Tales from Suburban Bohemia: The Fall
This post originally appeared on Stumpy Moose on 23 February, 2002, and was migrated to PraguePig.com on 10 February, 2019.
This just in: The Fall are still one of the best bands in the world.
Mark E. Smith might be getting on a bit, and the rest of the band are so unfamiliar they seem to have been signed up on a rock ‘n’ roll Youth Training Scheme, but they know their stuff.
I haven’t really kept up with The Fall since the early ’90s but liking the band is a lifetime commitment and there’s no way I’d have missed the show.
The crowd at Palac Akropolis seemed mostly to be expat twentysomethings and thirtysomethings, with some cool Czechs mixed in.
The support band attempted to break the Guinness record for the largest number of instruments used in one show, and played music of such Central European obscurity that supporting The Fall seemed to have been their life’s goal. And then came the main attraction.
I recognized Mr Pharmacist and I Am Damo Suzuki – Fall “hits”, I suppose – plus an older album track. I didn’t know the rest but none of it seemed unfamiliar.
Despite the constant line-up changes and dabbling with new musical elements Smith has stuck to a winning formula over the past 20+ years.
He barks his cryptic code over the band’s ragged, repetitive riffs. The results are lean, raw and unsentimental but also strangely uplifting. An uncompromising attitude and a refusal to give in to stereotypes have made Mark E. Smith a true working class hero – but that’s a description that would probably make him ill.
Great concert. I even bought a T-Shirt. Had a hell of a hangover the next day though.