The music lovers of Cambridge were spoilt for choice this evening, a double bill of The Wytches and Pulled Apart By Horses at The Portland Arms, but across town at The Junction we find The Fall….
For the uninitiated, The Fall consist of singer Mark E Smith and a line-up that has changed many times since the formation of the band in 1976. Their distinctive sound is repetitive, loud, hypnotic, with vocals spoken, shouted and occasionally sung. The sound quality was very good tonight, not always the situation at The Junction.
From a few seconds into the opening (new) song Mark E Smith is a compelling and riveting presence, even when he is sorting through lyric sheets, wandering the stage, dropping microphones or adjusting the settings on the carefully prepared amplifiers.
I was not expecting a Greatest Hits set, that is not what happens at a Fall gig, but we were treated early on to minor hit ‘Mr Pharmacist’, a celebration of your local chemist…
The energy of the band was superb, two drummers beating the kits with the power you would like to see most other drummers use. In fact the playing of all members of the band was exemplary, providing a great platform for Mark’s voice. He retreated from the stage after half an hour, one of the roadies then collecting a microphone to take back into the offstage corridor for Mark to continue singing for several more songs. The faithful in the audience go along with it because you are in the presence of a music legend. I have been reading his book of musings and semi-autobiography ‘Renegade’, highly recommended and a good way of understanding a bit more of what The Fall are all about.
He eventually re-emerged, there was some rapid on and off encores then they were gone. Some may have complained about the shortness of the set(about an hour) but we will all be back next time.