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The Fall: Live to Air in Melbourne ‘82 (Cog Sinister)


Time for some heresy... Because - as one Smith-style bloody-minded contrarian - I happen to feel both Fall sets recorded in Melbourne in ‘82 are both harder & more focussed than the set that issued from New Zealand - “Fall in a Hole”. And - fact is - I’ve had all of these for well over twenty years...since I knew the recorder of this particular set - as well as that at the Mt. Erica Hotel (so far unreleased) - and, quite frankly, you can’t tell me that Mr. Smith (and band) didn’t feel they had something to prove re hardness in the Birthday Party’s hometown...

And...yeah - I was there for this.

Much as I’m fond of “Fall in Hole” - which most appear to accept as the ultimate post-Hex live set (probably because of the fact that it came out soon after - whereas this one is bloody-well late) - it lacks some of the feral intensity of this...not to mention the Mt. Erica set I also have - which beats even this one via a huge Velvets-style “Backdrop”...as well as the bizarre inclusion of Deep Purple’s “Black Night”!

Meanwhile...joke is that reviewers seem insistent that the source of this one - despite the bloody title! - is somehow some kinda bootleg. Hell...I was next to him, directly plugged into the goddamn soundboard - by permission, let me say - and, if any fools think this sounds like shit...then, let me tell you - that’s exactly what the Fall wanted it to sound like...

Onto the gig...met Mark just before - thankfully, didn’t have to talk...‘cause I couldn’t understand a bloody word he said - still...apparently, recording was the go - and so, I went out front. And, as I said, methinks the Fall - or, at least Mark - had something to prove....’cause they were monstrously intense - as you can hear, hearin...

And tightly-focussed, what’s more. And, if you’ve ever wanted to hear the Hex-era band w/something of the kind of preternatural concentration which marked “Slates”, then this is clearly the one to get. “Classical” - amazingly! - is even meatier than on Hex...the twin drum sound taken full advantage of, “Hard Life in the Country” & “Tempo House” are beautifully tensioned performances that it’s hard to imagine bettered...whilst “Totally Wired” pours on the noise-drive like some speed-driven freak.

So...time for some historical revisionism, I suspect. Search this one down, ‘cause I think almost any open-minded Hex-fan will agree that it’s the best available live Fall set of the era...

and, it’s about time Fall fans noticed it.




John Henry Calvinist