Jeff Moody

The Perpetual Mark E. Smith

By - Apr 27th, 2010 10:43 pm

I saw Mark E. Smith once. I don’t remember when it was for sure, but it must’ve been in 2004 or 2005 because it was around then that The Ponys released Celebration Castle, and that was the ceedee they were hawking when they opened for The Fall one night at Metro in Chicago and KICKED THE FALL’S ASSES IN… which wasn’t all that big a deal because, Christ, every band on earth was better that The Fall that night. Maybe you’ve heard the line “If it’s Mark E. Smith and yer grandmother on bongos, it’s The Fall?” Well, that night it was “It was drunk (at the very least) Mark E. Smith and some twerpy introverts WHO WERE NOT PRESENT IN THE MOMENT but it still says ‘The Fall’ on the tickets so it must’ve been The Fall…”

I didn’t really care. I was full of beer and happy not to have been at work that night.

It wasn’t a sold out show (this may have had something to do with the overall lack of luster) and I got right up to the stage at one point just to see if anyone in the band was actually nodding off or maybe lying even down on a nap-mat. Right there before me, close enough to hit with a beer was the legendary Mr. Smith, and he wasn’t looking so good. In fact, he looked like one of those apple-head carvings with a full head of hair. They played for maybe an hour and split at 2:30am. Yep. They didn’t start until 1:30am. It was supposed to be a midnight show. Pretty bad vibes all the way around…

Mark. E. Smith has been at it for ages now… he’s bound to have a crap night now and then, so I never held that lousy show in Chicago against him. I still look forward to every Fall elpee, even though one never knows when he’s gonna drop the occasional crap Fall elpee.  Your Future, Our Clutter isn’t one of those. It’s pretty decent, really, and that’s amazing when you consider how long he’s been at this. As a long-time fan and listener, the fact that Smith is still capable of surprise is the thing that keeps me coming back, and I’ve gotta think that his ability to surprise himself is what keeps driving Mark E. Smith forever and ever (and ever).

Categories: Fan-belt, Review, Stripwax

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