Another line-up, same old Fall.
The Fall are one of those bands that everyone knows of but only true fans really get or understand. A casual liking of The Fall is a good thing but it fails to prepare you for what the set is going to contain, or indeed, let you second guess what sort of mood that maverick front man Mark E Smith is going to be in.
Long admired and respected for those who say that Smith is a genius, there are many more who will proclaim he is a grump old man with a fondness for getting things his own way. With 25 years and over 70 albums in the business, he is clearly doing something right.
It was no surprise to hear the band opening with a song that was unknown to many people but it transpired the track was a new one, potentially called 'Black Leather.' Not many acts would start a festival set with new material, but as already mentioned, Smith isn't necessarily the blue-print for today's rock stars.
For all the line-up changes, and recent ones at that, the band were on form, creating a tight and wiry backdrop to Smith meanderings. At times, the singer's microphone wasn't responding but the band were professional and maintained the sets feel and flow.
A few songs into the set, 'Theme From Sparta FC' gave some people a song they recognised, with the BBC utilising this song on their football coverage. They may be seen as perennial outsiders but there are probably songs by The Fall that everyone knows but just doesn't know of the act.
'Mr Phramacist' was one such song, with its loping rhythm and spat vocals which had heads nodding and general contentment throughout the crowd. With a few songs left, a moshpit managed to kick off near the front, with 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow' coming across well. Smiths love of krautrock even surfaced noticeably, with him inserting snippets of Can's 'Mother Sky' into a set that was bordering on the German sound.
There was little crowd interaction from Smith and when he shrugged offstage allowing the band to drive home 'Blindness' without him, it seemed fitting that the musicians had their chance of the spotlight and yet again, excelled immensely in giving a worthy conclusion to a set that surpassed all expectations.
The won't be everyone's cup of tea, and the possibility of finding them on a bad night is all too likely, but on form, The Fall are a match for any young pretender.