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London Kentish Town Forum

The Fall

14 May 1999

(NME Review)

By Steven Wells

If The Fall were ice cream they'd be Guinness, anchovy-stuffed olives and Marmite flavour. Yum. This crowd are drooling. And that's probably not entirely due to the unsightly combination of senility and tooth decay.

BONK. That's the sound of a plastic beer beaker bouncing off Mark E Smith's gnomish skull. The new boys troop on - black T-shirts taut over impressive biceps. Phwooar! But it's important that we don't know their names. That we don't become emotionally attached because, like the red shirted dudes who beamed down down to a polystyrene planet surface every week with Kirk and Spock in Star Track, these poor sods are probably doomed. Cannon fodder. Bright eyed donkeys led by a raggedy old lion.

In the bogs, three songs in and a trio of slashing Fall fans bark angrily into the porcelain. "It's fucking shit!" "It's fucking pathetic!" "He's got to get better than this!" What? Can this be!? Stone the blasphemers.

Or maybe not

This, you see, borders on the tedious. Then it crosses that border, lies down, falls asleep and just fucking sucks. Maybe Mark knows he's losing us. He certainly becomes more animated as the gig grinds on. And on and on. And fucking on.

Judged by The Fall's own criteria this gig was positively vegetarian. Smith's tight, acerbic, pithy poetry and the mental Krautrock-abilly sound both struggle miserably in a muddy mishmash of merely workmanlike musicianship. Oh dear.

Oh we stay and watch and wait. For a bit. Maybe he'll twat someone. Throw a wobbly. throw up. Fall over. Lose it. Implode. Something No, fuck that for a freak show. there's a Last Of The Summer Wine special on Granada Gold tonight. We're out of here. Pull your socks up Smith

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