I’d heard the name in passing, but never gave them a shot until a short time ago. Last week, I received an email describing them as “garage rock with a cult following in the UK”. When the curtains opened Friday night at El Rey Theater to reveal Palma Violets, it was apparent LA’s youth has tasted the punch too.
Trying to push my way to the front in order to get a few decent photos early in the show I was pushed back by a tight-knit mob that clearly knew what they were in for. Being the last stop on their US tour (aside from a Sunday afternoon appearance at SF’s Treasure Island Music Festival) the wild front and center crowd jumped, pushed and had their fists waving the whole time. The quartet gave it right back to the fans with a steam rolling performance from their first and only album 180, which is just shy of a year old. Girls ranging from 18-22 were pushed up against the theater stage with palms out and hearts in their eyes. 4 piece British rockers seem to have this effect on our stateside girls.
The show lasted roughly an hour and it was a riotous dash. Frothy beer and sweaty bodies flew from the stage. A cup of what looked like Mountain Dew (?) hit bass player Alexander “Chilli” Jesson in the head who took it in stride as if this is the type of s*** that’s supposed to happen at Palma Violets shows.
Being the last stop, the Palma Violets tour manager came out dressed similar to a young Elton John, with nighttime sunglasses and a white jacket. Playing maracas he was swiftly butt kicked off the stage and into a sea of ready hands who pushed him back with smiles from the band.
The boys work well together, lead by “Chilli” who brings enough fire for the whole group and singer/ guitar Samuel Fryer who can switch from Morrison-esque crooner to loud and fast punker at the drop of a hat. The show was much more than head thrashing theatrics, these men are musicians and their delivery is tight. After witnessing Saturday night’s performance, it’s safe to say the cult is growing. Hold out your cups people.