One of the busiest years for the group with 77 gigs played.....line-up changes were minimal - with Paul Hanley unable to make an American Tour Karl Burns returned to fill the drum seat. On return from America Hanley rejoined for a Peel Session in August with Burns joining in September to create a twin drum line-up. Early ggs in the year included Dave Tucker on Clarinet and Keyboards.
The earliest official video recording of the group was captured at the gig in Leeds in March which was released by Cherry Red on the "Perverted by Language: bis" DVD in 2003.
A number of the tracks from the American Tour were subsequently released on the album "A Part of America-Therein".
Some of the dates listed below are debateable derived from a variety of sources. 30 of the 77 gigs were not captured as far as we know.
Thursday, January 15, 1981 Rafter's, Manchester
Initially an intermittently clear and then muffled recording of the band at Manchester's Oxford Street night spot. Matters are clearer after song 2. Mark's volume is in and out at times and Hanley S tends to dominate. A chatty and occasionally intrusive audience.
Important historically for the debut appearance of Winter.
Feels a lttle lethargic from the outset with the first two numbers lacking a little zip until Mark stokes things up. Mark continues the lyrics to "Capital" as a preview to "Gramme Firday". Some interesting little funky bits in "Spectre vs Rector" which bear listening to. There is also a lenghty bridge between parts 1 and 2.
A chap next to the taper says "Don't like it" and when Mark explains that "Its time for all you minor groups to get your note books out" the same person says "oh oh he's on fire". The rest of "Middlemass" - which suffers from timing problems at the start - is unfortunately somewhat disturbed by a conversation very close to the taper.
A muscular "Wired" moves things up a notch or two and I get a sense that Mark is pushing the band to play it faster about half way through.
A lengthy "NWRA" has some sound problems and is a bit overblown in the bass notes of the keyboard department giving a muddy sound which together with low vocal volume from Mark does not aid the listening experience.
The initial parts of "Winter" are again beset by audience chatter. There are also some interesting sounds coming from the keyboard. Apart from these distractions this is a very good first reading with Mark in full strop mode.
Matters conclude with a pacy roll on-roll off which is cut short at the end.
Not an essential gig in the pantheon due to the lethargic feel and the omnipresent whittering of the audience however bears listening to for the debut track.
Saturday, January 17, 1981 Sports Center, Bolton
Recorded in a toliet somewhere in the Eastern Himalayas by the sound of it. Sounds more like something from the back of Wembley Arena than a small venue in Bolton.Clearly this is "Slates" focused with most of the material from the forthcoming ten inch. There are plenty of other and better recordings of this tour so until a better version of this emerges its best just to record it happened at this stage.- "Thank you very much. This next song is about what happens when you meet a dog with a member of the out of the Teardrop Explodes. Follow it closely." (before "Impression of J. Temperance")- "Right, this next one is about Joe Totale entering the darts world championship. (...)" (before "The N.W.R.A.")- Bootlegger: "U2 next week!" (before "How I Wrote Elastic Man")- "We're a bit (...), so, uh, (...)" (before "English Scheme")
Saturday, January 24, 1981 University of East Anglia, Norwich
Saturday, January 31, 1981 Leicester Polytechnic
Wednesday, February 4, 1981 Kent University, Canterbury
Thursday, February 5, 1981 Queen Mary's College, London
First documented performance of "Fit and Working Again"
Saturday, February 7, 1981 Cardiff University
Exquisite soundboard capture of an early 1981 gig with Smith in fine form spitting out pithy commentaries about piss-stones, students, and referencing his environs in "Leave the Capitol" with some interesting lyrical variations.
The band plays "Slates" in its entireity at various points throughout the set with references forwards with "Jawbone" but concentrating on "Grotesque" and extant singles for the majority of the set. An interesting opener with the rare "Your Heart Out" which would not appear again until May this year.
