There’s a lot of hype surrounding Palma Violets which is no doubt why a crowd started to gather outside The Joiners well before doors were due to open, despite the freezing temperatures. Most of the people there had already seen Palma Violets—a vast majority saying they’d seen them at Reading—so people sort of know what to expect… Or so they thought.
Starting the evening was Guilded Youth, a Portsmouth based indie outfit that, unfortunately, proved to be nothing spectacular. Their music, style and stage presence could easily have been interchanged with hundreds of similar bands on the circuit. Even the ‘rockier’ (and I use that term loosely) ‘Whirlwind’ failed to provoke any sort of reaction from the crowd—basically summing up their whole performance… indifferent.
Previously on the tour the main support had been provided by Childhood, but unfortunately they were otherwise occupied (at a Tame Impala gig according to Palma Violets themselves) which left the primary support slot open for Southampton’s favourite local boys, Dolomite Minor. With their unashamedly unique sound which blends bluesy-rock with elements of psychedelica; they were exactly what the crowd needed as a warm up. Even though they lacked a natural stage charisma, the natural allure of their sound left most of the crowd completely in awe—a mean feat indeed.
A whopping 135 minutes after doors initially opened, Palma Violets took to the stage and immediately turned The Joiners in to a site of absolute carnage. The funny thing was that the band didn’t actively do anything to encourage this; it just happened. Of course Palma Violets capitalised on this with Chilli jumping off the drumkit as and when he felt like it and Sam and Chilli spent more time crashing in to one another than anything else… But it was glorious to witness a band having as much fun as the crowd were.
‘Best of Friends’ sounded even more riotous live than on the single release which resulted in a crowd wide mosh-pit and an entire audience screaming the chorus like their life depended on it and it was at this point yours truly got a pint poured over my legs—but even that couldn’t distract from the mood.
Every song on the setlist sounded raw, unpolished and unpractised but that was definitely the charm in their set. It felt a lot more real to see something not pitch-perfect but with more effort and emotion than I have seen in a long time.
The encore of the set descended in to yet more chaos, as Chilli took to dancing in the crowd and people mobbed him. At the same time some of the crowd took advantage of the newly cleared space and stage invaded (myself included) which meant the final song of the set never really got finished.
And, you know what? That didn’t matter. Palma Violets put on a show that proved the hype around them is justified and I’d say you’ve got to see it believe it.