The Fall

The Fall


Before I mumble about The Fall for a short while, I want to firstly give the support acts a mention: The 99 Degree and Cabbage.

The 99 Degree kick off the night to a, let’s say “still” crowd. Having a big secret game of stuck in the mud, the punters in early tonight are straight to the bar as the bluesy, noisy music from the stage wafts around the grand (ish) venue. They’re a good outfit, so it’s a shame really not many are taking notice, as if they don’t matter somehow. I always feel strongly about support acts, mostly because people tend to dismiss them or assume because they’re the support they lack any quality etc. But tonight, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Manchester four piece display some good old rock n roll, dipped in a blue resin which stinks to high heaven of classic, turmoil and despair.

Cabbage are also of similar quality, their almost dead ringer aesthetic to that of Fat White Family being an original turn off. However, I soon realise they are much more than that and I consider myself embarrassed to almost suggest they’re ripping off those cockney, arty farty types from London town. ‘Dinner Lady’, with its whines about wanking into a quiche and ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester’ (excuse me if that’s not the exact title), similarly to The Fall, seeps in Mancunian patriotism and references to boot. It is an invigorating live set, antics of the shirtless nature a plenty and switching between singers is rife between the two, floppy haired leaders of ze group. I suggest you go give ‘Le Chou’ from Cabbage a listen, and get on The 99 Degree track ‘Dead or Alive’, both bands have displayed some excellent stuff.

For the hour or so Mark E. Smith wandered around the Ritz stage, twatting the keyboard every now and again with what looked like a notepad probably full of lyrics from god knows when and where, I am in some sort of trance. I can’t help myself from dancing (wobbling) around for 20 minutes at a time with my eyes closed, probably getting funny looks from the stone cold beer holding c****s you find at most gigs these days. It’s like going to gigs in the 21st century isn’t about enjoying yourself, but merely showing your face and pretending everybody knows who you are. The Fall, excluding Mark E. Smith, could walk down the road and no one would look twice. So don’t come to a gig and fucking stand there giving me evils and give your best “live music viewing stance” whilst in the hope people look at you and think “Oh my god, I saw him at The Jesus and Mary Chain at Cosmosis, he must be cool.” Fuck off.

Anyway, even though I have no idea what songs the four on stage are playing, it is glorious. As always, Smith is in a boisterous mood slurring his way through the set with a stage presence matched by none. The way his skinny frame carries his large head full of stories and tales set in dirty, rotten Manchester, is a sight to behold. It’s the first time I’ve seen The Fall since reading his book ‘Renegade’ and I have to say, this second viewing since the Kazimier performance in 2015, is marvelous.

The current rhythm section in the group are phenomenal, and completely nail the mantra of repetition The Fall (Smith) has employed since the late 70’s. For a young Fall fan like myself, and my Hamburger SV 2013 away kit donning friend in attendance tonight, it’s a shame we weren’t around back when Smith first starting working. I would probably kick a small cat for the chance to hear the sounds of ‘Industrial Estate’ and their stellar cover of ‘Mr. Pharmacist’ but, I can wish all I want, its not gonna happen. Instead, we get a set which seems to contain one big fuck off song. Melding into each other, the grooves and strafes like family embracing and loving one another until smashing eachother’s heads in as the night wares on.

The Fall portray a destructive quality, but even though the set seemed to decay and slowly get more tiresome, it still manages to pluck me from my surroundings and drop me into a metal bowl of bouncing bass, fierce drumming and guitar playing simple, yet absorbing.

Smith is truly blessed to have a great group of musicians playing over his words which quite frankly, without some extracurricular analysis, can go straight over your head. Overall it was a stellar performance and one which will no doubt draw me back to the band in the near future, something recent albums sadly haven’t managed to do.

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Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC