Saturday, May 06, 2006

Observations of a Fall Fan (by Defensive Listening)



I've heard a lot of debate about the quality of the Gypsy Tea Room as a venue lately. This is due in part to its nomination as "Best Venue" in the always entertaining yet completely irrelevant Dallas Observer music awards. I say entertaining because I'm always amazed at the Dadaist approach to categorization. It's definitely more fun to laugh at that than to find out who "wins". The Observer (not to mention a lot of DFW) has worshipped this place for as long as it has existed. Not even the beating and paralyzing of a man by an "ex" skinhead was enough to get people to look past the Tea/Ballroom's semi-classy setup and say,"Hey, maybe this is just another trashy Deep Ellum hole." I swore off going to the Tea Room for a longtime, but if the band is good enough I'll make anexception. The Fall played last night. I made an exception.

There wasn't much of a crowd when I arrived and the people who showed up late were lucky to miss the sonic plague that opening act the Talk unleashed on an unprepared audience. The Talk was a perfect summary of everything that was wrong with music... about five or six years ago. That was the most confusing aspect of the band. They seemed desperate to be your run of the mill commercial band. They dressed the part, but their music was completely stale as far as what's been popular the last few years. Come on, Talk, at least throw a dance beat in there! While the band was onstage they asked if anyone in the crowd liked Archers of Loaf or Superchunk because they, like theTalk, are from North Carolina. How dare this completely unoriginal band name-drop those two N.C. legends while they're onstage? And I don't even like those bands. Compared to the Talk, however, they're two of my favorite bands of all time. I guess the Talk got to tour with the Fall due to a savvy business move on the part of their label owner (who does most of the gruntwork for their label, MoRisen). Bad move, my friends. Touring with the Fall will guarantee that you will be hated by Fall fans across this great nation. If you go to the Talk's website (www.the-talk.com) you canhear a truly inspiring audio clip where some industry cog discusses the Talk's "buzz" during their recentSXSW performance. He compares them to early Pavement. I wouldn't compare a band that is more like All American Rejects fronted by one of the Oasis twins to early Pavement.

Speaking of early Pavement, the Fall were the fucking Fall. You either know what that means or you don't. It seems there is some speculation around here as to the outcome of the live show and whether that is determined by the size of the audience. I have only seen the Fall two other times before last night. Once was in England in front of thousands and thousands of people. They were fucking terrible. People that usually loved them were disappointed. I was disappointed. And they even played "Bingo Master's Breakout". Mark E. Smith does not care how many people are at the show. He is going to do what he is going to do, whether you're there to see it or not. We were only disappointed because he spent most of his time offstage and we wanted to see him.

I have a pretty good story from that night concerning the much discussed attitude of Mr. Smith. I'll tell you the short version. We're in a pub after the show and my friend gets the courage to ask him if he can take a picture of him. I let him know this is a bad idea but he listens to his old buddy Alcohol and stomps rightup to him anyway. He blurts, "Hey, excuse me, but can I get a pic-" and before he can finish he stumbles into him and knocks a cigarette out of his hand. MarkE. Smith bends over, picks the cigarette up off of the dirty pub floor, and shoves it into his mouth. He looks at my friend as he's lighting up and, not knowing whether to be more pissed about the question or the accident, gives him a very disgusted, "NO." It was hilarious. I know it's stupid, but this is part of the Fall's greatness. Fall fans love being in this abusive relationship. You can see it on their faces every time M.E.S. turns down one of his guitarist's amps without asking him. You can see it when they smile back at his frown of complete contempt for the audience. You can see it when they shell out $20 at the door of some shitty overrated venue, something I almost never do.

