In June 2006, Tony Friel posted a goldmine of early Fall material on his website (atomicsoup.co.uk: 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."
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.
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,
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,
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
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
Friday, 2 September
1977 Kirby Suite, Kirby, Knowsley, Merseyside
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
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 /
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
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
Noise and The Elite. No tape exists?
Saturday, 17 December
1977 Eric's, Liverpool
75p for members, £1 for guests. No tape exists?
Friday, 23 December
1977 Stretford Civic Theatre, Manchester
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
- "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
- "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!"
on to 1978