“The best group in England” – “Yes, That’s right” said The Fallen Leaves.
The Fallen Leaves have got to have been one of the best-kept secrets in UK Rock’n’Roll and no synthesisers – Ian Bourn – Scene Sussex
The Fallen Leaves and Fractured: The Prince Albert / Brighton – Spinning Chilli 11 February 2023
Note: Click on smaller pics to enlarge.
What does the Manifesto say? “No jeans. No t-shirts. No cover-versions”. The Fallen Leaves believe in the DIY Punk ethos. Song, Sound and Performance are all. As the self proclaimed champions of the glorious underachievers The Fallen Leaves ask you to remember “…Simple and easy are not the same thing.”
Reverend Rob Green – Vocals with an English accent
Sir Robert Symmons – Sniper guitar
Gareth “Mountbattan” Evans – Bass booms
Brett Buddy Ascott – Dangerous drums
The punk rock time machine had pulled in four characters tonight from punk/mod history, giving them guitars, bass, an old style crooning mic and drums. Excellent!
The Fallen Leaves set ran for almost an hour in a wonderfully packed out Prince Albert. The set was typically crammed with new songs, fan favourites and exciting older songs. We had, to open, an opening chat and welcome, as Rob S hit his guitar for the wonderful Everywhere. The set list had been updated and some of the older favourites such as Prodigal Son and Motor Cycle Girl were gone. The stunning guitar and bass with a damn fine drum backing all topped off with a great vocal for Is She Somewhere was up next, Rob Green was totally on form tonight. He and the band seemed to be revelling in the atmosphere.
It was a great fun night, and the crowd lapped up everything that was given to us. Rob used his stage props! His items included a shooting stick, maracas, E-Cigs, a flask of tea and more! A pair of sunglasses carefully placed allow his eyes to peer over the top as they twinkle under the stage lights. What a delicious sound, and so The Fallen Leaves were back in town. The crowd were made up of familiar faces and some new ones, which is great news. Great music will always pull in a crowd.
There had been a return gig set, following the sell out gig in November 2021, but the train strikes in 2022 meant the Lewes gig was sadly cancelled. Tonight it was business as usual as The Leaves were back in front of a sell-out crowd.
The wonderful, almost Hamlet cigar advert bass line heralded a classic, I Made A Mistake. An instrumental break during that number saw Rob take off his jacket and with great care, then addressed his shirt sleeves, replacing the Leaves logo armband. Waistcoat buttoned up, apart from that bottom button. He bent over, grabbed a flask of tea and poured himself a cuppa. He finished and put the flask away as it was time for him to pick up the vocal duties again.
Rob uses an old vintage style microphone which means his nose is pressed hard into the grill for most of his performance. He “lights up” an e-cig and blows smoke into the crowd, no mean feat he manages a chain of smoke rings!
The guitars do not stop, Rob Symmons (originally of Subway Sect) delivers a note-perfect guitar, full of style with solos and riffs all the while looking out into the packed venue and cracking the odd smile. He nails it without even breaking into a sweat. Rob strikes up that guitar with that distinctive sound for many of the tracks, it is a unique sound you will not forget. Rob and his faithful Fender offer up a sheer majestic wall of guitar riffs, tight soaring solos and rhythms. The sound soars out of the amps and speakers. It is so rich in texture, it’s a truly wonderful thing.
Bassist Gareth looking pretty cool in a green dressed shirt and shock of blonde hair. He is a recent return to the Fallen Leaves fold, he works hard to drop in the complex bass lines and pulling off some great moves and leaps, and some fine backing vocals which add depth to the overall sound. Some pretty damned fine drumming as always from Brett (originally of ‘79/’80 mod band The Chords and recently the 79ers). He manages to hold it all together perfectly even as sticks and cymbals went flying! He is a terrific musician and always injects a slice of mischievous fun to the set. So you see The Fallen Leaves are a perfect mix, and will always deliver a perfect set.
It all comes together, it works to make it a sublime night to enjoy for loads of reasons. Good, old fashioned, blues n punk all wrapped in a silk cravat and finest tweed! The characters who make the music are all unique, but put them together and the magic just happens.
The impossibly infectious Green Eyes FC see’s Rob utilise again the shooting stick. The stick has many uses during the set including a lyric sheet held aloft in a Ramones style “Oooh La La Lee” and “Gabba Gabba Hey!”. The stick is also used by Rob as he pulls it close to his face to simulate looking down the barrel of a rifle.
We were treated to some new tunes tonight including a new single, Stay and a breath taking Rosalina. In addition, I hasten to add and as promised no covers! The Fallen Leaves are an absolute joy to watch and listen too. Punks very own suave sophisticates with the appropriate accompaniments and a slick dress sense.
