On Saturday, The Arts Club was host to an unforgettable event, the Club the Mammoth all dayer. This was one gig that I will certainly remember, as this was my first live experience of Mark E Smith’s The Fall. Forgetting not to mention the whole host of emerging rock bands Cabbage, Eagulls, Hookworms, Eagulls, Kagoule, TIGERCUB, Goat Girl, Strange Collective, Ohmns and LIPA’s finest Pink Kink.
With such a strong line up laid out amongst both rooms of the Arts Club it was hard to decide which bands to be mesmerised by.
Photo Credit: J W. King
The first band I saw was the five-piece post punk band Eagulls, formed in Leeds. As I first arrive the room feels atmospheric as the crowd eagerly await their onset. Eagulls definitely wear their influences on their sleeve, with vocals and stage presence similar to that of Morrissey, channeling energy and antipathy of Joy Division, I was hooked.
Eagulls are a band most of the crowd had been brimming with excitement to witness live and it wasn’t long before they pulled out Tough Luck, this crowd pleaser created a very energetic mob. In between songs Mitchell takes a swig of water and a swig of wine. There is not much conversation projected from the frontman but he is here for one reason only and that is to please the crowd with the galore of tracks.
Eagulls // Photo Credit: J W. King
After Eagulls, it was time for renowned psychedelic juggernaut, Hookworms. Accompanied with visuals that I can only describe as appearing to be created by the music, entrancing everyone watching they mirrored the shamanic ceremony perfectly. As an act heavily influenced by the likes of Spacemen 3, it was easy to get lost in the moment and become transfixed on the melancholic space rock. I knew that I would enjoy Hookworms, but their live performance is a momentous krautrock experience, gearing the crowd up for the main act of the all-dayer.
The venue quickly starts to fill up as the awaited headliner The Fall tease the crowd to their much awaited set. We are first met to a fresh album sound, the backdrop reveals what we assume is their soon and upcoming album New Facts Emerge. A sense of excitement was apparent amongst the crowd. It’s hard to explain just how important Mark E Smith and the current band are to the hard-core northern music scene, but it becomes apparent when they emerge.
The Fall // Photo Credit: J W. King
No holding back, and diving straight into what appears to sound like Wise Ol’ Man but with Smith’s half slurred and mostly incoherent delivery it’s hard to tell. At one-point Mark E Smith goes to the side to pick up a copy of what looks like lyrics, and without caring sings directly from them in front of the crowd. Dedicated fans don’t bat an eyelid to this and prepare for an almighty set from the Prestwich piece.
Smith appears to possess a certain power over the rest of the band, I found it amusing at some points he would tamper with the equipment and instruments, maybe to create a certain sound, or just because he can. I watched guitarist, Peter Greenway’s reactions as Smith approaches him and strums his guitar. The Fall certainly build you up and drop you down, adrenaline busted after an hour of relentless beats, I remember thinking I could do with a lie down after the gig finishes.
During the gig I managed to speak to Tom Conroy, a fan who had come all the way from New York, and has followed The Fall since 1980, telling me he’d been “dreaming about seeing them for a long time” and that the band “speak the truth always”. At the end of their set Tom sings along on the mic, I thought Mark E Smith must have been in a good mood as this is unheard of.
The Fall // Photo Credit: Henry Calvert
The Fall continue to be as relevant as ever as Mark E Smith steers them in to a new decade. More consistent on record than live, but seeing them perform is a truly unique experience, one not to be missed.
Featured Image Credit: J W. King