The Fall were regular visitors to Liverpool during their first two years or so of operation. Between November 18, 1977 and November 8, 1979, they trekked the 30 odd miles down the road from their Manchester homebase on at least nine occasions, usually touching down at the now-legendary Eric's. It was their appearance at Mr Pickwick's, however, that lives on, courtesy of a bootleg cassette purchased at a street market, and mastered to CD for this archaeological treasure.
The performance itself smokes, with Mark E. Smith in dynamic (if somewhat incoherent) form throughout, while the set offers a fair representation of the band's then-current repertoire. (Just one song from this period, "My Condition," remains officially unreleased.) Liverpool itself offers the ideal surroundings for the performance of "Two Steps Back"' -- the Julian namechecked in the song was future Teardrop Explodes mainman Julian Cope. "I was pleased as hell," he reflected. Unfortunately, the sound quality is distinctly lacking in listenability. The audience is as audible as the band, and there are only so many minutes that anyone can stand listening to an distant rumble interspersed with a booming rant out of anything other than academic interest.