LIVE: Palace @ THINK TANK?

First to the ThinkTank? stage was Geordie four-piece Mongeese. Although their set contained some contagious Foals-y melodies and  impressive bass work, the set failed to ever take off. Erratic drumming, suspect shifts in tempo and the odd scream forced them into strange territory, which played off like a mix of Enter Shikari and any off-the-shelf indie band.

Brighton-based band Capture fumbled their way onto the gear-covered stage whilst a crowd of late stragglers made their way in to the intimate venue. Armed with a set comparable to the early days of Peace and Palma Violets, these guys seemed much tighter. ‘Vince Halliday’ was a stand out track with a catchy 60’s riff throughout. Samuel Dembowicz’s stage presence began to wake up the Monday evening crowd who, with plenty of encouragement, clap throughout ‘Hey Man’, reminiscent of a prime-era Kooks.

Having toured with Jamie T earlier in the year, Palace are on the final stretch of a tour of the UK’s finest small venues, including a sell-out date at London’s Scala. After a quick tuning, Leo Wyndham (aptly clad in an Adidas x Palace shirt and Palace cap) wanders on stage, slowly followed by the rest of his band mates. Opening with a lengthy blues ridden jam, Wyndham and co. drown the venue with a double-dose of reverb. This blends into ‘Head Above the Water’ from their most recent EP ‘Chase The Light’. This track sees Palace shift into a faster pace from their earlier works, yet the quality of writing is just as present. A jumpy intro and hall-reverbed melody line accumulates in a breakdown consisting of a dualism between Rupert Turner (lead guitar) and Wyndham who is trying to get into the set without any help from glitchy tech and a broken string.

The intimacy of a venue like Think Tank? suited their set perfectly with emotive and atmospheric tracks such as ‘Kiloran’ stunning the small crowd. Regularly rising to the tips of his feet and almost brushing the low ceiling of the venue, Wyndham was getting into his element, soaring through crowd-pleaser ‘Bitter’ with his loosely quivering vocals floating above echoing guitars.

The intro to ‘Veins’ was welcomed with a well deserved, excited applause. Keeping the crowd bobbing throughout, the woozy track ends in another example of Turner and Wyndham’s bluesy guitar sorcery, boiling the jealousy inside any half-arsed guitarist. Finishing the night with a new track ‘Have Faith’, Palace’s short set of alternative soul grandeur came to a close.

Set to record their debut album over the winter, there is definitely still a lot more to come from Palace, who seem to have slowly matured their calming and sophisticated escapist sound. Already admitting their admiration for bands such as WU LYF, a statement album is undoubtedly within their reach. Here’s hoping they manage to reach a few more ears in the future.

Tom Ardron 

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