Posted by: Nick Walters | May 28, 2013

Following The Fall

The Fall in Cardiff

The Fall in Cardiff

Last week I attended 3 Fall gigs in a row. It was an amazing experience, and interesting to see a band on consecutive nights.  I posted the following reviews on The Fall Forum, but thought I’d share them with a wider audience.

So here goes:

Cardiff Globe, Wednesday 22 May

Setlist:

  • Victrola Time
  • Strychnine
  • Jetplane
  • Chino
  • Sir William Wray
  • I’ve Been Duped
  • Hittite Man
  • Bury
  • No Respects
  • Loadstones
  • Theme From Sparta F.C.
  • Encore 1: Kinder of Spine, Blindness
  • Encore 2: White Lightning, Mr Pharmacist (MES off stage for both!)

I got the coach from Bristol for this gig, the Globe is a fair hike from the bus/train station (40 mins walk!) but obviously it was worth it.

The Globe is a small venue but unlike other small venues it doesn’t seem small (if that makes sense). The staff are all very polite and accommodating and the owner (I think) thanked everyone personally as they left!

As my feet were killing me I went upstairs to the balcony area and sat down for the entire gig (20 years ago I’d have been right down the front).

Bobbie Peru were fantastic, they reminded me of Therapy? somewhat, in the guitar/bass interplay (though not the drumming). Most of the tunes were led by the most fantastically sinuous and sinister basslines. And the drummer’s from Wales, Barry in particular, but as the bass player said with a wide grin, “I’m not from Barry…”

The Fall came on at 2200 and played for an hour (including encores). Band on tip top form, there really is nothing better! Mark E Smith was the most relaxed and humorous I have ever seen him, has age mellowed him? He certainly seems very happy with the band! He fiddled with the keyboards as per, interfered with Pete’s guitar twice, punched a few cymbals (one of which came loose), and once adjusted the bass sound so it became horridly distorted (this was promptly re-adjusted to normal). He seemed to have a lot of trouble with microphones tonight, they often stopped working, so he had to use Eleni’s mic quite a lot, to his credit he never lost his rag. He did spend a lot of time sitting down, and off stage to the right, so for the last two encores he was heard but not seen, which was a bit odd, but never mind!

I managed to get a bus back to the bus station to get the 2320 coach back to Bristol, which was delayed by 5 mins – otherwise I’d have had to wait 2 hours for the next one, result! Didn’t fancy hanging around Cardiff bus station in the witching hour.

Bristol Trinity Centre, Thursday 23 May

Setlist:

  • Victrola Time
  • Hot Cake
  • Strychnine
  • Jetplane
  • Chino
  • Sir William Wray
  • I’ve Been Duped
  • Hittite Man
  • Psykick Dancehall
  • Encore: Reformation!

Slightly disappointing, not as good as Cardiff, as noted the set was remarkably short. Despite that Mark and the band continued to be on top form, and Mark in good humour. Bobbie Peru again supported and were again excellent. The bass drum was so loud I could feel it in my chest and skull, it was almost painful. I picked up their CD “Kill The Autopilot” and it is well worth it.

The last time I saw The Fall at the Trinity was in 1994 in support of Middle Class Revolt, with Karl Burns on drums, that was an excellent gig and I got to speak to Steve Hanley after! 19 years ago… blimey. Then as now the pre-gig pub was the Coach and Horses, back in ’94 it was a scary shithole, but now, under new management (after being closed for 2 years), it is great, seek it out if you’re in Bristol.

A few random observations:

For some reason the guitar amp was turned off during Sir William Wray (but Pete continued to play, did he realise?) which totally ruined the song (for me), especially as I’d bigged it up as a highlight to the friends I was with. Oh well!

During Chino some bastard farted, a real beefy-eggo, a dense miasma of suffocating guff that lingered for the entirety of the song. It smelt like the aftermath of a heavy meal of red meat washed down by many pints of real ale. Every time I hear Chino from now on I will be reminded of it. What’s more, during the encore (a storming Reformation!), the cunt dropped his guts AGAIN, and it was even more potent this time. If the person responsible is reading this, THANKS A LOT you tit, oh and see a doctor, no way did that odour emanate from healthy bowels.

Also during Reformation!, whilst MES was offstage, two twats mounted the stage and began to dad-dance in the most embarrassing fashion. They obviously thought they were cool but they looked like utter dweebs, the band totally ignored them and they were soon forcibly ejected from the stage. If they are reading this, well done guys! You were “in The Fall” for 45 seconds and can now die happy!

Psykick Dancehall was a real treat, a really faithful, accurate version, the crowd went mentoe and MES knew all the words. Highlight of the evening for sure.

So to sum up not the best or the worst, and a bit too short. Never mind, cos the Falmouth gig the next night more than made up for these shortcomings.

Falmouth Princess Pavilion, Friday 24 May

Setlist:

  • Victrola Time
  • Hot Cake
  • Strychnine
  • Jetplane
  • Chino
  • Sir William Wray
  • I’ve Been Duped
  • Hittite Man
  • Mr Pharmacist
  • Kinder Of Spine
  • Theme From Sparta FC
  • Psychic Dancehall
  • Encore 1: Container Drivers, Reformation!
  • Encore 2: White Lightning

Wow.

Of the three nights, this was by far the best (then Cardiff, and Bristol worst – or rather least good, it wasn’t actively bad).

The Cardiff and Bristol gigs were great, but this was something special – one of the best Fall gigs I’ve ever seen in my 25+ years of following the band!

Was it the sea air? Was it because it was the last nacht of the tour? There was certainly an “end of term” vibe about it. The Princess Pavilion is a lovely venue, very old school, more suited to tea dances than rock, situated in gorgeous gardens (currently being renovated). Interesting to note what other bands are due to play in the next couple of months – The Wedding Present, Ash, and, er, T’Pau.

The crowd was very welcoming, apparently it’s very rare for bands of The Fall’s stature to play Falmouth so the locals are grateful for anything they can get.

I didn’t bother with the support at all sorry to say, as 1) I was disappointed they weren’t Bobbie Peru and 2) my feet were aching from a whole day of walking around Falmouth and I wanted to save them for The Fall.

The intro tape seemed to go on forever tonight, and The Fall took to the stage at 2205 with, as before Victrola Time, then Hot Cake and then Strychnine. Mark was in very fine voice tonight, didn’t sit down or go offstage as much as Bristol or Cardiff, and engaged in much banter with the audience. Eleni however seemed miffed at times, dunno why.

No farts or dad-dancing twats tonight.

When MES handed the mic to the crowd (during Container Drivers) there was actually a good response for once, the chap knew the lyrics and sang along in a duet with MES.

Psykick Dancehall was again the highlight, especially Pete’s amazing guitar workout at the end which went on for joyous ages.

The set was a good long meaty ‘un with 2 encores: an amazing, long version of Container Drivers, then a storming (if short) Reformation!, and then White Lightning.

I dunno what it was about the night but there was a “buzz” about it which elevated it above the run of the mill into something truly great.

I’ve had a fantastic three nights following The Fall and am sad it’s over…. until next time – can’t come soon enough!

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Responses

  1. The pic I took at the Bristol gig makes a great background for your screen:

  2. I bet this pain in the ass wordpress thing won’t allow that code for the image:

    The Fall

  3. Nice pic! WordPress? Pain in the ass?!


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