Live Review

Reading 2012: Palma Violets, Festival Republic Stage

It’s very much judgement day.

Few bands will play Reading Festival with as little to call on as Palma Violets. They’ve been on the road - you can go see them live, sure, but otherwise if you want to hear their material you’ll be restricted to a heap of shaky camera phone snippets posted to YouTube. There’s nothing else available.

That leaves the Reading crowd in an odd position. While the festival can be great for rocking up to a stage and discovering a new favourite band, it generally relies upon there being a few people there who have already made that jump to bring the atmosphere. While there are some present, there seem to be a lot more attracted by the chance to hear exactly what Rough Trade’s latest proteges are actually about. It’s very much judgement day.

There’s little to worry about - Palma Violets’ charms are easy to see. They’ve not been hiding them for a lack of songs (though, obviously, identifying any of them is somewhat of a challenge). There’s a touch of The Libertines to them - less in the music, more in the Barat and Doherty style dynamic of frontman Sam Fryer and bassist Chilli Jesson - while Fryers’ vocal occasionally shows a flash of Julian Casablancas’ trademark drawl.

If there’s anything we can be sure of, it’s that Palma Violets seem to be that most perfect of creations - a band who are also a gang. If they’ve got anything going for them, that will be it. Those who habitually don’t like such things will no doubt be unimpressed, but some of those who don’t mind an enthusiastic take on the classics are sure to be won over. One thing is certain; we’ll be hearing a lot more of Palma Violets.

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