Normally when a van gets stolen there is seldom interest, however when Palaces’ tour van got stolen around a week before the Village Underground gig; there was a media storm. Upsetting as this was; it showed that Palace have come a long way since their debut EP in 2014 to selling out trendy venues including Village Underground. With their second album Life After due out on July 12th and having just released the third track 'Martyr' from this forthcoming eleven track LP (adorned with impressive Gauguin/ Cézanne style artwork); fans expectations were set at a high threshold.
XS Noize was present at this sold-out gig and engaged fans reactions to Palaces’ performance. Following on from main support Hot Dreams and opening act Molly Parton (who gave an acoustic rendition of Prophets of Rages’ Unfuck the World; Village Underground had congregated around ever closer to the stage around Palace. Not an inch of personal space was available. This was a combination of excitement and poor lighting. From the outset, some of Palaces’ musical influences including, Wu Lyf, were instantly visible. As well as Wu Lyf, Palace at times sounded like The Drums and it was evident that their unique sound had rubbed off on the main support act Hot Dreams who had borrowed ideas from bands almost the antithesis of each other including Cigarettes after Sex; The Boxer Rebellion; The Temper Trap; Travis; Coldplay; Doves; Thirteen Senses and Villagers. Throughout Palaces’ set; there were consistent Foals influences.
The majority of the most familiar tracks played came from their debut LP So Long Forever. Like alt-J, Palace were mellow, quirky and cryptic; but delivered a sound that was instantly accessible. Frontman Leo Wyndham projected Palaces’ sound with vocals consisting of a hybrid of the singer’s from Turin Breaks, The Boxer Rebellion and Thirteen Senses. Unlike Jamie T fans (who Palace have previously supported) who Palace have said get “topless and hammered”; sanguine Palace paid homage by singing along clearly, fluently and softly with occasional gentle body movements. Fans did not need prompting and prepping; Palace did not announce the titles of any of their songs and the reactions of fans demonstrated that this would have been a wasted venture.
As well as tracks from So Long Forever including Break the Silence; Holy Smoke; Live Well and Have Faith; new material from their forthcoming second album Life After was dropped including seven minute, Heaven up There, which has already been crowned as Lauren Laverne’s “headphones moment” on BBC 6 Music. Other new tracks played included No Other and the latest track Martyr. As described, there have been welcomed consistent and pleasant themes in Palaces’ set. The song that stood out was: It’s Over. The guitar influences on It’s Over can be traced directly to Radiohead's’ The Bends and OK Computer.
Whilst Palace were almost unpassionate when they said just before performing Bitter: “it’s our last song but maybe we’ll come on later”; it was more than substantial in keeping fans protruding towards the front of the stage and raising adrenaline levels of this naturally chilled audience during the encore. Emotions were running high as the set finished; not so much because Palaces’ next London gig is not until November 9th; it is because of the venue the London gig will be held at Camden Roundhouse. This was probably the last time Palace (with a growing fan base) will play in an exceptionally intimate London venue with 1,000 person capacity like Village Underground. The Roundhouse can accommodate over 3,000 people.
Palace has made progress in so many ways from possessing their own studio space to recording sessions with Zane Lowe. There is every reason to expect Palaces’ second forthcoming LP, Life After, to be another measure of their growing success. With the theme of “Hope” and produced by Catherine Marks (2018’s producer of the year); 2019 is likely to continue to be an exciting year for Palace.