Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mark E. Smith & Ed Blaney-Westhill Community Centre, Brighton (14/02/09)

If you pegged this side-project as an inebriated and half-assed self-indulgence, your arrow could not have landed farther from the tree. While the studio recordings may display some of the aforementioned qualities, this intimate live document is nothing short of astonishing. Capturing Smith—for the first time in his career—in a relaxed acoustic setting before a handful of acolytes, he manages to steer the proceedings straight into a thicket of avant freak fringe weirdness, balancing some of his finest pure singing to date with toy keyboard and xylophone (!) overlays on the Blaney pieces that wholly recontextualize the material. Blaney’s old school melodicism is an ideal sauce for the main course of Smith’s absurdist utterances, and the pervasive d.i.y. ethos on display transforms “Real Good Time Together” into one of the few Velvets covers that avoids mimicking the sound but instead manages to net the esprit du corps of the original. But the real highlight here is “Mettle Claw,” as bleak and harrowing a view of contemporary English society as “New Puritan,” and every inch that songs equal. The recording on offer here is also a superb one. A soundboard of sorts from the Consortium, this is crisp, clear, with virtually zero audience noise.

01 The Train
02 Mettle Claw
03 When We Were Young
04 Real Good Time Together
05 No Retreat
06 Hustle (with MES singing lyrics to “Transfusion”)
07 Durasti
08 Luddite
09 Transfusion
10 My Ex-Classmate’s Kids

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Fall-Fall In A Field (excerpts from two festival performances: Glasgow, Scotland 09/09/06 and Stradbally, Ireland 09/09/07).
To mark the end of my own summer holiday as well as the summer festival season, I thought I would post something a bit different (at least for me). Portions of two outdoor festival performances from the group, occurring exactly one year apart. The Presley lineup rocking hard in Glasgow, and the current lads in Ireland. Playing in a tent, I believe. The sound on these tracks is exceptional (much better than had you actually been there I'm afraid) as they are broadcast-sourced. The Glasgow tracks feature the added "bonus" of BBC commentary and a word or two from Smith himself.


01 Fall Sound
02 Theme From Sparta FC
03 My Door Is Never
04 chat / Theme from Sparta FC / Mr. Pharmacist
05 What About Us?
06 interview/ I Can Hear the Grass Grow

01-03 Electric Picnic, Stradbally, 09/09/07 (Smith/Poulou/Greenway/Spurr/Melling)
04-06 Indian Summer, Glasgow, 09/09/06 (Smith/Poulou/Presley/Barbato/McCord/Spurr)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Fall- 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, London (11 Sept. 2006)In anticipation of the release of the "Last Night at the Palais" disc next month, here's the American Dudes blowing the walls out of a packed and steamy club on a sweltering London evening. Just the core of Tim, Rob and Orpheo but everyone is at their absolute peak. It also happens to be my all-time favorite Consortium recording. Truly stunning and essential.

Lineup: Smith-Poulou-Presley-Barbato-McCord

01 Intro > My Door
02 Bo Demmick
03 What About Us?
04 Fall Sound
05 Theme From Sparta FC
06 Reformation!
07 Pacifying Joint
08 Mountain Energie
09 Mr. Pharmacist
10 (encore call)
11 Blindness
12 (encore call)
13 60's Pop CIS
14 Systematic Abuse

Sunday, May 17, 2009

THE FALL- OPERATION DESTRUCT (cdr, unreleased, 2009, UK)

Having spent the bulk of 2008 in the post-LP doldrums, with a scattered series of somewhat airless, claustrophobic gigs, the new Fall material that emerged in the first half of ’09 was like a jolt to the nervous system. Boxed-in has always been a position of strength for Mark E. Smith, and the lineup of Greenway-Melling-Spurr (now two years on) finally began to explore virgin territory. Veering from the college rock/acid glaze of the last half-decade, they inched away from traditional song structure towards a more post-modern remit, utilizing Greenway’s effects-rich guitar (heard to superb effect here on the extended runout to “Latch Key Kid”) and pushing the avant electronics of Elena Poulou even further to the foreground. New songs are discovered within the riffs of the back catalogue, such as the stunning new version of “Strangetown” included here, that incorporates musical elements of “Wings.” Nothing exemplifies this fresh approach better than the lead track here, the cavalry-charge of “Cowboy George,” which tears up “Mountain Energie” and rearranges the pieces, turning a gentle tumble into an avalanche. Another gem is “Bury,” welding girl-pop stomp with one of Smith’s classic takes on British provincialism.
01 Cowboy George
02 Bury
03 Latch Key Kid
04 Strangetown
05 Funnel of Love
06 Carry Bag Man
07 Chino Splashback
08 Jack the Ripper
09 Hot Cake
Thanks to the Consortium for the always superb unofficial live recordings.
Source gigs in comments

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A much-delayed collection of recent live Fall music will be posted this weekend. Also, should anyone have any uncirculated or previously unpublished recordings, writing or other material that may be suitable for inclusion here, feel free to contact us via the comments facility (any such comments received will not be made public).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Fall - Astoria 2, London (12 August 1998)

An incredible show from one of the darkest periods of the group's history. Just five gigs removed from the NYC meltdown, this is nothing short of a resurrection. Scrappy, shambolic and laced with pure adrenaline, this is The Fall at their most Velvets-like, brimming with 1979-era post-punk energy. One of only four shows in total played by this lineup. There are so many fantastic moments here, from Leatham's supple bass lines on "Calendar," and the rarely-played "Scareball," to a truly unbelievable take on "Plug Myself In." One of my favorite Fall shows to listen to, if only because it sounds so different from all the others. Brilliant.


Ol' Gang
Touch Sensitive (new song / prerelease)
Spencer Must Die
The Joke
Ten Houses of Eve
He Pep
F'oldin' Money (new song / prerelease)
Plug Myself In
This Perfect Day

lineup: MES / Julia Nagle / Karen Leatham / Tom Head

(photo by Gez Wood)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Fall - Queen Mary's College, London (5 February 1981)

For my first post, I chose this excellent soundboard recording from '81, once planned for release on Cog Sinister. In addition to material from the previous autumn's Grotesque LP, the gruppe also performs the forthcoming Slates mini-LP in its entirety. Notable as well for an early version of Jawbone & The Air Rifle, which would not be released on vinyl until over a year later. A sprawling, clattering, thrilling performance from a pre-Karl Burns lineup featuring Paul Hanley on drums. A far more worthy document than the officially released show from Glasgow later the same month.


Your Heart Out
Totally Wired
Leave the Capitol
An Older Lover
New Face in Hell
Middle Mass
C n C's Mithering > Crap Rap #19
Fiery Jack
Jawbone and the Air Rifle
Slates, Slags etc.
Fit and Working Again
Prole Art Threat
Impression of J. Temperance
The Container Drivers

lineup : Smith/Riley/Scanlon/S. Hanley/P. Hanley

Queen Mary's