Everything is spot on here apart from some slight tuning problems on "An Older Lover". There is an exemplary reading of "New Face in Hill" which is lip-smackingly good with some intense word play. More so with a subtly funky "Middle Mass" at the start of which Mark sets up a tension between the "locals" and the "students" and towards the end reflects on revenge and the lie dream of Wigan soul.
Interesting take on Crap Rap (which starts off as 13 and turns into 19 in a matter of seconds) appears to be a variation on S.Mithering with a vituperative attack on music journalist Dave McCullough and some interesting bass riffs. Prior to this Mark lays into the denizens of this institution with some venom. There is an interesting cack handed keyboard solo on "Jack" I assume from Riley.
That the band can move from the intense ranting of "Slates" to the bubbling psychedelia of "Fit and Working" is a testament to their skill. The variety in this set list is amazing in fact.
An excellent record of this band in its pomp this deserves an official release.
Friday, February 20, 1981 Technical College, St. Helens
First documented appearance of Blob 59 and Lie Dream -- albeit in very basic form
Good audience tape. Track one>two is mostly lost due to sound drop-outs.
Fine gig with the band hitting all the right targets. Some occassional sloppy drumming from Hanley P. but generally very passable indeed.
The opening cackle and whine of "Blob/Early Lie Dream" is mostly lost to the vagaries of the tape machine. However this is redeemed with a scabrous "Prole Art Threat", an excellent "Jaw Bone" and a transcendant "Middlemass". Much has been at the time of writing this review about the Galtymore gigs of middle September 2006 and Smiths shamanic grasp of the Fall ethos. Here in "Middlemass" this is clearly evident with the violent polemic he delivers.
"Rowche Rumble" gets some backing vocals from the crowd and is delivered with some verve. The sound collapses slightly as the drums merge with the keyboards but Smith is generally audible. "An Older Lover" is a welcome respite from the preceding density of sound - however still wracked with tension as Smith provides a relentless backbone to the shifting guitar and bass patterns. "It's Friday and its crap-a-rap" announces as a jaunty ramble round hobgoblin land .... and then the sublime motorik ritual of "Leave the Capitol" performed with clinical clarity and definition that gives a shiver up the back.
The audience gets over nine minutes of the Totale mythos - some of the tension and violence from the proceeding is transformed into a rolling morasse of sensual cloying rhythm overlayed with manic hip-preacherdom from Smith. The keys and guitars are particularly harsh and unforgiving.
"Gramme Friday" is delivered well, a definative live version of this number from "Grotesque after the Gramme". Mark announces "Slates" in an cod-rock star fashion.
The two encores are beset by some audience banter with Smith who pushes "Fit and Working Again" against the requests for earlier material. The audience around the taper express glee at the appearance of "Muzorewis" which completes the gig with notable energy.
A good gig with some high points.
Saturday, February 21, 1981 Brady's, Liverpool
A very clear audience recording in most parts. A nice "club" feel to the sound albeit a tad bassy in places.
Opens with a mutant "Blob 59/proto Lie Dream" reading. Some feedback on "Older Lover".
"Alright don't let shabby newspapers come between us" introduces one of the nine known outings of the prog-tastic "Cary Grants Wedding" and features one of the first known hearing of the conceptually continuous "Wolverines'" that pepper Mr Smiths utterings over the years. An excellent reading.
Some serious tuning problems feature in "New Face" with a meandering guitar noodling section at the beginning as Craig tries manfully to get his instrument in some sort of tandem with the rest of the band. He fails and the version is seriously sans-guitar and has overblown bass until the kazoo kicks in and then it all seems to right itself.
There is a period of intense tuning after this. Mark indicates that the band have been "contriving a break". A very dense version of "Middlemass" follows with some minor sound problems caused by the bass notes of the keyboard. Marc Riley eventually gives up on the keyboards complaining that they are out of tune.
More guitar problems beset a hiccup start to "Container Drivers".
Unfortunately the rest of the gig is missing after "Leave the Capitol" on my version so I cannot comment any further at this stage.
Monday, February 23, 1981 Plaza, Glasgow
Very bassy soundboard. The gig is beset with sound problems with MES making a series of pleas to Grant Showbiz to get the monitors sorted.
