THURSDAY

Seeing the Fall live is a no-lose situation. First possibility: You see Mark E. Smith, one of the greatest punk frontmen of all time, singing superior versions of some of the most beautifully caustic songs ever. Second possibility (let’s call this one the Bettor’s Choice): You witness an incredibly degrading spectacle—one that will siphon liters of dignity from all participants and witnesses. On the Fall’s infamous 1998 U.S. tour, Mark E. behaved poorly: He berated bandmates, went MIA for several days, and was arrested for allegedly assaulting then-girlfriend Julia Nagle in a New York hotel room. He was a bit more civil when he came back to the States in 2001, and, from all accounts, he now appears to be Gallant to his ’98 Goofus on this current tour. Get into the spirit by playing the Fall Drinking Game (rendered in Mark E. Smith-speak): Shotgun a beer when (1) He wanders offstage in the-ah middle of a fuckin’ song or turns-ah his bleedin’ back on the crowd for-ah at least a bloody hour, right? (2) He-ah indelicately uses the c-word to bloody describe eithah a bandmate or an elected official; (3) You overhear eithah a hipster completist or fuckface neophyte who has just watched 24 Hour Party People try to-ah slip the word “Mancunian” into fuckin’ conversation; or (4) He does perfect renditions of fuckin’ any-ah song off bloody This Nation’s Saving Grace or Hex-ah Enduction Hour (we’ll call this one the Designated Driver’s Choice). The Fall plays with the Whips at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 10, on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $15. (202) 667-7960. (David Dunlap Jr.)