The Tea Room was much more packed when it was time for the Fall to go on. I guess that time was determined by the Fall because they wasted what felt like thirty or more minutes before they came on. They started the show with a series of projected clips of various moments in popular music history. The short performances by Queen, Elvis, the Jackson Five, Babs Streisand and others looked like distorted versions of shit you see on Youtube. Then the screen just froze with a display of their most recent album title, "Fall Heads Roll". This was accompanied by a vinyl runoff sound which I believe was from "Loop41'Houston" on the "Real New Fall LP". With a coupleof exceptions, most of the songs I recognized were from that album. Anyways, the runoff loop went on forwhat felt like an eternity. This was obviously annoying the crowd and I got a kick out of watching them squirm. I assume that a lot of their set was from "Fall Heads Roll" and I wouldn't mind purchasing that album if that's the case. I truly enjoy Mark E.Smith's disposition onstage. The air of pervasive awkwardness and unpredictability that emanates from the stage brings me true joy that I rarely feel when seeing shows. Unfortunately, this bad behavior will sometimes result in a drunk audience member's call to action. From what I could make out, a woman who resembled Thalia Zedek tugged on our hero's suitjacket and yelled at him, "This sucks!". He leaned towards her and replied with a curt, "Fuck off.",which she deserved. It was at this point that either a roadie or a club employee tried to intervene or get an understanding of what was going on. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Smith fled the stage. The band wandered into an instrumental version of a song trying to keep the show going. Their singer returned to fly through "Mr. Pharmacist," but the show was pretty much over at that point. The Fall didn't even finish their set list and still blew away all the shit I've seen in the past six months. When the Fall plans their next tour they might recall this little incident. It might make them decide to skip Dallas. But, like me, I hope they make an exception.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

cliff notes

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but i hardly resemble Thalia Zedek. Perhaps it was you who consumed way too many drinks? That is neither here nor there. the show blew. I called him out. Begrudge me if you will, but He's a putz! Love the music, hate the man...

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whateva

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Defensive Listening said...

The man is the music. No Offense about the Thalia Zedek thing. It wasn't an insult. She was in LIve Skull.

12:29 AM  
Blogger kidko said...

Zedek is a dog. I would take offense if I was you! Thanks for the write-up, even though it made me feel like I went to the England show, not so much the Dallas one.

2:09 AM  
Anonymous zak said...

damn... I wish I hadn't skipped it now...

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thalia Zedek? I love it and yes she is one fat ugly drunk. Hell, her baiting and cursing and yelling started with the movie. So, you called him out? What the fuck have you ever done in your pathetic life? He is a putz? You are an ugly loudmouth drunk. All of the Dallas crowd or at least 95% of the crowd begrudges you, congrats on that. Go make someone elses life hell, but I am sure you are already doing that.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous ed said...

Cool story.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the fall are the new stones
sooooooooooooooooo old X_X

1:38 PM  
Blogger blixaboy said...

Pick up the newest issue of Thw Wire and read The Primer on The Fall. It is a good article.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope Thalia is happy. Some more crap in Phoenix, so they flew home. Tour is over. Nice job hecklers you girls win.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not entirely true. MES threw a beer at their driver and The Talk threw an egg at MES. Anyway whatever the story it seems the u.s. tour is over.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the fall shouldn't be touring w/ shitty bands like The Talk in the first place.

if yer an asshole, why would you tour w/ a band that sucks... you know eventually you'll explode on the poor bastards.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drunk, yes. Loud, hell yes! Genius I weigh 130 lbs you douchebag! What are you nicole Ritchie? Everyone knows I'm gorgeous! I'd name drop my admirers, but what's the point? Incidentally, if you have polled 95% of the Dallas crowd, then you are working enough overtime to make most stalkers seem lazy. As for accomplishments, well, I'll send you my resume. By the way, if you want, let's meet for a drink. Love Public enemy #1 aka Ilona p.s. Hey badass, why don't you identify yourself?

2:20 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

what the hell is going on around here?

2:24 PM  
Blogger blixaboy said...

classic. The Fall = Chaos.
I wish more bands could draw this much anxiety and passion out of people.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you go take a muscle relaxer, chase it with a Bud Light, Stella and a Jager shot (make sure you sip it), and go hang out at the Chateau Marmont?
And while you're there, tell every band without a pretty boy frontman they suck, put out your cigarette in someone's drink, pick a fight with a girl because she's ugly, another because she's picking up on someone's boyfriend and someone else because she's wearing Jimmy Choos instead of Manolo Blahniks. Then you can ride your Rascal scooter home, black out and forget the entire night altogether. Maybe the next morning you'll wake up, have crazy sex and someone will remind you of the previous night's debauchery over Bloody Marys....

Sound good?

Now get back to your cubicle...

XOXO

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:35 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

hey ad poster at 435, fuck your mother.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wish i knew what that post said.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/news/06-05/08.shtml
... a bit more of that story we've been hearing pieces of

12:28 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

it was just an ad, which was probably put there by a computer or something. Which makes it really dumb of me to tell it to go fuck it's mother.

12:37 AM  

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