Generally the gig is very good indeed with a wide variety of material.
Smith is less than complimentary about St Helens during the start the closing C'n'C which has a serious amount of new wordplay.
Wednesday, February 25, 1981 Bungalow Bar, Paisley
Good audience capture and a tight muscular performance. The return of "Before the Moon Falls" after a two year gap which would get one more play three weeks later at Leeds before being retired for good.
Saturday, February 28, 1981 Sheffield University
Tuesday, March 17, 1981 Riley Smith Hall, Leeds University
An important gig in the canon for a number of reasons:
- The first performance of Hip Priest
- The last performance of Before the Moon Falls
- The earliest official live video recording of the group (although the clips from Northern Cream may predate this - we are still working on that!)
A very good recording of what some might consider to be key gig in respect of the groups familiarity with its music, positive audience reaction, and general exposure to the world at large.
- Soundboard (or possible video audio rip)
- Official Video - released 12 May 2003 Perverted By Language Bis And Live At Leeds - Cherry Red (CRDVD30)
- Official Video - released 26 May 2009 -Northern Cream: Fall DVD That Fights Back!, Ozit Records OZITDVD0008;
Saturday, May 9, 1981 Eksit, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The first of a ten date tour of the Netherlands and Germany before the second american tour.
A well recorded gig.
Karl Burns returned on drums - as evidenced by Hans photos from the following nights gigs - it is assumed that educational commitments took precedence in respect of Paul Hanley.
Sunday, May 10, 1981 Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Wednesday, May 13, 1981 Kijkhuis, Tilburg, The Netherlands
A reasonably good audience recording - vocals are very clear, however the bass tends to dominate leaving the guitars a little lost on the overall mix, specifically Craig.
There are some interesting lyical variations on Leave the Capital which are required listening with MES commenting somewhat balefully on the immediate surroundings and the previous gig at Rotterdam.
The third reading of "Hip Priest" is pretty much fully formed - some interesting use of echo/reverb on the vocals however. Hanley's bass is monstrous on this. There are also feedback issues which keep re-occurring
The first performance of the utterly marvellous "Fantastic Life" is ummm utterly marvellous all Can like in it's unrelenting motorik loveliness.
Thursday, May 14, 1981 Alcazar, Koningshooikt, Belgium
Sunday, May 17, 1981 Vera, Groningen, The Netherlands
Tuesday, May 19, 1981 Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany
A tad middle of the hall and echoey but listenable. One of the guitars tends to dominate.
Compared to other nights on the german leg of the tour Mark seems a little restrained. There is still the reference to pantaloons as with most outings in this run but it all feels a bit tired in places.
Notable for the first outing of "Fortress" which is short and shows the bones of the monster it was to become on "Hex". A good race through "Wired" and "Drivers" lead to an outstanding "NWRA" centred around Mark's outstanding imagery. That this is followed by an exceptional "Fantastic Life" on its third outing. Riley's keyboard is the secret ingredient here - minimal but apposite. Single notes and scouring noise applied against scowling guitar from Scanlon.
Mark asks "Is this where "Beedles" (sic) made it then?" before launching into the sixth outing for a jaunty/fun version of "Lie Dream" with some of the words being delivered fast and speedy.
A glorious tight rendition of "Capitol" proves to be the centre and high point of the gig. Impressive togetherness by the gruppe here. Mark advises "Right this is a nice laid back one" to a sixth outing (again) for a silky "Hip Priest" - there is a little audience chatter - not too intrusive. Some serious bass from Hanley S here and some nice Frankie Valli noises from Mark as his vox is lost in a veil of echo."Prole Art Threat" proves to be a "brief summary of GB heirarchy" and has great dynamism and some restrained drumming from Hanley P.
An tangled and tinny "Older Lover" is followed by a tape flip and a fade in to a declamatory and screeching/howling "J.Quays". Mark challenges his audience to get the references in a scabrous tour through "C 'n' C" which is initially disturbed by some keyboard abuse and morphs into a lengthy "Hassleschmuck".
