The Dismal Spectacle of The Fall at Jeff Mangum ATP, Minehead Butlins, March 2012
By Karren Ablaze!
I am afraid of Uncle Mark. Blatantly inebriated, this pixie-faced old man roams the stage like an imperious foreman. His sweating band of workers are well-trained. They understand that to resist his tweaks and pinches could result in dismissal, perhaps with added violence, and so they make Getting On With It a virtue, focussing on the middle distance, hammering it out. After all, they are The Fall, 2012 version.
Today Mark is angry about microphones. There’s the unmistakable thud of dense metal on painted wood as he hurls down his appointed mic before grabbing the guitarist’s, and you know that somewhere a soundman is frantically scurrying to replicate the levels. The volume increases, there’s a bunch more moaning, and it’s not too long before he aims the one in his hand at the heads of his most dedicated fans.
‘Theme From Sparta FC’ is the highlight, the treat for the ones like me who can’t be arsed ploughing through decades of albums in search of hits. Elena Poulou – Mark’s inexplicable wife – tolerates his rubbish keyboard interventions and so do we, for the sake of the remnants of a pristine football fable. Yet The Fall is no remnant, it’s a cloth still flying off the looms and will doubtless do so until MES falls down dead. I’m just not sure I want to keep watching.
Photography: The Quietus