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
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
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,
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