Unfortunately my copy of the gig is missing the last three tracks so the review cannot be concluded until these are sourced.
Wednesday, May 20, 1981 Jovel Cinema, Munster, Germany
Friday, May 22, 1981 Alter Bahnhof, Hof, Germany
Saturday, May 23, 1981 SO36, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
- Official Release - Live From The Vaults - Alter Banhof, Hof, Germany : Released 21 November 2005 Hip Priest via Voiceprint HIPP010CD
Monday, May 25, 1981 Bonn, West Germany
- Leave the Capitol, No Xmas for John Quays, City Hobgoblins, Slags Slates Etc and Fantastic Life were released as part of Live from the Vaults Alterbanhof, Hof, Germany on HIPP010CD on 21st November 2005.
Sunday, May 31, 1981 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Wednesday, June 3, 1981 The Underground, New York City, New York
Thursday, June 4, 1981 Maxwell's, Hoboken, New Jersey
Good audience tape. Quite a lot of sound break up but nothing too distracting. Can be a bit bassy in parts.
The two openers from "Grotesque" are played with consummate ease and make for an interesting personal introduction to the rolling glory that is "Leave the Capital". Mark advises that "Lie Dream" is "set in Wigan and we had better get it right this time" - well they do although there is an slight nervousness in the playing and some odd notes in one of the descending riffs and a mess up on the lyrics in places.
Interesting early version of "Deer Park" with higher guitar riff and different use of the words giving a different intonation. Also a reversal of "Deer Park" and "Fortress" and a more leaden and slightly different take on the latter. Fascinating to see the emergence of these numbers and their changes before the final version committed to history on "Hex".
A worried version of "Older Lover" suffers from a sense of turbulence rhythmically, this is rescued by a vituperative and blistered version of "Wired" and a simlarly obloquious "Prole Art Threat". Things are brought back down to earth with a sparse version of "Hip Priest" and an explanation that "Middlemass" is "about Switzerland". "Session Musician" rolls and tumbles like it usually does and is beset by booming bass problems.
"Fantastic Life" is a touch untogether until Smith enters and pulls it together - some excellent vocals here. "Hobgoblins" is wonderfully spasmodic with reference to spiders and gremlins.
An odd little gig - not helped by the volume loss in place and some bass booming. Worth it for tracking down the original version of "Deer Park/Fortress"
Friday, June 5, 1981 Peppermint Lounge, New York City, New York
Saturday, June 6, 1981 Irving Plaza, New York City, New York
Tuesday, June 9, 1981 Bond's, New York, New York
Thursday, June 11, 1981 Spit, Boston, Massachusetts
Friday, June 12, 1981 City Gardens, Trenton, New Jersey
- Middle Mass and Container Drivers officially released on the "Expanded" edition of "A Part of America Therein." on 22nd November 2004.
Saturday, June 13, 1981 Interferon Club, New York City, New York
Sunday, June 14, 1981 Mudd Club, New York City, New York
Tuesday, June 16, 1981 Omni, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, June 17, 1981 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.
Friday, June 19, 1981 688, Atlanta, Georgia
A fantastic soundboard capture of the group.
Allegedly in 1982 MES said ""Like we played Georgia in America last year, y'know, the redneck place, and there was a packed hall when we went on, did about 2 numbers and everybody walked out. So we did the set and there was about 15 fucking people. So we were walking off and this redneck says to me "You dare go back on there boy" so I says "right lads, back on". We did and it was fucking great, we did about another quarter of an hour for about 5 people."
What is clear is their is a spattering of appreciative applause throughout, mixed with similarly appreciative yelps. It feels like that their were more than 15 people there - but I was not so I cannot speak with any accuracy. The circulating copy is painfully short which suggests that not all is captured - a great pity as the group is on fire. MES is completely accurate about the performance - it is spot on. I'd venture that this could have been released instead of "A part of America Therein" given the standard.
