The Fall : Manchester : Live Review

The Fall Manchester Factory 251 November 2012 Live Review       We are treated to a ‘brilliantly shit’ support band here tonight. The previous one being kicked off the tour. It’s one of the better and more surreal support slots. Resplendent in sinister rubber masks, they only play 5 songs – it’s more than enough, announcing their last one as being “two and a half hours long”. They do it, complete with three bass players.   In the interim before Das Gruppe we are treated to a couple of Velvets tracks, reminding us of where this band took its early influences. On reflection this gig resembles footage of Velvet’s gigs NYC circa 1969.   November 2012 The Fall are in the midst of another purple patch, brought about in part by an element of stability. The current unit have been mobilised for some time now and are stretched tight, nailed down with spikes, no drum rolls, nothing frilly. Perhaps not enough risk? Smith talks in interviews about the audience getting ‘younger’ he should have gone to Vision Express for those spectacles he now wears. It’s a well trodden but far from tedious opening routine, like the gladiators of ancient Rome, on come the band and lay into instrumental ‘Defurb’, Eleanor looking like she’s just popped by in the midst of a shopping spree, handbag over shoulder. Then comes the uberfuhrer, snarling and spitting – though he’s less caustic these days – it might be age –but it seems more to do with the fact that there’s a definite sense of everyone being comfortable with each other, smiles all round. Calm before the storm? First half they rip through some new numbers, including ‘Gray’ and ‘Spider’ with Smith crouching behind the PA stack reading off crumpled up bits of paper – X Factor ha! Then out of the arsenal comes ‘Bury’ rumbling and spitting with menace closely followed by ‘Container Drivers’ with Smith staring out into the distance repeating the lines over and over as a hypnotic frenzy envelops around him.   The band comes back with a triumvirate of encores, ‘Reformation’, ‘Sparta FC’ and ‘Blindness’. The latter rumbles on driven forward by the Fall’s rhythm and bass engine rattling the bones of the old Factory to its core, I imagine deep down in the catacombs the skeletal remains of Wilson, Hannett and Gretton turning to each other grinning in appreciation.

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  1. I can vouch for Smith’s opinion that the audience are getting younger. I went to see them in Norwich at the John Peel gig they did with the Undertones a few weeks ago, and while there were a great many middle aged blokes in attendance as ever, there were noticeably more youngsters down the front, evidenced by their enthusiastic dancing and crowd surfing. Yes, crowd surfing. The time before that I saw them in Cambridge it felt like I was the youngest person there. And I am not young.

    • Saw them in Hull last Friday. Grandads at the back and kids at the front and there were plenty of both. Lively Mosh pit for most of the gig and from my place half way between deep heat and acne cream there was nothing but awe. Extraordinary band bang on form. Totally Unique!

  2. Brilliantly shit,,, thanks steve for the review,. i think that means good and bad…roll on leeds tonight for more fun….ps 4 bass players at the end but maybe 5 tonight!

  3. At least give the ‘brilliantly shit’ support act the honour of a name. I take it it was the more brilliant and less shit Evil Blizzard. Read the review at the link above. They are a great band.

  4. I thought the Container Drivers were initially going to summon Lucifer over Lancashire but it did not come to pass. A good send off for my extended Shellac Nightmare, a trip to see Uzeda twice, the Ex and friends at Cafe Oto, every band at Camber Sands and now two more Mission of Burma gigs; the Fall played the first Shellac curated ATP after which I stayed up until 5am drinking with Graham Lewis of Wire. However, for £20 I feel the Fall should play a longer set.


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