On the day 100,000 plus people marched through Glasgow and almost exactly 4 years after The Fall’s last (and last ever) live appearance at Glasgow QMU, the musicians who played that day are back in Glasgow under the moniker Imperial Wax, more of that later.
Firstly, the support band TV Death, who hail from Newcastle, played as a three-piece (according to the singer they were “a man down tonight”, presumably a second guitarist?). BM thinks TV Death have been doing some of the other supports on this short run of dates but that Falkirk punks The Media Whores were to have played tonight, but were struck down with self-isolation issues. Anyway, TV Death put in a good stint, combining a very solid drum and bass backing with a singer whose penchant for Cramps-esque drawling vocals and shivering guitar worked well on a selection of original material. Promising, and also loud, the revamped sound system at Broadcast taking the strain however…
And so to Imperial Wax – drummer Keiron Melling, bassist Dave Spurr and guitarist Pete Greenway were the most stable Fall line-up to back Mark E Smith ever, pushing at ten years of continuous service, and 5 or maybe 6 albums, ‘Imperial Wax Solvent’ from 2008 being the first (keyboardist and former MES wife Elena was part of that lineup but left several years before the end). The trio added a fourth member Sam Curran on guitar/vocals and it is this lineup that takes to the stage tonight, the venue not exactly full (well there is a lot else on tonight but BM probably expected more Fall diehards than appear to be in attendance). The band have released a couple of EPs and an album but quite a bit of the material tonight is new.
And they are LOUD, probably the loudest band that BM has witnessed since Blanck Mass a couple of years ago, but whereas that is electronic pulsing, the bass here is particular is just pulverising, played as it is through a vintage amp, turned up to 11. The overall effect is a massive wall of noise, while Sam bawls and hollers and lyrics over the racket, actually he has very strong vocals (to be heard at all) slightly reminiscent of another Manc legend Mark Burgess of the Chameleons.
The most familiar tracks played in this 13 long set were previous singles ‘No Man’s Land’ and the catchy ‘Art of Projection’ and a couple of tracks from the first album ‘Barely Getting By’ and ‘Rammy Taxi Illuminati’. It was shouty, twangy and scything by turns, and it is important to note that this lot are certainly not, nor probably ever really were, in the shadow of MES and his body of work. There are no Fall covers, nor even any hint in the audience that this was desired or expected.
So Imperial Wax, a damn good psycho post punk garage band – period.