Particularly memorable is Scanlon's manic off kilter scribbling which is erroneously contrapuntal in the best possible way.
A stunning but altogether ridiculously short capture of the group in unapproachable form.
Notable transposition of speed into sleep on "Your Heart Out" - with some pretty damn good harmonies from Scanlon, Riley and Carroll....
This is worth listening to for the nigh on perfect reading of "Winter"......this is The Fall at their very best.
Saturday, June 20, 1981 Antenna, Memphis, Tennessee
Tuesday, June 23, 1981 Jimmy's, New Orleans, Louisiana
Session Musician on Sanctuary's expanded "A Part of America Therein."
Wednesday, June 24, 1981 The Island, Houston, Texas
Thursday, June 25, 1981 Clubfoot, Austin, Texas
Friday, June 26, 1981 Hot Club, Dallas, Texas
Saturday, June 27, 1981 Hot Club, Dallas, Texas
Monday, June 29, 1981 El Paseo de la Luz, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wednesday, July 1, 1981 American Legion Hall, Phoenix, Arizona
Thursday, July 2, 1981 Tumbleweeds, Tucson, Arizona
Friday, July 3, 1981 Los Angeles, California
Saturday, July 4, 1981 Al's Bar, Los Angeles, California
Sunday, July 5, 1981 Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, July 7, 1981 Myron's Ballroom, Los Angeles, California
This taping - previously unknown to most collectors emerged in January 2013 thanks to "Man at the Back"
Wednesday, July 8, 1981 Keystone, Palo Alto, California
Friday, July 10, 1981 Keystone, Berkeley, California - Soundboard Recording
Saturday, July 11, 1981 The Stone, San Francisco, California
Sunday, July 12, 1981 Indian Center, San Francisco, California
Echoey audience capture - MES is lost in a reverb fog and seems distinct from gruppe. Some mad women in the hall spends a lot of the gig squealing in an irritating high pitched fashion.
At the start the gruppe feels a little lumpen but seems to pick up the pace with a driven "Capital" before which Mark explains that the band is not psychedelic!
There are plenty of other superior recordings of the "A p
Monday, July 13, 1981 I-Beam, San Francisco, California
A stunning performance of the group from the penultimate outing on the mammoth 1981 US tour.
Smith is a playful mood - changing the words - joshing with the audience - americanising his words - chucking in the odd german phrase in.
Excellent quality sound in the most part, drums are a touch muddy in places perhaps.
The high point is an exceptional reading of "Winter" where Burns cymbal play is deft and the band crash through a muscular version of the song. But I am being too selective - every number tonight has something special about it as the group power on at mesmeric speed with all the confidence of a unit which has honed down its act to clockwork precision on a long tour. Hanley's bass on "Deer Park" has to be heard to be believed - an exercise in dexterity that would have Bootsy Collins slapping his lips in awe to.
The closing "Leave the Capital" is taken at a mesmeric amphetamine tinged pace with the Roman Shell being replaced by a Spanish one in deference to the locale.
Thursday, July 16, 1981 Tut's, Chicago, Illinois
Bass and drum heavy soundboard recording.
Last gig of the "Part of America Therein" tour with the opening track being featured on the album of the same name. A stunning exposition of the 1981 band at the height of its powers.
Developing lyrical snippets appear in a Beefheartian "Fortress" where the contrapuntal ambiguity between Hanley's swinging bass and the thrashing guitars is stunning.
"There are ten people in the world the rest are Slates, except me."
"I walked twice around Wakefield Jail"
"I am The Fall"
Totally Wired is taken at heat death breathtaking pace - a mass of tumbling drums and scribbling guitars. Similarly "Jawbone" motors at a fair pace. An exemplary "Hip Priest" is full of controlled tension, maintained by a rock steady beat from Burns. This track also appears on "A part of America therein".
"Cash n Carry" begins with a fit of kazoo madness and is a piece of relentless genius. The sound deteriorates for a few seconds but is generally excellent.
One of the best versions of Printhead committed to tape is followed by an exceptional "Winter"....both scabrous, atonal, and mesmeric.
