Palma Violets’ first single, “Best of Friends” was voted NME’s song of the year for 2012, and their debut album 180 was released on 25 February 2013 which reached no.11 in the UK album charts.
The Voodoo Bar capacity is under 200 and with just over 100 people at this gig it was personal and intimate for Violets fans. Before the lads came on stage, a lone figure took to the stage and introduced himself as ‘Johnny the Barman’ he entertained the crowd to some old American country songs on his acoustic guitar, the crowd was relaxed as Johnny picked his way through his songs.
Finally Palma Violets came onto the small stage to a song called ‘Really Free‘ by John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett. A young crowd of around 40 fans had squeezed up to the very front of the stage, almost on the stage and when the first guitar chord was struck they created their own mosh pit as the band opened with songs from their debut album such as ‘Johnny Bagga Donuts’ and ‘Last of The Summer Wine’. The tunes came non stop, the sweat dripped, the crowd bounced and the band danced around stage as they belted out the fans favourites All The Garden Birds, Rattlesnake Highway and Step Up For The Cool Cats.
The energy from the band was brilliant as the screamed their lyrics down the mic, sang along with fans, embraced the crowd, drank their beer, hugged them and shook their hands. All this was going on whilst the band played non stop with rousing catchy guitar riffs, backed by banging drums accompanied by a keyboard which together created some fantastic indie/rock/punk songs. It was one big loud party, as if it was the fans mates on stage, every song went down a treat, as the lead guitarist and singer both were soaked in sweat as they sang as danced their way through the set.
Mixing punk and indie rock with sing along choruses these lads were having a party on stage and loving every minute of it, a sound that sounds similar to that of The Clash and Libertines although they’ve created there own unique sound here.
‘Best of Friends’, possibly their best song and highlight of the night is one big sing along as the young ones up the front dance, sing and throw their hands in the air to this one. The new songs sounded great and it seemed the crowd who were at the front already knew them as they sang and danced along to them. The band played for less than an hour, but with only one album and not taking a break between songs it’s clear to see why they only played for this amount of time and the fact that at any minute it seemed as if there was going to be a stage invasion from the crowd or a crowd surf from the lead guitarist. They ended with a song called 14, with the simple lyrics ‘All fourteen all fourteen take me home through the night’, a lovely slow sing along song which calms the crowd down and paves the way for the band to end their gig.
The bands album is very good, however it’s more appreciated when heard live, the Palma Violets will hopefully be back with another album and continue having fun with their fans at live gigs. Brian Alcorn, GiggingNI.com