THE FALL + DICK DALE
London Royal Festival Hall 22nd September 2000
Part of the Peel Sessions live series, this co-headliner saw two all-time Peel faves coupled together in an unusual setting to say the least.
After a schizophrenic opening set from Terry Edwards (lurching between pub rock and sublime laidback jazz), Dick Dale takes the stage to a glowing endorsement from Mr Peel himself. I had never seen Dick Dale before, but it's clear that he is a born showman keen on playing to the crowd. Although he worringly touches on material that shows his age (rnr standard 'Fever' is played free from irony for instance!) some of his material is stunningly good, the famous heavy gauge strings of the Beast (his nickname for his guitar) rattling and twanging through the likes of 'Take it or Leave it', a fine cover of Hendrix's 'Third Stone From the Sun' and the obligatory 'Miserlou'. Dick's crowdpleasing antics dominate the latter as it lurches into 'Smoke on the Water' (!) and he does a tour of the entire audience still playing his guitar. For this reason he gets a better reception than headliners The Fall who show their customary disregard for us punters.
Of course, Fall fans wouldn't have it any other way, and although a lot of the Dale fans leave, us Fall types are glued to the onstage mutterings of MES and co, especially puzzling tonight as they play loads from the forthcoming album ('The Unutterable'). 'Touch Sensitive' is the first obviously recognisable moment, and give the cue for a lot of people to turn the yawning gap between the front seats and the stage into a makeshift moshpit. 'F-Oldin Money' gets them going, as does a very welcome 'Hey Student'. The only other old songs I can remember are 'The Joke' and 'I'm Going to Spain', though the recentish 'Levitate' and 'Light User Syndrome' albums are touched on too. Not a bad show by recent standards, but still not even close to classic Fall. The encore of 'Dr Buck's Letter' (from the forthcoming album) shows that they can still cut it and stay ahead of younger pretenders. I just wish they could do it more often.
So what are all these Ds I don't have then? Well there are some I once had, but only in the sense that I taped them off friends. First, alphabetically, is dc Basehead 'Play With Toys' (1991). It's not on Spotify and I had a bit of an effort to find a decent track to embed. These guys were a laidback hip-hop band who somehow got connected with a lot of grungier acts like Helmet and Rollins Band. Not sure why
Secondly, and finally, there two albums by the Damned - 'The Black Album' and 'Strawberries' - that I was given as a cassette swap with an older guy at school. I think I was only about 12 and he was 14 or 15, but these albums stick in my memory, as back then it seemed I was listening to 'proper' albums that none of my friends had. I listened to 'the Black Album' this morning on Spotify. I could just about picture that old cassette.