Matters conclude with a mammoth reading of "John Quays".
Friday, September 4, 1981 Sheffield Polytechnic
Wednesday, September 9, 1981 Hotel Borg, Reykjavik, Iceland
Thursday, September 10, 1981 Hotel Borg, Reykjavik, Iceland
Saturday, September 12, 1981 Austerbaejarbio, Reykjavik, Iceland
Wednesday, September 30, 1981 Fagin's, Manchester
Thursday, October 1, 1981 Blackpool
Friday, October 9, 1981 North London Polytechnic
A pretty dire recording from the back of the hall wherein the band is just about audible. On my version there is no track splitting leading to two lengthy slabs of material.
Given its such a poor recording there is not a lot to discern. Steve Sutherland's contemporary review in the NME talked about "deliberately planned unprofressionalism" and described the band as "crap" but "fun". Yes, indeed. Not sure i agree with the first description as this is the 1981/82 six piece in full flow.
This is a memorable gig as it provides the first known outing of "Look, Know" which is a memorable slab of percussive violence. Seven gigs into the new two drummer line up the band is still coming to terms with how it can use Hanley P and Burns effectively. Starting with a sparky "Fiery Jack" featuring a couple of nods to J.Cash's "Ring of Fire". The third captured outing of "Nazis" is a playful half pace motorik rumble with counterpoint jangly guitar and pushy bass. Victor Draygo gets resurrected for a violent version - not heard since March of that year - where the guitar dominates.
"Hip Priest" suffers from heavy audience chatter but is a well realised version. A brief explanation of Middle Mass followed by a little audience insulting leads to a jaunty "Middlemass".
"Fantastic Life" is - well - fantastic! An overwhelming surge of sound with an exceptional piece of strangled guitar buggery in the centre by Scanlon. This is quickly followed after a tape flip by an equally superb "Fortress" morphing into a glorious "Deer Park". Unfortunately audience chatter pervades this wonderous noise. Alan Pellay joins on guest vocals towards the end. There is an alien tinge to Riley's keyboards on this outing.
Further audience chatter and some shouting more or less utterly disturbs a brooding eight minute plus version of "Winter" - I do wish young men would conduct their courting habits elsewhere than Fall gigs. Glitter Band drum noise proceeds a speedy "Lie Dream" with the band going at full tilt. There is more extraneous crowd noise as keyboard mangling introduces a fulsome "CnC" with excellent noise>tension-release as a foul mouthed young lady whitters on in an Anglo-Saxon fashion. Mark quotes lyrics from "I'm into CB" over the Cash and Carry riff and then wanders off topic for a while with some expressive screeching falsetto and whooping, a quick nod to "Stars on Falty Five" into a speedy "Prole Art Threat".
Not memorable due to the recording and the constant audience chatter but notable for the first appearance of "Look, Know".
Wednesday, October 21, 1981 Xtreems, New Regent, Brighton
First documented live rendition of Just Step Sideways
Front of house noisy sprawl type thingy. Damn good - just like being at the gig. Not the highest fidelity - but hell who gives a hoot!
Band firing on all cylinders and more. Its hard to single out any one track here. But one has to try!
It starts with an awesome bass driven, kazoo mithered version of Blob 59/89 with Mark doing his best WMC vocal performance and launches into a violent "2nd Dark Age" which benefits from the two drum drive. Breathtaking in your face version.
Scribbly guitars, rampant riffing bass, and speedy drums push "Deer Park" into classic garage band territory....similarly "Lie Dream" cuts across and accelerates into nerve jangling dance pattern....the immense "Session" is dominated by Hanley S and worries itself into history as an immense piece of Fall pre-cog.
Again Steve ploughs a deep bass furrow on "Look Know" - an early take where Mark takes all the vocal chores - intense take on this song - Mark does not give a shit what he looks like when he goes out and rants about it with pleasing abandon.
The version of "Nazis" is exemplary......
