I’m not very good at reviews, but here goes…
Whenever I go to see The Fall play, I’m always reminded of going on family holidays to Swanage with my parents and younger brother. The drive there seemed to take forever, but after what seemed like hours of ‘Are we there yet?’s, my Dad would say ‘Who’s going to be the first to see the sea?’ At this point, my brother and I would crane our necks over the two front passenger seats, looking intently at the horizon for that first glimpse of blue water, until eventually one of us would excitedly shout ‘There it is!’ and all the travelling was made worthwhile.
Mr Smith kept us waiting for over an hour before the band shambled onto the stage and began the riff for the opening (and title) track of the brilliant new Fall album You’re Future Our Clutter. All around me, people were craning there necks and looking past the person in front of them to get the first glimpse of the legendary Mark E Smith. After only a few bars, our patience was rewarded as he walked nonchalantly between the musicians and, wonder of wonders, treated us all to a beaming closed lipped smile! I’m sure I heard somebody shout ‘There he is!’
It was a great performance by a band I’ve been going to see since 1985!! Okay, it’s not exactly the same band, but it’s still The Fall and, as MES once pertinently pointed out: ‘If it’s me and yer granny on bongos it’s a Fall gig.’
The wrinkly one was quite playful tonight, giving us a great display of ‘onstage mixing’, cranking the guitar up to full blast during a couple of numbers, then cutting it out altogether during parts of others. The sound was good at the Academy and MES made full use of the acoustics. Poor Elena was left without a mic as the band thundered into Theme From Sparta F.C. but carried on regardless until her husband noticed he’d removed it and quickly replaced it with a cheeky grin on his face. In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing Mark E Smith smile so much during a performance, even playfully taunting the guitarist with his own mic when it was time for him tos sing backing vocals. We were even treated to a blistering rendition of Psykick Dancehall and a final encore of Strychnine.
On the way into the gig, my girlfriend and I were astonished to see a little cat outside the venue, milling around the throngs of punters outside. Even stranger, he looked exactly like the cat we had who died back in February. When we came out of the Academy, the cat was still there, so I scooped him into my arms, hailed a taxi and took him home. We’ve called him Spooky.