Live: The Fall and The Undertones

As part of a fundraising performance, legends The Fall headlined Epic TV Studios with support from the enduringly appealing The Undertones. Despite the former’s undoubted position in rock history, the evening fell flat thanks to inflated ego and thinly veiled posing.

But before all that, we have great local band Dingus Khan opening the evening. They play with magnificent gusto and, more importantly, genuine heart. Dressed in all white save for the frontman, who conducts himself without irony as a musical shaman, they knock out catchy affecting pop songs with the added bite of three bass guitars. Besides the airing of Teenage Kicks later in the night, it’s the best show here.

Bearsuit are another Norwich staple but their set fails to impress the previously invigorated crowd. While undoubtedly competent musicians, their synth-inflected tunes do not stick long in the mind. With material drawing mainly from new album The Phantom Forest, it remains to be seen whether their sound translates any better on record.

Tonight the main support comes from The Undertones-Lite. Without talisman leader Feargal Sharkey, they merely come across as a really good cover band. Wistful strutting and bad hair cover nearly an hour of songs that unfortunately sound completely the same.

The Fall’s headline set promised much and delivered some of it – the band is tight as hell, particularly the rhythm section, but frontman Mark E. Smith is determined to ruin the performance. Clearly wasted and messing with the amps all night, his demeanour gives the room a whip-crack tension that serves them well, but ultimately fails to save the set.

Save for the few hardcore fans down the front signing their hearts out, they get a muted reception. It seems The Fall are a spent force.


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Henry Burrell

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August 2022
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