyric had the line "showbiz whines, minute detail". (Leave the Capitol)
The area where Mark was born and raised, Prestwich in Salford, has been an inspiration for the Fall over the entire 20 years. Its weird architecture and odd people have popped up in songs over the years.
By now the band have gone up to two drums, with Karl Burns returning. This is a song about the people who lived downstairs from Mark and Kay.
(Joker Hysterical Face)
MES: It still stands to this day. I don't have any musos in the group, I never have had. Every musician is self-taught or a non-musician.
GS: I spoke to Rex Sergeant, the Fall's long-standing sound man and producer about his first meetings with the Fall.
What was your first awareness of the Fall?
REX SERGEANT: It's the New Thing - I was still at school and it was one of them records.
GS: Did you go to any of the live gigs early on?
RS: I used to go into Manchester quite a bit and it was funny cos it was one of the only bands I wrote to when I was younger. I wrote to Mark and he sent me a tape back from the Electric Circus in 1977 and it got posted through the door and me old man's dog ate the tape so I got a chewed-up tape!
GS: How did you first work with them and where?
RS: Well I used to work in Suite 16 which used to be Cargo Studios which is where the Fall have always done lots of work. I was engineering there and the geezer who was doing the session suddenly became ill.
GS: When did you move on from Suite 16 studios?
RS: When the smoke started coming out of the speakers and Mark decided he didn't want to work there any more, we moved on.
GS: Could you describe a typical recording day with the Fall?
RS: Er, well they didn't start very early. Everybody'd come in about dinner time, sit there, have their cigarettes, read the paper, then five minutes later they'd all be down the pub. About two hours later they'd finally come in and set up everything properly and start on a piece of music, write a really good tune, then Mark'd come in, get his spanner out, throw it in the works, then a bit of fire in the studio, a bit of hostility, a bit of war, a bit of tension built up and then they'd come out with a killer tune.
GS: The importance of the band is often ignored in the Fall. Who do you rate as Fall musicians?
RS: Steve and Karl and Steve and Simon, both rhythm sections have really stood out from everyone else The band are great, the band have got a lot more energy than a lot of younger bands.
GS: By 83, the Fall were touring the world, This is a live track recorded in New Zealand from 1983. It features one of the last performances by Marc Riley.
The next big change was the arrival of Brix Smith.
BRIX SMITH: It must've been in 1982, my friend Lisa was from New York and we went to this record store in Chicago called Wax Trax. We were looking through the record bins and she said "Oh my God! That's Slates by the Fall! Have you ever heard of the Fall?" And I said I'd never heard of them and she said: "they're so brilliant, they're like the gods of the East Village" and it was the most fantastic thing I'm ever heard and to this day it's my favourite Fall album.
GS: As a young woman from Chicago I'm surprised you could understand the Fall's Lyrics.
BS: All the sleevenotes, like "get out the Wet Lib File" and pink press threat" and "Prole Art Threat" and what was the other one ....
GS: "You skinny rats"...
BS: "You skinny rats" but it was also "This is real Bert Finn stuff' and I'm, like, "Bert Finn?! Bert Finn?! What does all this mean?"
GS: So you went through the same initiation ceremony as Craig, Steve and Marc Riley?
BS: Uh-huh The first tour I went on I think it must have been the spring of 1983 around Europe where I was the roadie and I didn't do anything but change guitar strings.
GS: Once you'd survived all this, what was the first song that you wrote?
BS When I met them in Chicago, Mark Smith had just sacked Marc Riley and anyway, he said: "Can we use one of your songs on our new album?" and I said "Oh my God!" To me, it was like the Beatles asking me to join and I said "sure" and they used this song on Perverted By Language which was called Hotel Bloedel.
MES: I don't relate to other groups, we never have. l'm coming round to this again, maybe I got lost a couple of years ago but .... it sticks out more now than it ever did.
GS: Having drifted through a couple of record labels, by 1985 the Fall had landed at Beggars Banquet. This was the beginning of a five year period in which they would work with the producer John Leckie. This period involved Karl and Paul leaving, to be replaced by a far more funky drummer, in Simon Wolstencroft. Also, Simon Rogers, a classically-trained musician, was taken on, on keyboards and guitar.
(Couldn't Get Ahead)
MES: You'd be surprised with what people were fans of The Fall - painters and all that. The bloke who does our covers, his paintings are in the Louvre in Paris. I'd never heard of him myself. He does the covers for nothing. It's unbelievable .
GS: Beggars Banquet really cherished The Fall. By 1986, Marcia Schofield had also joined the band, making the sound even fuller. They were being courted by radio and television, appearing on The Tube, and everything seemed on the up for the Fall.
MES: I mean, that's why The Fall were formed - nothing good around, y'know. I've had classical musicians in the band, I've had accomplished musicians, but they always say to me, like Rogers who used to be in the group - he was from the London Symphony Orchestra - he said the great thing about The Fall was: you have to unlearn everything.
GS: By 87, the Fall had lasted for a decade and had settled on a sort of sweet and sour pop, epitomised by tracks like Shoulder Pads. Mark could still throw a spanner into any works The Fall were prepared to put together. This is the last track of this session it features a crazed tune called Sleep Debt Snatches.
(Sleep Debt Snatches)
End of part one. Thanks to Steve Beeho.
Apparently Brix appears on an album by the Soup Dragon's guy Sushil Dade called:
Future Pilot AKA vs A Galaxy of Sound on the Sulpher label. Others who appear: Scanner, Jowe Head(!), James Kirk (of Orange Juice I am assuming) Alan Vega, 2 Lone Swordsmen and others.
Fuckfaces searching for rarities may be interested in this:
Annoying way of listing the stuff but there are some interesting things on sale at extortionate prices (30 quid for Line release of Hex End Hour!) Plenty of it, too.
990302 Ashton Sun and Mon reviews
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
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