LIVE REVIEW: The Fall, 6 Music Festival, The Sage Gateshead

OH, The Fall.

The Marmite band people either get or they don’t.

Even those obsessed with the group understand why they are not everyone’s pint of bitter.

They’re one of the groups I own the most material of, listen to most frequently and have attempted to see more times than I can remember.

I’ve travelled across the country to watch them twice in the last two years and walked away having enjoyed the night, but none the wiser of what they’d played, bar two songs on the better of the occasions, one on the other.

Their appearance at The Sage was no different, although I’m sure there are longer-serving fans who knew it all, such as the devotion the band draws in.

Enlighten me via Twitter if you can and save me blushes from guessing it all wrong.

I didn’t expect for a second they would turn out a greatest hits set list. I doubt it’ll ever happen.

But given this was to be broadcast on radio and television I’d hoped a couple of the better-known tunes would have made it in.

That said, people love The Fall for the spectacle, the potential for drama and, of course, lead singer and chief mischief-maker Mark E Smith, a marvel at 57.

He was on fine form as he grabbed two microphones, added his own notes on the keyboard and whacked cymbals and drums.

I had to explain to colleague Sarah, who heard them for the first time at the event, that no, that is how he sings most of the time and no, they do sound like that, it’s not technical problems.

The band were as pounding and loud as ever, so even if I couldn’t chase down what was what through the juke box of my mind, just listening to them tear through each song was a joy.

As a 6 Music staple, I’d expected there to be a busier turnout for the band, but there were still hundreds who pitched up to Hall One to watch the cult that is The Fall to perform.

In the run-up to this weekend, the station put out a documentary, The Totally Wired World of The Fall.

If you’re a fan and not yet caught it, or you fancy an insight into why the band has burrowed its way into the affections of so many, check it out.

It’s up on the iPlayer for another 20 days or so.

Tune into the 6 Music Festival across the weekend, see performances at www.bbc.co.uk/6music and highlights will be on BBC Red Button across the week.