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gigography 1977


In June 2006, Tony Friel posted a goldmine of early Fall material on his website ( now defunct), including the above setlist, which predates the first Fall gig by a few months.MES was trying to figure out how his new group's live set might pan out, hence the timings. As you can see, the band had not yet learned all the material on the setlist.

The set, with thanks to QTarquin for filling in the gaps.

Not Right (Stooges) / Psycho Mafia / Louie, Louie (Kingsmen) / Frightened / Stepping Out / Copped It / Drugs or Something (aka Want Some Drugs or Something) / Your Heart Out / Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger (Bo Diddley) / Outsiders / Brand New Cadillac (Vince Taylor & His Playboys) / You're Driving Me Insane (Roughnecks - Lou Reed pre-VU) / Repetition / Don't Think About It / Chile's Dead > Race Hatred > Coupla Punks // encore: Not Goin' Home


May 1977 : lineup # 1 : Mark E. Smith (vocals), Martin Bramah (guitar), Tony Friel (bass), Steve Ormrod (drums). Note that before they played any gigs, the lineup was to be Martin on vocals, Mark on guitar, Tony on bass, and Una on drums (a drum kit was too expensive, so Una was saving up for her Snoopy keyboard at the time of this gig).

Monday, May 23 1977   North West Arts basement, King Street, Manchester

The Fall's first gig was in the North West Arts office/shop/cafe complex and was part of the Manchester Musician's Collective, organized by Dick Witts and Trevor Wishart. Dick Witts recalls the venue as being "like a fashionable restaurant in the late 70s, with everything white. It was done out like a small white cave. We just took the tables and chairs out. Mark and Martin, who were taller than the others, had to bend down because of the low ceiling. It wasn't really public, the audience was just a group of other musicians sitting around listening."

Martin Bramah recalls, "The first gig was recorded, so somebody might have a tape somewhere. It was a small room and about half the audience was The Buzzcocks. Mark just let fly with such venom from day one. I remember he just sort of reached into the audience and virtually poked his finger up Howard Devoto's nose."

The set included Hey Fascist, Race Hatred, Bingo Master's Breakout, and closed with Repetition. Una Baines had not yet got a bank loan for a keyboard so watched from the audience; the drummer was "Dave," an insurance salesman and "rabid conservative" who lasted just the one gig.

Details about this and some of the other 1977 gigs are taken from Simon Ford's excellent article in the May 2002 issue of Wire. The date is probably correct and was deduced from a letter MES wrote to Tony Friel shortly after the gig.


May - December 1977 : lineup # 2 : Mark E. Smith (vocals), Martin Bramah (guitar), Tony Friel (bass), Una Baines (keyboards), Karl Burns (drums).

Sometime during the summer of 1977 this lineup recorded one of their rehearsals, perhaps in Mark's sitting room: tracks were Dresden Dolls, Industrial Estate and Psycho Mafia. This session was released some years later on a bootleg 7" (Total Eclipse).



Friday, 3 June 1977   The Squat, Devas Street, Manchester


The band's second gig was part of a "Stuff the Jubilee" festival; I guess a late addition); also on the bill were the Drones, Warsaw, the Worst, and the Negatives (w/Kevin Cummins on drums). The set included Una Baines playing the national anthem on keyboards. No tape exists?

(3rd June was a Friday, not the 6th, so I think I have the date correct for this gig.)


Saturday, 25 June 1977   North East London Polytechnic, Longbridge Road, Barking


Rock Against Racism benefit supporting Buzzcocks and the Verbals. Fourth band on the bill were the Sockets, who became the Purple Hearts. After the gig they were courted by Gary Bushell. No tape exists? Many thanks to Spencer for the flyer and Martin Ling for the ticket.


Monday, 4 July 1977   The Vortex at Crackers, Soho, London


Opening night of the Vortex. Supporting were John Cooper Clarke and Buzzcocks. From George Gimarc's Punk Diary 1970-1979:  "Opening act The Fall are greeted with great indifference. Their music is aggressive but not as banal as some openers can be. It's only The Fall's sixth-ever gig. They got together in Manchester late last year and have a harsh, unschooled approach to music."

An advert in Melody Maker (2 July 1977) gives The Fall second billing between Buzzcocks and John Cooper Clarke and DJ Nic Lee. The bar stayed open till 2 am and entrance cost £1. It was the grand opening night of the club. Although not advertised playing two numbers that night were Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers.

