Slough Festival 1992
(NME and Melody Maker Reviews)
Suffice to say, The Fall are everything that their unqualified predecessors would love to be. Alternative, gripping, cool, dangerous, energetic. Mark E might lead them with the detached swank of a cockerel, and guitarists Scanlon and Hanley might not scissor-kick AT ALL, but their sound is infused with a tension and control that no-one else here today has the recipe for. Now back to bands who look just like taller members of the audience. (A picture of Smith accompanies the article with the caption 'I should be top of the bill y'know cock', another all-dayerline up challenge for the great Mark E Smith).
Ah, The FALL. Its good to see them inject some vitriol and contrariness into the days anaemic bloodstream, but also a damning indictment of the bill that we have to rely on the bloody Fall, hardly The Schock Of The New, for thrills and excitement. Mark E. Smith, stick-thin and brimming with irony and double meanings, doesnt even bother to hide his yawning indifference to todays event, but still The Fall bristle with casual savagery and subterfuge. Yeah, this is what the day needs. Its just another Fall gig and so they churn out their Greatest Hits (ahem) festival set, the one I saw them do at Glasters four weeks ago and Reading two years ago: Mr Pharmacist, Telephone Thing, Big New Prinz. Yet even on auto-pilot The Fall are still querrulous, nitpicking, combustible and definitely individualistic. Smith continues to honour his own private, itchy sense of integrity, still plays the detached and slightly deranged social commentator astutely, and The Fall are as obscure, abstracted and quietly brilliant as ever. Excellent.
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