The Fall, Matt Abbott at Norwich Arts Centre, 26 April 2015
Norwich Arts Centre, officially the Best Small Venue in the country continues to attract some great names who play brilliant gigs in this wonderfully warm and lovely setting. The Fall being the latest of these, only announced two or three weeks ago and the place appeared to be sold out, even with an unfortunate gig clash with Julian Cope at the Waterfront. Sundays often being at least as busy gig-wise as any other day of the week in Norwich. I myself was arriving from a pub gig by The Vagaband whilst there were also gigs at The Blueberry, Plasterers, et al.
Support was from Wakefield’s Matt Abbott, incisive and fast it was easy to make some comparisons with John Cooper Clarke although he did have his own style and was met with appreciative applause at the end of each piece.
Over the past 32 or so years I’ve seen The Fall in Norwich about a dozen times but never in my beloved Arts Centre so this was a real thrill for me, and quite a prestigious coup for the NAC. The band came onstage about 9:30pm and stormed into a very powerful and loud set. After the first song MES made a quip or two about Norwich and seemed in good humour. He also looked in excellent health and somehow appeared younger than last time he was in in the city, on another memorable night at the Waterfront which coincided with the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, after which I dashed across the city for an amazing gig by BK & Dad in the NAC bar for a NNF “late”.
This is the most stable Fall line up I have known, they sound tight and strong and ready for all eventualities, which is just as well. At one stage MES handed the drummer the lyric sheet, behind a wall of amps, and wandered off for a while. The audience looked rapt and there were several times during the set where the whole band really did hit some extraordinary heights, mesmeric repition, power and the fascinating stage presence of MES, prowling, fiddling with amps, barking into two mics, sometimes from the shadows behind the PA stack and always the focus of attention and certainly keeps the band on their toes.
Sparta was performed without him at all and so Eleni passed the mic to a chap in the front row who improvised admirably. The set seemed to pass by incredibly quickly and was somewhere around the hour mark but it was all about the quality of that hour, and the huge pleasure of seeing the band in this venue up close.
Well done to Norwich Arts Centre, The Fall, and Matt Abbott.
words and photos (c) richard shashamane 2015