Palma Violets

Palma Violets


After the post-punk revival scene of the noughties was knocked six feet under by bands more emotionally-complex, Palma Violets have been praised for resurrecting venues all over the country with their energetic live performances. Tonight it’s Sound Control which graces their presence and a dividing line soon creates two camps: hardcore moshers vs. subtle head boppers. Naturally, I find myself in the latter.

It’s clear why Palma Violets are often compared to The Libertines as they share the same record company, the same thrashing guitars and the same bromances as co-leaders Fryer and Jesson dart around the stage like Doherty and Barat caricatures. Yet it’s opening track Peter and the Gun; complete with larger than life personalities and clumsy tempo changes, which is more reminiscent of Sam’s Town by The Killers as opposed to The Libertines’ back catalogue.

Much to the crowd’s delight, Palma Violets start powering through hits from their debut album just fifteen minutes in. ‘Best Of Friends’ is an obvious fan favourite – the very first single which got the BBC’s attention and christened the Palmas with their pub rock principles. It’s shouty pint-in-hand vocals demand response and aren’t a million miles away from the ‘London Calling’ era of The Clash.

The world of rock music is littered with people who are put on pedestals for their groundbreaking debut albums, but plummet head-first into cavities of criticism after their second expedition. It was always going to be difficult for the Palmas to follow-up from 180. With this year seeing Zane Lowe’s retirement from Radio 1 and NME Magazine abandoning their indie ethos by donning the covers with Justin Bieber, it seems like Palma Violets have been jilted after a passionate commercial affair.

“There’s no producer in the world who could make us sound professional,” they once claimed and despite John Leckie’s best efforts with their sophomore album Danger in the Club, it now rings true more than ever that the Palmas are a live band and not so much a recording one. For all they don’t have the full support of the media, tonight’s set is lapped up by a never-tiring tribe of Mancunian followers – 70% of which are still faithfully chanting and pogoing as Palma Violets punch into the title track of their new album.

There’s sweat dripping from the ceiling by the end of the 100mph set and you can’t say they don’t give it their all. Still, it feels as though the Palmas are becoming too obsessed with crashing choruses which don’t actually end, but endure. Songs with depth such as ‘Coming Over to My Place ‘were overlooked but would have gave the band control, and their fans a well-needed breather. There is no doubting Palma Violets’ raw energy but the pressure is now on for them to try and match their studio skills to their performance skills with album number three.

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Amy-Lea Wright

A multimedia journalism student at MMU, thrives on red hot chili peppers, survives on instant noodles.