Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Fall, live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, February 10, 2012)

What a weekend! Strikes, demonstrations, the country on the brink of economic collapse - and what better band to provide the soundtrack to all this chaos than The Fall.

Around 11:30, on a Friday night that all public transportation is on standstill due to another strike, the 300 (give or take) loyal Fall fans who managed to get to Gagarin 205 are about to get their reward as Mark E Smith comes on stage and gives the traditional Fall introduction while the band is already locked to a relentless beat: “Good evening, we are The Fall from long, long days”.

Early in the set, after the introductory, rocking "Cosmos 7" from their latest (29th) LP, we also get the bonus of a couple of tracks from The Fall's really long, long days: "Psykick Dancehall", from 1979’s "Dragnet", is a reminder of the unique songwriting genius of Mark E Smith that made The Fall standout from the first crop of bands that came out of the punk explosion, while their cover of the garage standard "Strychnine", a staple of the band’s set since the late '80s, is a perfect demonstration of Smith’s ability to take a well-known song and make it a Fall song. Further examples of this trick came right at the end of the magnificent 75-minute performance with the two-song encore that included "Mr. Pharmacist" (the recent subject of this post) and The Big Bopper’s "White Lightning", a track that officially entered The Fall's Hall of Famous Covers in 1990.

In between these missives from The Fall’s early days we also got top-notch performances of the band’s more recent material with "Blindness", "I've Been Duped" (with Eleni Poulou on lead vocals and Smith on hilarious backing vocals and creative monitor meddling), "Bury" (we all feel we are from Bury tonight), "Greenway" (the Greek heavy metal one) and "Nate Will Not Return" being among the highlights. After all, despite the great history of this band, The Fall were never about nostalgia. Smith keeps looking forward and with the cracking band he has assembled once again (this line up has remained steady for four years now and it can certainly hold its own against any former incarnation of The Fall) he is still able to bring it with the same intensity as in his celebrated past.

I must have seen The Fall about a dozen times in the last 24 years, through their many highs and a few lows, and I have to say that without a doubt this was one of their best gigs yet. May the reign of the Hip Priest continue for many more long, long years!

The Fall - Blindness, live @ Gagarin 205 Club (February 10, 2012)

The Mongrelettes
The gig opened by the promising local neo-garage act The Mongrelettes. Four girls and a guy on farfisa with a fascination for '60s garage (the songs that The Fuzztones taught us) as well as Greek and French '60s pop. Here’s a taste of their delicious psychedelic garage-pop concoctions:

The Mongrelettes live @ Gagarin 205 Club (February 10, 2012)

The Fall's set list plus a few more photos from the night:

Damflicters, Cosmos 7, Psykick Dancehall, Strychnine, Cowboy George, I've Been Duped, Bury, Nate Will Not Return, Greenway, Hot Cake, Latch Key Kid, Blindness. Encore: Mr. Pharmacist, White Lightning


Χρήστος Μίχος / Christos Michos said...

Glorious Live performance!FALL Undead!Excellent coverage,I must say!

ody said...

Thanks, I enjoyed yours as well!