Live Review

Palace, St. Pancras Old Church, London

15th October 2014

The urge to sing-along in the room is palpable but instead polite nodding ensues to echoey guitar and propelling drumbeats.

Tickets for tonight are like gold dust despite Palace only having one single under their belt and an EP set for release. It’s little wonder - whoever tunes into Palace is sure to fall under their spell, to be left wondering ‘who are this band? Where did they come from? And where the fuck do I hear more of them?’

The church is the perfect setting to do just that. Against a backdrop of candles, dappled lighting and austere religious ornaments, the band emerge to play ‘I Want What You Got’ and the room is awash in a delicious sound that many have already held up in great reverence, likening Palace to Jeff Buckley.

Palace say they’re not the sort of band to get ‘crowdsurfers and stage invasions’. Instead their audiences are ‘open-mouthed and gazing’ and that’s exactly the effect they’ve induced tonight. But for every moment the crowd begins to bask in their honey-drenched music there is a sunny riff fragmented by haunted vocals to pluck them out of their lull.

It’s in new track, ‘Tomahawk’ that we’re treated to a glimpse of the bands self-professed ‘inner emo’. Ending in a massive wall of sound of heartbreak, yearning and every cliché in between, a lesser band might not have pulled off such mega-emotion but it seems to be where Palace are at home, with songs to tug at the heart-strings.

‘There’s lots of tuning in Palace’ jokes frontman Leo Wyndham and there is a pause before launching into crowd pleaser, ‘Bitter.’ The urge to sing-along in the room is palpable but instead polite nodding ensues to echoey guitar and propelling drumbeats.

‘Chase the Light’ is introduced as ‘A new acoustic idea.’ Steeped in folky roots, angular guitar twangs are the only accompaniment to Leo’s crooning. It’s a short but beautiful piece and if this is a new idea then it gives us lots to look forward to.

For anyone forgetting they were in a fully operational church, the bells chime dead on 10pm as the band begin the intro to ‘Lost in the night’. They take it in their stride laughing that it 'makes it more atmospheric' as the rhythm of the guitar falls into time with the bells.

Despite penning songs with massive swoon-factor, Leo doesn’t take himself too seriously, ‘Enough of the weedy acoustic stuff let’s do some death metal.’ he jokes ‘This is a another new song called Shark… It’s not death metal though.’

It’s a million miles away from metal of course. 'Shark' is trademark Palace but at the end of a coming of age film. Full of hope and bounce and life, it’s everything the room has come to expect of the band.

Palace cement their place as uber-romantic, sexy-as-hell heartthrobs when they encore with a dark rendition of Chris Isaac's ‘Wicked Game’. Tonight they have proved themselves to be kings of the bittersweet.

Palace, St. Pancras Old Church, London Palace, St. Pancras Old Church, London

Photos: Nathan Barnes. Palace play the DIY London all-dayer alongside Deers, JAWS & more on 1st November. Tickets are available now.

Tags: Palace, Reviews, Live Reviews

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