Tonight Palma Violets stop off at the Concorde2 on their Rattlesnake Rodeo Tour. Childhood and Telegram are in support.
It’s a sold out show and the staff at the door seem a little sceptical about letting us in. It’s no surprise though as they seem like they’ve got their hands full with fans desperate to get inside one way or another. We’re admitted in time to catch Childhood who impress the packed-out crowd. Comparisons have been made with the Stone Roses but their dreamy psychedelic style of shoegaze feels more comparable to some of their American contemporaries.
‘Blue Velvet’ has a nod to the Mersey Beat scene but the vocals of singer Ben Romans-Hopcraft (sporting a spectacular afro) are reminiscent of Wild Nothing’s distant dreaminess. ‘Haltija’ has all the youthful exuberance of the Pains of Being Pure At Heart and Smith Westerns at their most psychedelic and summery. This writer can’t remember the last time he’s seen a support band cause quite such a stir with the crowd as fans pogo energetically throughout.
Palma Violet have become a pretty big deal since their last visit to Brighton playing The Great Escape in 2011. Known for their frantic and combustible live shows we wait amongst the dense sea of humanity for things to potentially get very sweaty.
It doesn’t take long. Palma Violets storm the stage to an ecstatic reaction while The Cramps ‘Human Fly’ blares out of the venue speakers. The atmosphere is at fever pitch and we can’t help but feel there’s a special something in the air tonight. The Lambeth boys open with ‘Rattlesnake Highway’ which races along at breakneck speed and is propelled by William Doyle’s funereal organ tones. Sam Fryer’s classic croon sounds brilliant combined with Chilli Jesson’s intermittent punky snarls and howls. All Doherty/Barat, Jones/Strummer comparisons aside, the two have an obvious chemistry which feels unforced. It’s a magnetic spectacle live.
The fans inside the Concorde obviously agree. As the boys drop NME’s track of last year, ‘Best Of Friends’, a huge pit erupts and the crowd becomes a wave of bodies crashing from side to side. Chilli riles them up further by climbing the barricade and gesticulating like a young Iggy Pop.
Album highlight ‘14’ is where things take a turn for the anthemic and all of a sudden it feels like being in the terraces at a football match as everyone sings along to “All fourteen, all fourteen take me home”. The whole thing finishes with a massive stage invasion from members of Telegram and Childhood. Fans are crowd surfing, scaling the barriers and clambering on top of each other. The frontman of Telegram Matt Saunders dives off of the stage into the crowd as Palma Violets salute their followers from the stage and disappear. It’s rock’n’roll mayhem at its best.
Concorde2, Wednesday 4th December 2013
Words by Andy Baker
Photos by Ashley Laurence