UP & DOWN THE WESTWAY, IT'S SO BRIGHT....
Here can't be many more sanctified places for a punk gig than directly under the Westway flyover of Clash fame. The location was a good omen for a very enjoyable night. The gentrification of areas like the Grove & Notting Hill has been tragic, but it’s good to see that the area around the Westway has retained its dusty, aromatic atmosphere & community vibe, despite the efforts of planners (Portobello Green, indeed!) & speculators. The Fallen Leaves present the Parliament Club night bi monthly in the back room of the
As it happened I'd spent a lot of the previous week listening to garage classic comp Nuggets & 60's mod/psyche crossovers like the Creation & the Misunderstood (both groups with strong
The Fallen Leaves delivered a tight set of no-nonsense garage rock with a punk edge, highlighted for me by old favourite, "Trouble". If a couple of songs sounded slightly under-cooked to these ears ("Is she somewhere" seemed to have all of 3 words as the lyrics), the music was always excellent & clearly delighted the dedicated Leaves following. They actually drew a larger crowd than the headliners, although maybe people just preferred to mingle in the comfort of the bar area by then. I was told by a couple of regulars that there was a stand-in bass player, as Gareth was on maternity hospital duty with his partner, congratulations to all concerned....
Fallen Leaves setlist - Did you see her/ My phantoms/ Seven years/ Happy times/ Charity girl/ Is she somewhere/Sylvie says/Shining/ Repetition/Revenge/Trouble
Fallen Leaves personnel - Rob Green (vocals), Rob Symmons (gtr), Ian O'Sullivan (drums) & Matthew Karas (bass), standing in for Gareth Mountbatten Evans (delivery room).
Its a mighty long time since ATV first made their name with albums like "The Image has Cracked" & "Vibing Up the Senile Man", & even longer since Mark Perry first went public with the legendary Sniffing Glue fanzine. Without that mag its arguable that we wouldn't even have Mudkiss today - think about it. While many groups of the punk era are now to be found in lavish box-sets & coffee table books (& good luck to them), as time goes on its the mavericks of the scene like Mark Perry, Vic Godard, TV Smith & Howard Devoto for example, who really get the respect & kudos (see John Robb's great "Punk Rock: an oral history" for any number of examples). There's a real integrity to what they do, and ATV have always been about operating on their own terms ahead of profit & career moves. Equally, like his hero Frank Zappa, Mark Perry's never been one to settle for identi-punk easy answers & has always been ready to take a confrontational stance to those who end up swapping one conformity for another.
Talking of which, my only regret from Saturday night is that they didn't play "How much longer". Alas ATV gigs don't happen too often these days, so there was a bit of rustiness, the odd humorous false-start moment or equipment mishap, but no-one minded. Occasionally Mark had to check the lyrics on a stool in front of him - what, no digital projection system?! For me the highlight of the night was a great mid-set take on "Love lies limp", still a great, honest song.
Once again, as with the Leaves, Subway Sect were a common reference point. Where the Leaves had a more 60's influenced garage style going on, ATV knocked out a strong punk sound, with Mudkiss' Lee McFadden doing a fine job on gtr & back-ups, & when Mark took up the guitar as well on a couple of songs, they were suddenly channelling the classic tight, spiky Voidoid-type NY sound. Plenty of energy but never just a thrash. Mark was clearly enjoying himself as much as the audience which was great to see. Another highlight came with "Plastic People", to a suitably corny "Louie Louie" riff - great "la-la-la's" from Lee, too - which Mark introduced with a tribute to the late Frank Zappa (someone well outside the punk party line in '76 & since) as "probably one of the most important people in music in the last 30 or 40 years". Listening to old favourites like the Patti Smith/Arthur Rimbaud referencing "Viva la rock'n'roll", I closed my eyes & was transported back to long ago gigs at places like the
Support your local gig... like the wonderful Tapestry nights in
Rob Symmons puts it best - "We are amateurs & do it for love & fun, not for money ... in true punk spirit we do it all ourselves - as do the Fallen Leaves, we put out our own stuff on our own label, no managers. We would like a thriving live music scene in
Next Parliament Club night - July 18th, Proxy Music (celebrating the first 2 Roxy Music albums), Fallen Leaves & the Fractured.
Phil Wilson (June Brides) will be playing later in the year.
Alternative TV set-list: Viva la rock'n'roll/ Just a memory/ Let's sleep now/ Love lies limp/ Nasty little lonely/Communication failure/ Plastic people/ Magic/ Lost in room/ You never know/ Action Time Vision/Splitting in two/ In control/ You bastard/ Good times
Alternative TV were/are: Mark Perry, Lee McFadden, Kevin Mann & Steve Carter
Check MySpace for Leaves & ATV sound and vision.
Gig review by Den