The Fall Manchester Factory 251 November 2012 Live Review Â Â Â We are treated to a âbrilliantly shitâ support band here tonight. The previous one being kicked off the tour. Itâs one of the better and more surreal support slots. Resplendent in sinister rubber masks, they only play 5 songs â itâs more than enough, announcing their last one as being âtwo and a half hours longâ. They do it, complete with three bass players. Â 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 Velvetâs gigs NYC circa 1969. Â 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 âyoungerâ he should have gone to Vision Express for those spectacles he now wears. Itâs a well trodden but far from tedious opening routine, like the gladiators of ancient Rome, on come the band and lay into instrumental âDefurbâ, Eleanor looking like sheâs just popped by in the midst of a shopping spree, handbag over shoulder. Then comes the uberfuhrer, snarling and spitting â though heâs less caustic these days â it might be age âbut it seems more to do with the fact that thereâs 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 âGrayâ and âSpiderâ with Smith crouching behind the PA stack reading off crumpled up bits of paper – X Factor ha! Then out of the arsenal comes âBuryâ rumbling and spitting with menace closely followed by âContainer Driversâ with Smith staring out into the distance repeating the lines over and over as a hypnotic frenzy envelops around him. Â The band comes back with a triumvirate of encores, âReformationâ, âSparta FCâ and âBlindnessâ. The latter rumbles on driven forward by the Fallâs 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.