Mark berates, not without some humour, the audience and "Plastic Man" starts and the crowd acclaim - and so they should - nervous, jittery, and sublime. Declamatory magnificence over the swampiest beat since "Clear Spot".
The audience howls in the opening "quiet" section of Winter - soon all is quiet as Mark's tense delivery pushes the noise down to a background cackle. This is funky - its a funky tune....pure magic. The intensity of this performance defies description.
Soon keyboard improv leads to a sexy "Capitol" with sliding lyrics and hip shaking rhythmical interplay....the riff of "Just Step" remains as vital as it did 20+ years ago and Marks vocal histrionics are superb.
Strange juddering noises lead into a cough and phlegm and keyboard swirl rumble through "Mithering" - riffs jump from the keyboards amongst the fettling noises - Mark rants and opines over the sparse but intense riffing - at 5:08 it jumps into a menacingly fast "Prole Art Threat".
"Jawbone" cycles inexorably into "the" classic Fall via Can number "Fantastic Life"....
Essential - a night of pure genius - the sound quality is irrelevant - turn it up loud and dance around.....
Thursday, October 22, 1981 Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Friday, October 23, 1981 Manchester University
Monday, October 26, 1981 Coasters, Edinburgh
Tuesday, October 27, 1981 Bierkeller, Newcastle
A good audience capture.with an interesting ongoing dialogue between the taper and his chum.which somewhat detracts from the enjoyment of the evenings entertainment whilst at the same time being very amusing.
An another excellent outing for the group with a wide variety of fan favourites. Interesting early take on Just Step Sideways has an extended opening.
Recommended if you can put up with the ongoing chat:
- "Good evening, we are The Fall. As in blister packed. Date! Stamped! Date! Stamped! Blister! Packed!" (during "The N.W.R.A.")
- Bootlegger: "He'll have to start eating his greens... dehydrated." (during "The N.W.R.A.")
- "And I just thought I'd tell you... go on, get on the fucking (...), yeah?" (during "Fantastic Life")
- Bootlegger: "I've never seen owt like this!" (after a particularly fearsome "Fantastic Life")
- "Right, this is a little story about (Miss Andreck's) tomb. Tragic life." (before "Jawbone and the Air Rifle")
- "Can I ask the light people... the lighting people to turn it down a bit and turn it on between numbers because we're a very active physically group. We move around. From instrument to instrument I meant." (before "Hip Priest")
- "I may look a bit (gawpy) but I've got a bit of a cold, you know?" (before "Second Dark Age")
- "'Cos groups can't change the world... meet Mr Smith and his cronies who did not." (during "Second Dark Age")
- MES: "I'm now on Riley's microphone." Punter: "Give him it back!" (before "Session Musician")
- "Turn the monitors up! I want to hear myself! Thank you!" (during "Session Musician")
- "Who Makes the Nazis? Have a bleeding guess! Have a bleeding guess!" (during "Who Makes the Nazis?")
- "I'll tell you who likes the Nazis: the mixing boy. The bearded mixing freak who looks like a (...) fucking shitface." (during "Who Makes the Nazis?")
- "And the secret of the lads' lives... is Greek beer." (during "Cash'n'Carry")
- "Right, Craig, 'Deer Park' please." (before "Deer Park")
- Punter: "Hey! These are a really good band, these!" (after "Deer
Wednesday, October 28, 1981 Tower Club, Hull
Thursday, October 29, 1981 Limit Club, Sheffield
Friday, October 30, 1981 Northeast London Polytechnic
An excellent audience capture net of the two muddy soundcheck recordings which are good references but pale in comparison to the very clear capture. A slight drop out in Deer Park does not detract.
Mark's vocals are exceptionally clear despite perceived on stage problems with sound via monitors
The genesis of Hex was delivered through this Autumn/Winter tour and the emerging six piece sound is presented here in fledging form. A notable start with the second known outing of "CB" in its in early narrative form where discordant guitar backing morpjs into a jaunty greatest riffs medley.
