NOTHING'S ever straightforward with The Fall. Even after 28 years in the saddle, pop's most relentless cult heroes remain spectacularly inconsistent. When they should be triumphant on the back of the release of a 6-CD set of John Peel sessions, their Edinburgh Triptych date is cancelled, while tonight they are apparently delayed by transport breaking down. As larger-than-life Manc impresario Alan Wise reassures the faithful that "Mark E Smith is in the building", if it's true, one can't help but sympathise for whichever poor AA man had to face Smith's wrath.

By this time, Glasgow's own deep-fried swamptrash blues explosion, Uncle John & Whitelock, had already come a-hollerin'. With a demented frontman sporting a Mr Whippy quiff having recently instigated a very

Fallish cull in the band's ranks, so scuzzball tight are the new boys that it's probably best Smith was late - lest he poach Uncle John's players for his own.

Mercifully, The Fall's latest incarnation have settled in since their last visit, looking less like terrified YTS placements than a well-oiled punkabilly garage machine, perfectly able to cope with Smith's habit of messing up the sound levels. From the terrace chant of Sparta FC to Touch Sensitive, however, it's a strictly workaday rattle through an abridged set. It provokes plasticglassed euphoria anyway, with Smith and Co looking for all the world like the best wedding cabaret showband in the world.

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