In an era when rock & roll is just another branch of the service industry, going to see a band is usually about as predictable an experience as opening a box of Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells. You know there’ll be six in the box and they’re all going to have a cherry on the top. Except with The Fall that is. If they were a box of Bakewells, you’d only get two misshapen ones, no cherries and someone would have probably stamped on them with a large army boot.
The Fall have always been a maverick experience live, but these days they’ve got it down to a fine art. Will they arrive on time? Which band member will be sacked next? Will legendary front man Mark E Smith manage more than three songs before popping out for a tab break? Part of the excitement of a Fall gig is the sense of a journey into the random that makes every performance an event and a rare manifestation of genuine Post-Punk spirit. A Dada installation even.
Tonight we were lucky. The band came on at ten and Mark E Smith was looking match-fit in smart suit and attitude. The new line-up has a tight garage rock sound and plenty of new material to play from their forthcoming CD ‘Ersatz GB’, all spiced up with an incendiary ‘Psykick Dancehall’ (from 1979's 'Dragnet') and a rousing cover of The Big Bopper’s ‘White Lightning’.
It was all over in about 40 odd – extremely odd - minutes, or so it seemed. Stragglers were treated to an encore of ‘Mr Pharmacist’ after most people had headed off home. Knowing the band, they probably wouldn’t have played again if there’d been anyone there. Who needs professionalism? With The Fall, it’s as much about the mayhem as the music. Catch up with their latest live antics on the forum pages of Fall Online at http://www.visi.com/fall/