manchester - The I-94 Bar

The Fall live - not once or twice but thrice - in Melbourne

mark e smith barry douglasMark E. Smith - Barry Douglas photo 

Seeing a band three nights in a row rather reminded me of when I used to see interstate bands like the Laughing Clowns play the Tivoli in Adelaide; how I afforded it I cannot really recall, but I never had enough to buy any drinks…

The Thursday night would usually be fairly sparse, the Friday a bigger crowd, and the Saturday the joint would be full to bursting. The Thursday and Friday I could usually dance without biffing into people, the Saturday night it would be too crowded up the front, which I spose is is why I think that anyone dancing extravagantly at a packed front of the stage is just rude (as it forces other folk away). Call me Mr Polite, then, go on.

Never was an LP title more prophetic: “The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall” was the band’s seventh album, released in 1984. Thirty years ago, The Fall looked like being about to “cross over” but … nope, after numerous minor hits, Mark E. Smith and his band has never had one in the Top 10. Perhaps that’s partly Mark’s idiosyncratic approach to recording, singing in a manner which either causes confusion or a swift twiddle of the knob.

The Fall live in Sydney

the fall metro

There are very few bands that could get away as a warm-up for The Fall. The last Australian tour I saw, it was Dave Graney. That worked, as he has the chalk on the boards, credibility and of a similar vintage. He has cynicism but it comes from a different place. 

I missed tonight’s opening band.  I heard they were good.  The main support is Gold Class who assembled on stage with The Metro almost half-full.

The band is polite. They are pedestrian and they are safe. I am sure they have very good record collections.  Suppose the fault lies with promoters.  This band really would be ideal openers for Coldplay or New Order; certainly with the right audience they would excel. I would like to check them out again. I’m just not convinced about them at this stage.

The Severance – Blaney (YERRR/ BMG)

the severanceLouder than War gives this album from Ed Blaney, the onetime latter-day member of The Fall, a rating of nine-out-of-ten, but sod that, it's a seven bottler out of five if I ever heard one.

Sass, bounce, beat, humour (of the kind that warms those mysterious cockles on a winter's night), well-crafted songs somewhere between pop, rock and wiggle yer butt, all the while dragging your sorry ageing carcass onto the dancefloor. Except for a couple of quiet ones, but you'll be listening hard to those. Sucked in? Deep inside!

Right, let me get my breath back. You don't hear much of the kind of pop made in “the ‘60s” anymore, do you? Well, alright, it's not the ‘60s anymore, that's one reason. And another is... the music industry lost its innocence long, long ago, but found it again in the '60s, or appeared to.

I-94 Bar