An exceptional trio of songs follows with a storming "Fantastic Life" creating a wall of unforgiving garage sound. It transpires that "NWRA" has been extracted through the use of "Soap..... Sodium Pentathol".
Mark demands that the band goes faster during "Sideways" - he is right to do so as it has a lumpen feel to it tonight....almost constipated in its delivery.
Mark explains that he is trying to get a vocal uh sound and its like shouting against a brick wall before and amazing nigh on nine minute version of "Winter" with a cryptic "egomania" slipped in before the vocals proper start. The tension and release here is palpable unfortunately slightly ruined by extraneous audience chatter, and a slight break in the song I assume due to a tape flip.
Encores include a wee tale from the Hebredians which is a tad slow, and "Leave the Capital" introduced by a gnomic "omnipresence is better than mere presence" - again to my ears a touch slow in the delivery.
It may be that the recording needs speeding up a tad to reflect the actual sound?
Other than those minor gripes a good gig with mostly solid performances.
Saturday, October 31, 1981 Totnes Civic Hall
Sunday, November 1, 1981 Top Rank, Plymouth
Remarkably good audience recording - a tad hissy but generally a great listen. There is a touch of audience noise that tends to pervade during the "quieter" numbers.
The early atonal two note son of "Spoonful" version of "I'm into CB" is an unforgiving noisy thing and soon morphs into the riff medley which includes 2nd Dark Age, Fiery Jack, Container Drivers and extreme silliness on kazoos. Band launches into a tight "Casino Soul" (just released pop-pickers on the Kamera lable). Band is in full noisy garage form - even Riley's keys have a tense non-nonsense sound about them. Quickly followed by the "other" A-side in the form of the exceptional "Fantastic Life" taken at an energy sapping pace as tales of "Guy Burgess" and "pill pushers" mesh with squealing guitar free form-ness.
If all that were not enough to stir the sinews a bubbling tension racked version of "Nazis" has more funk than Mr Funky the Funkmeister....backing tapes into the fray half way through adding a strange 6 o'clock regional TV feel to the whole affair. It ends with more kazoo excess and after a polite request to turn the lights down ("its like a sauna up here") the gruppe launches into a masterful "Sideways". A short rumble through a memorable "Fortress" - with slight lyrical variation - leaps into a muttering and angry version of "Middlemass" all clashing and screaming and twangy bass from Steve. Mark indulges in some extemporisation in the closing section. Quite a bit of chatter messes up the enjoyment of the fledging "Look, Know".
"Fiery Jack" is simply exceptional - a speed garage classic with exceptional riffing and chording and drawling laconic sneers from Mark. The band takes it up a peg or two at the end with double time drumming as it speeds up into a violent coda.
After all this madness its time for an initially slow and reverential version of "Winter" which develops into a pulsing motorik amble through the latter part - some dropped beats here and there in this. The band resurrected the catchy "Put Away" for a few of the dates on this tour - its a good version but almost a little throw away light relief in the context of the more recent and denser material.
Atonal keyboard sprawls introduce a jerky swing laden "CnC" - this is brutal stuff - the drums kick in and MES launches into it with some sprightly rhythmic lyrics - Mark advises that visits to Sheffield are not recommended - early quotes from "Mere Pseud Mag Ed" are dropped into the mix and band tumbles through to an exceptionally bluesy version of "Gramme Version" which is full of contradictions as it moves from one part to the other. "Jawbone" is stunning, and "Draygo" is full of bile and a little loose in the guitar area.
After a short encore break the kazoos return and launch into an incredible version of "Leave the Capitol" which has some remarkable drumming - this band transcends brilliance in situations like this - tight as a ducks chuff with MES sliding all over tunescape but on the button on the choruses. It closes with a joyfully riotous "Session Musician".
Tuesday, November 3, 1981 Warehouse, Liverpool
Wednesday, November 4, 1981 Gaiety Bar, Blackpool
Thursday, November 5, 1981 Bierkeller, Leeds
Friday, November 6, 1981 Imperial Cinema, Birmingham
Monday, December 7, 1981 The Venue, London