Palma Violets @ The Kazimier
Midway through supporting The Vaccines on their current sell-out UK tour, indie-rock heathens Palma Violets swaggered on stage at Liverpool’s very own Kazimier to a mob of chanting, drunken, mostly male fans, of which I found myself right in the middle.
I’d seen the Lambeth four-piece on tour with The Vaccines the week before, so I knew exactly what to expect, if you didn’t count the six foot, sweaty, shirtless guy with ’14’ painted onto his chest (14 is one of Palmas‘ less well known songs- clearly this guy was a bit of a fanboy). After the synth-y, chilled-and-angry-all-at-once vibes of quirky singer-songwriter GEoRGiA, Shirtless14 Guy and pretty much everyone else in the tiny, grimy venue was ready for Palmas to deliver some of the gritty punk raucousness they’ve become synonymous with. And deliver they did.
Palma Violets kicked off their set with the instantly recognisable Five Gold Rings, which, despite being a bonus track from their most recent album Danger In The Club, the crowd of pogoing hooligans knew word-perfectly. Starting off fairly chilled-out and building up into a frantic crescendo of guitars and drums with frontmen Chilli Jesson and Sam Fryer yelling the lyrics, it wasn’t long before I was battling to stay on my feet while being thrown around in one of the more violent mosh pits of my life.
In a more intimate venue than the previous time I’d seen them, and with a much more enthusiastic crowd, Palma Violets were every inch the stereotypical attitude-ridden, too-cool-for-you indie band, and it was utter brilliance. The post-punk quartet rattled through a selection of their biggest tunes, from shouty, The Clash-esque English Tongue to the anthemic We Found Love. My personal highlight was when the band played Best of Friends (even if you’ve never heard of Palma Violets before in your life, you’ll have heard this one). After just one chord, the tiny but still completely mad-for-it audience went even more crazy for Palmas‘ debut single and the reason they’ve got such a loyal fanbase today. The whole place had their arms in the air, screaming the lyrics.
It was almost a relief when Fryer announced ‘this one’s called The Jacket Song‘. The introduction of one of Palmas‘ more laid-back album tracks at least meant a break from the heat of the mosh pit, and gave me chance to pick both myself and my friend (who I’d fallen on accidentally) off the sticky, alcohol-covered floor. The promise of a calmer song did nothing to calm the crazies around me, though. If anything, they went even more mental.
The band closed their hour-long set with the brilliantly-named Chicken Dippers, their stage presence reminiscent of sweaty, angsty 70’s punk bands. I noticed that throughout the entire gig, Jesson hadn’t smiled or looked like he was actually enjoying himself once, completely embodying the grumpy, pretentious frontman stereotype. It should have made him come across as a bit of an idiot, but instead, to me and every one of the adoring fans around me, it just made him all the cooler. The fact that I was fighting to prevent the now crowdsurfing Shirtless 14 Guy from kicking me in the face did nothing to detract from the utterly electric atmosphere that Palmas had created, but as the last notes of Chicken Dippers faded out, the band were gone as quickly as they had arrived, and I was forced to leave the crowd, battered, bruised but happy, to attempt to find my friends.
Aside from the minor injuries I acquired throughout the night, Palma Violets were incredible. Harking back to the British punk movement of the 1970s, they’re the closest you can get to seeing bands like The Clash or Buzzcocks live without actually going back in time to see bands like The Clash or Buzzcocks live. They’re moody, raw and completely uncouth – and it’s brilliant.