Palace @ Belgrave Music Hall
Palace are the kind of band you should be listening to now, before someone tells you about them in a few months-time (which will almost certainly happen.) The London-based four piece released their debut EP Lost In The Night back in 2014 and released their debut album So Long Forever earlier this month. After watching their impressive set at this year’s Leeds Festival, I went to check them out for a second time at Belgrave Music Hall on Thursday 24th November.
The music Palace make is powerfully emotive. The situations and sentiments that they write about are aspects of life that I think everyone can empathise with. You might not necessarily find yourself thrown into a mosh pit at one of their gigs (although you can have a bit of a dance around when they play Have Faith) but you will find yourself fully absorbed in the lyrical and musical beauty of it all. Take ‘Break The Silence’, an angsty and emotional start to their debut album which sounds even more impressive live. The combination of lead singer Leo Wyndham’s smooth vocals, a haunting guitar and a thumping underlying beat all leaves you feeling transported as a listener. Being able to emotionally connect like that with an audience both on a record and at a live show gives Palace a sense of maturity, togetherness and experience which is beyond their years.
I was somewhat surprised when ‘So Long Forever’ came out on the 4th November to find some of their older songs, such as ‘Veins’ and ‘Head Above The Water’, didn’t feature. I was happy, however, to be introduced to so much new material from a great band on what is a ultimately a brilliant album. There have been complaints voiced about the re-recording of one of their most famous tracks ‘Bitter’, but Palace have developed over time and understandably so too has their music. ‘Bitter’ is an example of this advancement and honestly I think both versions are outstanding. ‘Bitter’ is a mammoth track, no matter how it’s produced, signified by the sheer amount of people who were singing along to every word of it at their Belgrave show.
The stand-out moment for me was undoubtedly their performance of ‘Veins’. Although one of their oldest tracks, the chemistry between the band themselves and with the audience throughout the entire song was just as electric as ever. Alright, so stage banter isn’t necessarily one of their strong points, but their performance is so beautiful you don’t need any extended chit chat. Plus, stick around and have a word after one of their shows and you’ll realise they’re down-to-earth as well as talented.
Half-way through the show I found myself thinking how great it is to watch a band that you admire grow and evolve over time. Palace have done just that; So Long Forever is unquestionably one of the best albums of the year and, following on from that, it’s exciting to think about what their future might hold.
If you didn’t manage to catch them this time round, Palace are touring the UK again next year and will be playing at Buyers Club in Liverpool on Tuesday 11th April.
Featured Image from Birmingham Promoters