The Fall
The Independent
May 15, 2006

Review by Jake Thomas

Like any good outing of The Fall, there was plenty of drama leading up to this one - about a week prior the singer for the opening band on the tour, The Talk, came on stage and threw a banana peel in the face of Mark E. Smith. Additionally, either Smith fired the band or they quit, but either way they were on a plane back to England leaving only Smith and his wife on the remaining dates. Now this could have gone any number of ways they could have canceled the tour, which I was expecting; or they could have continued on, just the two of them, which would have probably been awful but surely memorable; or they could have done what they did, throw a band together at an alarming rate, and hope things turn out well.

And they did turn out quite incredibly and surprisingly well. He brought on two young lads and a lumberjack to round out the guitar/drums/bass, and had them learn a small set of songs so the tour could continue. Based on write-ups I've read from the first couple of shows, the performance was pretty spotty but it showed promise. Well by god they shouted out those spots by the time they made it to San Francisco, because they sounded like a well-oiled machine that had been playing together for years. Mark was his usual grumpy-looking self, constantly screwing with the knobs on the amps, the mic cords, the keyboard, whatever?if there was something on that stage that he could fuck around with while singing, he did it. The new band took it all in stride like seasoned professionals, and would just fix whatever he mucked with once he got bored and moved on to the next piece of equipment. All told it was a fantastic set of music, much, much better than I ever would have expected.

Read our previous Fall review:
November 19, 2001 @ Great American Music Hall