Thanks to Mark Wiffen for the flyer. No tape exists?


Friday, 22 July 1977   Hulme Labour Club, Manchester

Supporting Buzzcocks. No tape exists?


Thursday, 18 August 1977   St. Georges' Community Centre, Livesey Street, Manchester

Thanks to Kevin for the ticket

Stephen Burke: "I went to the Fall's first gig, it was on King St., North West Arts. The second gig seems to be missing. 30 years is a long time and I don't remember the name of the club but it was in Collyhurst/Ancoats about two weeks later. A youth club on Oldham Road, just past the Royal Mail. No bar, just soft drinks and about 50 kids running round. I'd say there was about 50-80 to see the gig. Pretty sure that Una played. I think the youth club is still there on Oldham Road, same side as the Royal Mail at the corner of the next traffic lights."

[The ex-members Simon Ford interviewed for his book recalled that the Stuff the Jubilee gig on 3 June was the band's second gig. Kevin Cummins wrote in to say that the gig Stephen Burke remembered was actually on 18 August]:

Kevin: "The Youth Club gig Steve Burke is referring to was this one. Scan of my ticket attached. It was a pretty pointless gig really - the kids were too young. The band played three or so songs before the guy running the place told us that 'they weren't the kind of band he was expecting'. They gig was abandoned and after a quick phone call, the gear was loaded into the van and they went to The Ranch club on Dale Street to 'finish' the gig. These are the pics that have been published widely. Hope that sorts a few things out for you."


Thursday, 18 August 1977   The Ranch, Dale Street, Manchester


Three photographs by Kevin Cummins are in Brian Edge's Paintwork book. No tape exists?


Friday, 2 September 1977   Kirby Suite, Kirby, Knowsley, Merseyside

Supporting Buzzcocks

Tim Sneller: "As far as I remember the Buzzcocks did not turn up – according to Smith they were ‘too tired’. The Fall therefore played their set twice. I believe the night was organised as part of a Right To Work march from Liverpool to Blackpool, which was certainly why I ended up going. I’d never heard of The Fall before but they were brilliant.

No tape exists?


Tuesday, 6 September 1977   Barbarella's, Birmingham

Supporting the Worst and Buzzcocks. No tape exists?


Wednesday, 21 September 1977   Civic Centre, Stretford

With the Worst and John Cooper Clarke. No tape exists?


October 1977   Squat Club, Devas Street, Manchester

Many thanks to Bernie for these photos. No tape exists?


Sunday, 2 October 1977   Electric Circus, Manchester


Stepping Out / Last Orders

Very incomplete from the Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus 10". Not 2 November as stated in the record's liner notes. The bill on the Electric Circus's last weekend were Warsaw, the Prefects, The Worst, The Fall, Magazine (their first gig), and Buzzcocks. As you can see from the listing the last weekend at the Electric Circus was a benefit for the Pat Seeds Scanner Appeal Fund.


Tuesday, 4 October 1977   The Marquee, London

Supporting the Worst and Buzzcocks. No tape exists?


Thursday, 20 October 1977   Katie's, Nottingham

Supported by the Worst and the Slugs. No tape exists?


Friday, 28 October 1977   Rafters, 65 Oxford Road, Manchester

Supporting Magazine. No tape exists?


Thursday, 9 November 1977    Indigo Studios, Manchester

Bingo Master's Breakout / Psycho Mafia / Repetition / Frightened

Studio session financed by Buzzcocks' manager Richard Boon. The first three tracks would eventually be released in August 1978 on the "Bingo Master's Breakout" single (Step Forward); Frightened from this session has never been released and I don't think a copy of the recording has ever surfaced. Mark asked for it not to be included on the EP because it was a "dull version."


Sunday, 13 November 1977   Band on the Wall, Swan Street, Manchester

No tape exists? Thanks to Tony for the flyers and Anthony Holt for the review.


Friday, 18 November 1977   Eric's, 9 Mathew Street, Liverpool

Second on the bill, between the Toilets and Buzzcocks. No tape exists?

Thanks to Michael for his Eric's membership card (I think this is actually from 1979).


Friday, 16 December 1977   St. John's College, Manchester

With Manicured Noise and The Elite. No tape exists?


Saturday, 17 December 1977   Eric's, Liverpool

With Penetration. 75p for members, £1 for guests. No tape exists?


