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The Fall PDF Print E-mail
Written by Neil Young   
15 11 2004

Newcastle Opera House

The FallWhat an attitude on these guys -- they acted like the audience wasn't even there. Lead singer Mark E. Smith casually paced the stage, one hand in his pocket, as he sang, screamed, screeched and preached over the band's pumping, menacing drone. Without traditional R&R dynamics, the Fall constructed an impressive wall of sound; the set ended with the guitarists crouched over their small amplifiers, wrestling the last sounds from their instruments. A few heads bobbed, a few mouths booed, but as Smith says, the Fall are "not about rock 'n' roll," but ideas. An intriguing and highly original band.

So wrote Guy Ewald, in the Feb'80 edition of New York Rocker, referring to The Fall's gig at the Palladium Theatre, New York, two months before. But apart from one clause ("a few mouths booed"), it's a perfect description of The Fall at the Tyne Theatre, one wintry Newcastle Thursday night 2 decades on.

nice organ!This was the exact same spot where, according to the band's semi-official website, The Fall made their north-east debut on 28th June, 1980. Support was local band 'Flesh' plus 'Clicks' and 'Cabaret Voltaire.' I was nine years old and fifteen miles away, watching BBC2's Horror Double Bill of Night of the Demon (1957) and The Ghoul (1975), oblivious.

autumn!This time Manc stand-up-punk-poet John Cooper Clarke provided truncated but entertaining warm-up (shame on you, solo heckler). The Fall started with 2003s Boxoctosis and ended with 1985s I Am Damo Suzuki, followed by a breakneck one-black-glove-a-la-Gene-Vincent White Lightning encore. After which the 'lead singer' apparently fractured his hip, presumably the result of a Smith-beer-snow-pavement interface malfunction. Highlights: Telephone Thing, Green-Eyed Loco Man, Mod-Mock Goth, Middle Mass, Divine's Walk Like a Man, Theme From Sparta FC, Mountain Energei, Mr Pharmacist, Way Round, Contraflow. And they played two other tracks as well.


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