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  THE FALL w/ John Cooper Clarke and Resist  
  Central Station  
  Wrexham, UK  
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

I only caught the end of opening band, Resist, who were quite simply awful. It sounded like Hazel O'Connor singing over a punky beat, and not even a short skirted singer and keyboard player could divert my attention from just how bad they were. And what was going on with the big bald bassist? I know there's such a thing as freedom of expression and all that (god knows I'm a Bolan fan who was brought up watching a very pretty man with long curly hair and glitter on his cheeks), but does the world really need a Marco Pironni look-alike in a kneelength denim skirt? "Check out our website www.resistmusic", said the gothy looking singer before she left the stage. I couldn't help thinking that 'resist music' seemed so appropriate somehow. I can only think that they got the gig because Mark E Smith is lining up the next Mrs. Smith...

I thought that John Cooper Clarke mustn't have shown up because, after he was due on at 9pm, some bloke with a projector came on and showed Freddie Mercury in various repeated poses, to a soundtrack of long repeated notes and thundering beat. I liked it it was vaguely fascinating actually - but I was disappointed because JCC was supposed to support The Fall last year and didn't. Now, it looked like another no-show. Then, just as the Queen thing finished, some bloke with spikey hair and shades walked across the dancefloor, with a holdall slung over his shoulder. It was JCC himself, obviously arriving a bit last minute, in poetry equivalent of a cavalry-like moment.

The last time I saw "Johnny Clarke" was when he supported Elvis Costello on his Armed Forces tour, so it's fair to say a lot of smack has flowed through his veins since then. If you look beyond the trademark hair and shades, you can see he's not the healthiest looking bloke in the world. I'm no muscle man but my arms are thicker than his legs. It's amazing that they hold him up! But enough of that: he was sensational. There was very little in the way of poems (and none of the classics from yesteryear). He doesn't agree with fitness or marriage he said when telling the audience he wasn't going to perform Health Fanatic or I Married A Monster From Outer Space. But, this was laugh-out-loud funny. There were lots of Welsh jibes, too. "No place for a dyslexic," he said, referring to the Welsh language road signs. He also mentioned that he went to Cardiff and got approached by the Welsh Mafia who made him an offer he couldn't understand. This probably doesn't work so well on the page, but he had the audience eating out of his hand. He was excellent...

And then for The Fall...

Kicking off with an excellent Theme From Sparta FC, the show was typically Fall-like in that there were a number of tracks that were just OK. I wasn't that wild about a new one called Ride Away, but there were lots of amazing tracks tonight with Mountain Energei, Pacifying Joint, What About Us, and Blindness standing out. This band really goes for it live. I love it when they do those numbers with an incessant beat, and so did the ladies in the audience. They were far more animated than the blokes! Maybe it's that mic that Mark E Smith keeps putting in the bass drum which somehow releases inhibitions in our fairer sex, or maybe it's just Mark's good looks! Whatever, with the amount of fiddling with mics, amps and keyboards he's doing these days I think it's maybe time he learnt to play an instrument. I think he'd look cool with a ukulele!

The Fall: MES = good looking bloke?

Smith is a riveting frontman though, and during one number he kept going on about smiling, and stared at me (I was enjoying myself and was grinning accordingly). It was quite uncomfortable, but I held my gaze. I'm nearly 6'2", and I'm not gonna be out-stared or intimidated by a short-arsed Manc singer with a drink problem. I was glad when he moved onto the next victim, though.

There was no encore. I didn't really care. They'd played Blindness the number before the last, and there was no way they were gonna better it. It's a classic already. This lot are back on form, you know...

The Fall in action.


Related Links:

The Fall in Atlanta in 2003.


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