Great to see Farmer Glitch yesterday evening, who I haven't seen since he recently got hitched. Thanks to him for dropping off a copy of this:
(Hey, Farmer, yr handwriting's starting to look like Smiff's)
I was somewhat cheesed I had to miss the recent Fall gig in Bournemouth due to poor health. Still, I did see them earlier in the year, tho' I haven't checked the latest line-up yet.
The reports that filtered back were pretty encouraging: Flinty said they were sporting a twin bass line-up (presumably The Eagle is being groomed as the next bass-player), while Spike wrote: "You missed a good gig, MES was on top form and the band were pretty good too, not as tight as the old lot, but getting there. MES did a fair bit of knob-twiddling and seemed to have it in for the drummer, knocking his cymbals over and hanging his coat on the drummers mic."
I was interested in Circle Brophy's comments; he said the band were 'transcendental' at points, moving the music up and down betwn different levels...I noticed this the last couple times I've seen them; songs were getting stretcheddddd out longer and longer; there was a quasi-Motorik/Trance-Rock feel to some of the material, albeit filtered thru a Rockabilly Vs. Acid Nuggets/Garage-Rock sensibility...it felt like, in a live context, at least, the band were moving closer to a Boredoms/Circle/Shit n Shine style shifting/elevating layer thing...yeah, I know, The Fall have been caning the repetition thing for, like, forever...but it's only the last year or so that I've felt them start to come close to punching a hole thru something...before, they've always just been content to merely keep moving forward, propelled by the inescapable momentum-logic of amphetamines, now it's like they want to levitate at the same time...(I'm talking purely about the live context here; the group in their various studio incarnations have (often) always slid, drifted & sliced their way thru 3- and 4-dimensional space when freed from the constraints of linearity. And Smith often seems to revel in pulling back the scenery and revealing the normally-hidden mechanisms of the recording process)...it feels, finally, like they're slipping free of their long-term prole-pose and moving toward into becoming more of an overt drugs band. Or, maybe moving back to that: The Fall kinda started out by hanging out in a flat listening to Can and taking mushrooms. Time to start getting really wasted when you go and see them, maybe.
The Farmer confirmed this when he pressed the CD in my hand and said: "Some of this sounds like Hawkwind." He's not wrong.
At the beginning, MES says "It's sooooo nice to be here on the Isle of Wight, at the Indian Summer Festival....Hyuuuuuuuuupt!" So I thought maybe this was a recording of their Bestival appearance, but Circ confirmed that, yeah, he was going on about L'Isle at the start...
There's some great locked-groove playing on "What About Us?" tho' the the band sound a little too sprightly for my liking; Smith needs to box their ears and start fining them...but "Fall Sound" does, in fact, resemble something from an early Hawkwind LP played at a wired n springheeled 45rpm...last time I saw 'em, in Bristol, I found myself down the front w/ a bunch of long-haired teenagers/early twennies just shaking our hair and fisting the air: this reminded me why. Some nice discordant No Wave gtr-dis-chords in the middle-section while Smith expresses mmummmmmbled disssscontentah, then the band slowly rise back up past him and the music just fucking pumps...the bass/basses sound like bike pedals turning, turning, turning...like a yellow-shirt'd Tour de Francer tackling a fast alpine ascent w. a heart bloated by benzedrine. It really is fucking fabulous stuff and I wish I'd been there.
My favourite bits of The Fall have always been when I've not been able to figure out what Smith is going on about: the more abstract, the better...I loooove it when he's reduced to gutteral animal grunts and yelps' random muttering and fractured prose.
Please bloody retire "Mr. Pharmacist", though...I know it's there as a cheap crowd-pleaser for people my age, but enuff is fucking enuff. It only works when he's sacked someone 5 minutes before show-time and some hapless grafter from the support band has to bluff his way thru something he's never heard before, leaving a trail of sonic carnage in his wake that Smith gleefully stumbles over and awkwardly surfs. Ditto: "White Lightning" and "F-oldin' Money."
"Blindness" is bloody incredible. That bass-line, it...it...off-tune keybrd meanderings...MES's muffled interjections...crowd-noise accidentally mixing itself into the vocals: this pisses over the half-hearted version on their last LP. There's a point where the bass seems to unravel itself, then the guitar comes in and lifts everything onto a new plateau. "Ooooo/woooo...what kind?" mutters Smith, then yelps what sounds like: "It's black! Ici, Moi! The cavalry...the cavalry..." Then later: "A pulsar w/ a lancer...you...yoooooooooouuuuooo danced.... youuuuuuooouuuuu smiled...." then a wave of smeary fuzz-gtr breaks over him like a sullen ocean of oil. Beautiful.
The set-list is, uh:
Theme From Sparta FC
What About Us ?
There's some photo's here.