Saw The Fall last night at the Carling Academy in Islington with my mate JamesK. I wasn’t expecting a great deal having been desperately disappointed with their performance supporting The Band [Captain Beefheart’s band] at the Royal Festival Hall earlier this year. But I’m quite loyal to The Fall having attended roughly one Fall gig a year for the last 16 years, a fact which has now developed some power of it’s own – I feel compelled to see them as a identifiable marker for my own life as much as anything. Some of their gigs are totally great and some are awful. Worse than awful. Last night they were great and could’ve wiped the floor with any of today’s wannabes. Marc E Smith looked old and weirder than ever [his wide-eyed ageing booze soaked head contorted as if sucking lemons] his band looked like teenagers; they “rocked, man”. They proved to be the tightest, hardest ryhthm section I have ever seen in a Fall line-up.
The Academy had a mixed crowd of young White Stripes-esque fans and older bearded and pierced Fall fans. Mostly men, of course. There was no real exuberance amongst this mix – they were happy to nod like muppets, me included. Despite this the atmosphere was good and the sound even better with the female keyboard player a total star – giving some glamour and pop interest to what could have lapsed into grunge. Not since Brix have the Fall sounded so instantly appealing. Last year’s album The Real New Fall LP Formerly ‘Country On The Click’ manages to capture the enthusiasm and energy of this new Fall but was not a total success, the new album due out on November 1st, entitled ‘Interim’, will hopefully be an improvement and include some of the songs we heard last night.