Friday, 23 December 1977   Stretford Civic Theatre, Manchester

poster ticket phot

Psycho Mafia / Last Orders / Repetition / Dresden Dolls / Hey Fascist / Frightened / Industrial Estate / Stepping Out / Bingo Master's Breakout / Oh! Brother / Cop It [sic] / Futures and Pasts / Louie Louie (with John the Postman)

- "Right, 'Psycho Mafia'! Good evening, we are The Fall as in the ace of ones. John Tindall on his arse. You spit in the sky, it falls in your eye." (during the introduction to "Psycho Mafia")
- Bramah: "Will you stop fucking spitting, you stupid bastards?" MES: "'Last Orders'. You spit in the sky, it falls in your eye." (before
"Last Orders")
- "Dresden. We Dresden, the (car holes drink)." (before "Dresden Dolls")
- MES: "This is for John Tindall. He thinks we are jungle negro music. It's 'Hey! Fascist'." Someone, possibly Friel: "Right! We going?"
(before "Hey! Fascist")
- MES: "Thank you." Bramah: "(...) my guitar." MES: "Right... is it all right? Happy Christmas! We are frightened 'cos at Christmas, Santa never comes for junkies." (before "Frightened")
- "This song was written round here. It's for the people round here and it is 'Industrial Estate'." (before "Industrial Estate")
- MES: "You must have plenty of money, you lot, the amount of fucking beer you're throwing over 'ere. If you don't want your drink, just give it me; I don't have to have it thrown over me. Oh, I used to never go in pubs but now I'm stepping out." Bramah: "That's a cue!" (before "Stepping Out")
- "'Bingo'! We have mouth trouble at the front of the stage. Our saliva cannot be kept in its mouth." (before "Bingo Master's Breakout")
- Bramah: "'Oh! Brother'!" MES: "Pop music for today's people. The same old fried egg. 'Oh! Brother'." (before "Oh! Brother")
- MES: "Right, 'Copped It'." Bramah: "Confusion! Confusion! Confusion! Confusion!" MES: "'Copped It'. I don't know about you, but my... I have to wash my shirts myself. I have not got a mother to do it for me. I usually cop it. Can we have 'Cop It'? Can we have 'Copped It'?" Bramah: "You immature bastards! Right! I am and all. It's all right!" (before "Copped It")
- MES: "Good night! Thanks for the water." Friel: "Goodbye." MES: "Come on! 'Futures And Pasts'. Go on, get on with it." (before "Futures And Pasts")
- "'Louie Louie'! 'Louie Louie'. 'Louie' (...). This is the bass player's last gig. Give him a round of applause." Bramah: "It's like
losing your left leg!" (before "Louie Louie")

Tony Friel's last gig; he left to form the Passage with Dick Witts and Lorraine Hilton. Supporting were John Cooper Clarke, the Worst, and Militant Frank. Poor quality mixing desk recording released as "Live 1977" on Voiceprint/Cog Sinister in January 2000. Thanks to Spen for the ticket and Manchester District Music Archive for the poster.

Bernie Wilcox, who took the great backstage photo: "The Fall, John Cooper-Clarke and The Worst played a Rock Against Racism gig at the Stretford Civic Theatre on 23 Dec 77. John the Postman could have been there as well. It was Fall bass player Tony Friel's last gig before he joined The Passage with Dick Witts. Knowing Stretford well, I asked the bar manager to put on plastic glasses. He didn't think they'd be any trouble so he didn't bother. The Worst and JCC did their sets OK but when The Fall came on someone slung a pint pot over at Mark. Then everyone else slung tjheir pots over and we had to close the safety curtain, but The Fall carried on playing behind it, good lads that they were. The PA guy was Chris Hewitt from Tractor Music who also organised the Deeply Vale festivals. After the gig he gave me a tape of the night and me and my mates played it for a few months (The Fall didn't have a record deal then) until we gave it to Mark. Years later, he found it at the bottom of his wardrobe and released it as the "Live in 77" album. With all the glasses getting chucked I didn't get chance to take any photos of The Fall onstage but this one is before the gig. Mark and Martin are getting accosted by a couple of Stretford girls. Nowt wrong with that.

Frandaman: "I was at this gig and if my memory serves me right it was infiltrated by a load of National Front and it really kicked off. I have a recollection of a raised area (or possibly a balcony?) at the rear of the gig and they were throwing chairs and anything else they could get their hands on at the punk crowd, who then retaliated and a massive ruck ensued which brought the bands to a halt while order was restored!"


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