The Coronet in Elephant & Castle, South London is about as perfect a place for the impervious Palma Violets to conclude their tour of wonderlust album 180. Conceived and recorded only a few miles away; this part of the country holds the vibrancy and grit that Palma Violets made their signature sound.
The Coronet then, provided the stage and Palma Violets everything else, including the support acts. Far Out favourites Telegram were first on to this giant and intricately decrepit theatre to rouse a decisively animated audience even further. There was adolescent screaming, alco-pop spilling and new-panty wetting and that’s just from the boys.
Telegram, needless to say were victorious in increasing this hysteria and proved worthy of the saliva side effect 2000 screaming fans incurs. They went about their business, prowling the stage whilst producing their signature melting pot of influences to send fans flooding to ‘front and centre’.
Tracks like Follow arrive with a fearless energy and confirm that this London quartet aren’t here for show, they are here to steal it. This continued with their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s influences; pumping riffs, driven rhythm and confident delivery. An amalgamation of the British Rock scene from the ages dressed in the impeccable modernity of 2013 London.
As Telegram leave us another darling of the critical eye; Childhood, take to the sweat soaked stage. Displaying everything that has made them industry sweethearts comes out in the beautifully Lo-Fi Solemn Skies which sounds like the Pixies and New Order having a pint at a Wedding Present gig. They however, have something far more important than musical vernacular; youthful vigour.
They say in childhood you are so receptive to every new thing that you become like a sponge and just continue to soak up everything until becoming saturated. Childhood are this sponge. They posses a width of knowledge and know-how which is undeniable, their construction and delivery of songs is more than desirable.
There is a depth and a concerted presence on stage also, like they have watched every tour of every important band of the 20th century and tried to replicate it, all at once. This concentrated effort can be, at times, like a wet sponge though. Predictably flopping around the stage and prematurely splashing the first four rows with crocodile tears.
Amidst all these hormonal harmonies Palma Violets lay in waiting. Wait we did, for nearly an hour for the Lambeth boys to make their way to this famously falling stage and all during a drought at the bar, where the high influx of 15 year olds clearly started to worry the promoters. This was another folly in the logistical nightmare, as along with this 2 hour prohibition was the absurd idea to restrict writers and promoters to the upper circle away from the heaving mass of melodrama that lay below us.
As infuriating as this was, Palma Violets had a plan in mind to help keep the Violet thirsty crowd at bay. This plan was fairly simple in essence, it involved tearing the place down with mammoth riffs, courageous sing-along choruses and drums to shake the foundations of the nation.
Songs like Step Up for the Cool Cats and All the Garden Birds succeeding in creating a fever pitch of student-ry. Large bouncing groups of beer drenched friends gathered around the stage and turned an ageing theatre back in to a music hall knees-up.
As the set gathered in pace the rest of the wondrous album 180 was filleted and served to the blood baiting audience and while Chilli continued his rock ‘n’ roll antics (faux-kicking photographers at the front of the stage and threatening bouncers) the rest of the band went about the business of delivering a great set. Musically tight and complimented by an astutely unhinged performance full of shakes and screams, songs like Tom the Drum and Johnny Bagga’ Donuts play out to rapturous applause.
The biggest scream of all quite predictably was for summer hit Best Friends which rang out like church bells across the audience. Calming and alarming it felt like the shattered voice of a generation, shouting for everything and nothing so loudly that it determined itself as socio-cultural hit.
This feeling continued and by the time the encore was duly demanded Palma Violets looked as ready for the fight as every other sweat dripping, hoarse voiced follower of the band. Follower is the right word here as well. With this gig Palma Violets really cemented their place in British rock ‘n’ roll with all the guile and beleaguered honesty of The Clash and as Chicken Dippers continues to play and support acts join in the on-stage fun we get a glimpse into the future.
Three bands each diverse in their influences, eclectic in their sound and electric in their performance. The future looks bright.