Review by John Harris
Five Hundred yards from the In The City HQ, theres not a pony tail or Armani suit in sight. This is The Falls so-called anti-seminar organised months before anyone appreciated how big Tony Wilsons baby would be, but seized as a neat opportunity for Mark Es men to re-affirm their status as Manchesters musical aristocrats, wilfully detached from the vulgar circus going on down the road. He wouldnt have it any other way. Always a completely self-contained talent (remember his protests that The Fall were proud residents of nearby Salford rather than a Manc band?), Smith has succeeded in becoming indie-rocks Neil Young, utterly separate from the vagaries of musical fashion, but a crucial presence whos consistently leagues ahead of his more in vogue competitors.
After all, The Fall do everything with bags more panache than the rest of the pack, as tonights highlights attest. They use sequencers, juddering dance rhythms and slabs of guitar noise to come up with something as stunning as Free Range, which towers over anything created by the likes of EMF. They deliver a suitably venomous reading of the Manchester skit Idiot Joy Showland, summing up the Mancunian condition far more eloquently than any of the baggy bunch ever did. And they inject everything from the broody menace that long hair oiks with loud guitars will ever come near to.
For The Falls first local performance in a while, tonight, is surprisingly low key, a fact made more surprising by the us against the seminar hype that should have made the audiences mood a little more celebratory. The lukewarm vibes are also attributable to the fact that The Fall play very few oldies, only reaching into the far flung past for Big New Prinz and US 80s-90s. the faithful bawl for Hit The North, Dead Beat Descendent and Living Too Late, but Mark simply scowls, pulls on his tab and carries on being a contrary git. And they quietly love him for it.
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