If you haven’t yet heard of Palace then you’ve been unlucky with your musical or social influences. Despite their first album being released only this year, they’ve had EPs out since 2013 and have been gaining traction ever since then. I’ve been a fan ever since they introduced their first few tracks and I’ve been keen to see them for god knows how long. Having finally got the chance last night, I eagerly watched the band display their talents at Exchange. Unsurprisingly, the venue sold out its 250 person capacity and I think being able to see the band at such an intimate gig is a luxury which won’t be around for long. Their choice of support band was also a key component of the night. Ten Tonnes seemed to me a slightly grungier yet poppier version of what Palace had to offer. They, too, were a good live performance and a welcome addition to the evening, building a pre-emptive excitement for what was to come.
The first thing I noticed of Palace was just how replicable their sound is in a live setting. The expansive vocal reverb, the playful guitar riffs and the overall tightness of an emotionally creative band work wonders in a live environment. The band controlled an electrical energy through their music by skilful and precise management of both dynamics and tempo. Some moments were marked and flavoured by raw passion and others were tempered by the deliberation and inspection that their lyrics often represent. The blues-inspired passion and guts behind their songs is obvious on the record and this translates very well – if not better – in their live performance. This combined with the entire band’s crisp performance gives Palace a loveable hook which is grounded in emotion as well as technical ability.
I once caught myself mesmerised by the guitar work of the lead singer, Leo. During the somewhat downtempo song Kiloran, I was reminded of a duck which, on the surface, appears so graceful and elegant despite its remarkable, hardworking feet which kick away under the surface. I feel this is true of the whole band, in fact. Every time I listen to their records I focus on a different instrument which uniquely adds its own spice to the flavour of the album. This talent and enjoyment is equally apparent when they play live. Their own enjoyment is also obvious which results in the impression that they still have a glowing passion for their art and makes them a joy to see live.
I’m a fan of Palace already so my opinion is clearly biased to some extent. However, in my eyes, they’re definitely one of those bands who deserve seeing live since they perform with such tightness and such authenticity. If you can imagine what may have happened if Jeff Buckley threw himself into a blues-rock band then you have an idea about what their gigs are like. I would see them again in a flash and recommend anyone else to do the same.