Robs stops for a moment to confess that “The Only Drug For Me Is A Nice Cup Of Tea” as we were given I’m Feeling Fine.
Guitar sounds from Rob S cut through the air like a knife full of flair, melodies, punk riffs, scrapes and staccato. The bass and sweet blues harmonica glide effortlessly from Gareth and Rob. The man at the front Rob croons, swaggers and engages you from the minute you set eyes on him. He has a fabulous range delivering softer songs and then he can power through others. And always engages in polite banter with his crowd.
The sound was excellent tonight, and at times The Fallen Leaves pulled in a real RnB tone, with an early Who sound and early Beatles sounds. I hope by now you can understand why I love this band, and for me are always a “must see”.
The set was coming to a close with Against The Grain, a new single in the shape of Sylvie Says. “Simple Songs for complex people” exclaims Rob. Trouble, a magnificent closing number had us all dancing and tapping those feet.
No shouting, no swearing, no deafening thrashing guitars. This really is ‘Punk Rock For Gentlemen’. A terrific set gentlemen. The Fallen Leaves, what can you say about these guys? They fill a venue with such a warmth, charisma, great tunes and bring so much pleasure to a room full of people. The guys put in an encore, although they didn’t really leave the stage, to the joy of the excited crowd, and left the stage with everyone still applauding.
I have seen these guys many times, but tonight they were off the chart and had raised the bar for live performances. The Fallen Leaves played it faster, louder and tighter tonight in Brighton than I think I have ever seen them do so before. Stunning.
The Fallen Leaves have to have been one of the best-kept secrets in UK Rock’n’Roll to date. They are loaded with punchy, hook laden and lovable songs and Rob G’s unashamed theatrical performance will give you a night out you will not forget. I suggest you see them before the secret gets out!
“Song, Sound and Performance are all”.
News! The Fallen Leaves have a new album coming out later in the year! Can’t wait for that one!
The Fallen Leaves have branched out onto the WWW here!
Opening up for the Fallen Leaves was Fractured, post-punk, post-everything band originating from Reading in early 1980’s now settled in Brighton. Performing live now! and they “have got something to say!”
The band are:
Jeff, Jamie, John and Citizen Dave.
“Life is tough, complicated and absurd. We write songs that try to make sense of it all.”
I had seen these guys support the Leaves a while back. The minute the guys took to the stage they unleash the beast of their unique sound. It is the chemistry of these guys on stage which is why their music never fails to deliver.
They had a pulled in a few fans tonight. The sound is relentless with some thunderous tones on the drums and from a beautiful bass guitar. Some seriously good skills on the guitar did not disappoint, throwing in some stunning punky solos and scrapes for good measure. That bass consistently produces an all-encompassing infectious almost bluesy punk rhythm.
Almost without drawing breath, the guys slid into their set, Shocking Price, Broken Heart and as Jeff pointed out kids these days with their phones etc. led us into App. We had songs created during the pandemic lockdowns and the type of folk you could bump into! I’m Offended, a belter of a song and a set highlight for me. Great tune and lyrics that were sharp enough to cut!
Some punk bands fall into the trap of becoming too derivative and predictable. Fractured do not. These guys dare to go off the beaten track and it works.
All my Conifers Are Dead, Breaking Down, Many Things and I Could Have Been are all tracks from the upcoming album “Cracking Up”
The controlled performance from the band has a definite punk swagger to it. It matches the songs perfectly. Jeff put out some top vocal displays. He switches the power levels with ease but never fails to deliver. And he delivers some fine inter band banter and provides insight to many of the songs played tonight.
Fractured dropped an all killer no filler set. It seems to fuse some Sham 69 together with a fusion of Iggy Pop‘s dynamics and The Damned‘s fused fury, Fractured proved again they are a force to be reckoned with.
After the final two songs of the set, Lucky Pants and Caravan Man, the band members left the stage to rapturous cheering and applause.
It was great to chat after the gig and Fractured are playing Rebellion this year (2023). They have a new album with an expected release date of April 1, 2023 called Cracking Up. The guys have a launch party at The Komedia on Wednesday 12 April 2023. I have a feeling we are going to be seeing more of these guys.
Fractured are on Facebook here – check out if they are playing near you, and that new album release night!
Congrats to Jon F on the sound desk – absolute pristine sound tonight for both bands. Sensational work Sir!
The Fallen Leaves
Thanks to Shelley for pulling this wonderful night together. Promoted by the rather hot outfit Spinningchilli who are on Facebook here.
Words and photos by Ian Bourn.
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All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2023.
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