- by Rob Jones Release Date: Label:
The Fall, eh? Getting the crowd to loft their hands in the air, whip those lighters out and sing-a-long with the huge hits! No way amigos! For the band furher Mark E. Smith and his sonic soldiers it is only anti-hero rebellion!
The Fall have played at a range of Cardiff venues over the last few years and in 2017 it is The Tramshed. As a result a significant turnout await a post punk pioneer who is now in his 40th year at the helm of this hugely influential act. So what do the audience get? Deep down dirty garage punk with flavours of everything else that the masses do not want. For this white noise is the antithesis of commerciality and those adoring disciples are all the better for it.
Raw repetition; guitar and bass amps turned up, down and off; microphones rammed in to equipment for feral feedback; Smith howling like a wounded Yeti and occasionally fiddling with a small keyboard akin to a fired up infant let loose on a new toy; and along the way three musicians play on as if their lives depend on it (and it is a known fact that their jobs will always be on a cliff edge!).
Smith has hired and fired several dozen musicians but the trio of Dave Spurr (bass), Pete Greenaway (guitar) and Keiron Melling (drums) have been at his side for several years. However, Mrs. Smith, Elena, is no longer a live fixture and as a result M.E.S. is now chipping in with his random shards of stage electronica.
For any debutant punter it may be a tad otherworldly as Smith growls, grunts and gurns but that is all part of the show and the seasoned supporters love it! A crowd of mostly middle aged men are ensconced in the antics of Smith who comically still has the price tag of his trousers hanging from his minimal waistline! Meanwhile, the sound bounces off each and every wall because this is a powerful aural attack that comes no more potent than Auto Chip 2014-2016. The bombastic beat battered the building with its raucous runaway rhythm and it was also one of only a handful of known tunes. The Fall are seemingly always on tour in advance of another annual album and the contents of the forthcoming New Facts Emerge (which is still a few months off release) was given a good going over. Let's say that as Smith is a month short of 60 he is not slipping in to a Las Vegas cabaret style!
We're are introduced to the likes of: Zaptrack, Reece Stick, 2nd house, 9 out of 10, Fol de Rol, Brillo and New Facts. There is plenty to look forward to as the 2017 long player looms! Meanwhile, the most recent single Wise ol' Man and other contemporaries such as Dedication not Medication, First one Today, Wolf Kidult Man and Fall Sound were woven in to the fabric. As many bands would also head right back to cross the landscape of their careers there is only one older song present and that was the anthemic 80's strike of Mr. Pharmacist where lead vocals were partly taken over by a zealous guy in the moshpit (and, he did a good job!).
The Fall leader will never compromise, and his troops whoever they are at any given time follow with military precision as their lieutenant delivers a paint without any numbers performance. The Fall must be seen and these facts emerge to confirm that demand.