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Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Friday, November 25, 2011
One of the best moments of any Fall gig is the stage entrance of lead singer Mark E Smith and so it proved at IndigO2 last night.
Walking on with a part-swagger, part-stagger, it was hard to take your eyes off the 54-year-old singer - the one constant member of an ever-changing line-up going back to 1976. While his band rattled through songs off latest album Ersatz G.B. at the North Greenwich venue, he reeled around the stage like an uncle causing mischief at a wedding - fiddling with amp settings and moving microphones mid-song, at one point throwing one to the crowd while he had a well-earned break.
All that wouldn’t have meant much if their music was below par but this incarnation of the group sounded fantastic; incredibly tight and very, very loud.
From the album Greenway was a highlight with its rant about Smith going to the hotel room of band These New Puritans and getting a “snotty” reception.
It’s about that on the record anyway, with Smith preferring to improvise a mumbled live version.
Their music has always defied categorisation – the dual influences of Krautrock and rockabilly are often fused together, as evidenced here by the hypnotic Monocard.
That song lead into a procession of Fall classics to end the night, through White Lightning, Reformation, Mr Pharmacist and into an encore of Theme From Sparta FC with its gig-friendly terrace chant chorus.
After an hour they were done but no-one was complaining.
Their short blast of organised chaos provided more excitement than many bands muster in a career.