Ten years ago this month, Smith and his legendary avant-punk band were in the midst of one of their wildest tours on record, the east coast leg of which looped them through NYC, Jersey, and Philadelphia for concerts at Coney Island High, Brownies, the Loop Lounge, and the Trocadero. Although I didn't get to attend any of the shows myself, I had the fortune to be on the air at WPRB on the evening of the Trocadero show (April 4th), when Smith physically battled onstage with his bandmates. Fellow DJ Greg Lyon witnessed all of the action live, and on his way back from Philly, visited me on the air at WPRB to deliver a play-by-play of the evening's most shocking events.
The voices you will hear in this MP3 are my own, my WPRB co-host Jen Moyse, and Greg. There were definitely some other PRB DJs of the era lurking about in the studio that evening, but I can't remember exactly who.
[Listen] (Poor sound quality alert... This MP3 was made from a cheap cassette, and the levels being blown out certainly isn't helping.)
I have only vague recollections of what happened the following week, but I remember that the Fall scheduled two consecutive shows at the Brownies nightclub with only one or two days advanced notice. (The band's popularity notwithstanding, tales of the on-stage antics in Philly made their way up the coast quickly, and both shows sold out immediately.) According to the Fall's gigography page, only one of the Brownies shows actually happened due to Smith being arrested on assault charges at 3 AM on the morning of April 8th. If my memory serves correctly, the opening band for the Brownies show was none other than the Chrome Cranks, whom I later heard had most of their gear tossed onto the sidewalk by Smith. Yeesh, what a night! Courtesy of Brian Turner, here is an audio snippet of the Fall onstage at Brownies, in the midst of the chaos. At around 4 minutes in, it sounds like someone from the crowd gets ahold of the mic and the whole thing quickly devolves into a violent cussing match between the crowd, band members, and Smith.
In the ten years and however many millions of lineup changes that followed these events, the band went on to release three of their best albums, in my opinion. (Country on the Click, Fall Heads Roll, and The Unutterable.) May they ring on for another decade at least! As Smith famously professed at around the same time these recordings were made: If it's me and your grandma on bongos, it's the Fall.
The Fall - Theme from Sparta F.C. [Streaming Real Audio]