Through a mass of sweat and chandeliers we watched the old timers check in on ancient phones and realise it’s late for a school night. Sticking to floors where the dead can’t dance. Carlsberg with water chasers, fingers dip in potato spills too late, just sing. The support bands impress us punk princesses, you look a lot like Ian Curtis.
The unmistakable is heard from the wings. Mark E Smith has the mike and he ain’t letting go. Faux smashing ghosts or whatever is in his way while we all move however we want. Thinks he can hide in black curtains while his back burns with eyes, waiting for the bile or inanity whichever comes first to enter his throat. Pledge rips me. Rested, squeezing through the amps, playing with buttons, not satisfied with his own distortion. Finally loud as fire, two mikes are spat on.
The Falls repertoire is huge, how many fucking songs has he got, never expect yours to be played, always the new, always the new… bless. He keeps the song list crumpled in his trousers, the old stuff he keeps in his socks, who cares, it’s Mark E Smith, he can do whatever he wants. His skin finally fits his don’t give a fuck theatrics, he’s earned it, more that that, he always was that, and continues to be.
The whole show an encore feeding off respect, though these short sets suck, praying mantis struts and gurns his way backstage without a hitch. The band’s eyes make contact after tight shambolics and hard beats, Elena puts on her coat and bags like she’s just whipped up the shops and follows. The lights come on and there is an air of the unsure, yet acceptance that it is all over.