Palma Violets Rough Up the Bowery Ballroom [5/10/13]
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Until a few months ago, these guys had no web presence, nor a PR team for representation. Now the Palma Violets, signed to classic punk imprint Rough Trade (part of Beggars Group), are one of the most hyped bands on either side of the pond. Justifiably so. Their brand of rock brings guitar-driven music back into the garage after years astray. So we were stoked to catch the four-piece band at the Bowery Ballroom Friday evening. The performance was their second in the Tri-State area, and was part of the overall Downtown Music Festival this weekend.
New York City is notorious for being a tough crowd to please, especially on the indie scene where attendees are oftentimes more interested in capturing the scene for social media attention than actually enjoying the moment. Arms crossed, head bobbing, and little emotion are also par for the course. Yet when a band like the Palma Violets comes along with Brit buzz in tow, it’s most definitely a treat. Seriously, how often does a pit form at the Bowery Ballroom?
Our main gripe about this performance – their second in as many nights – was that it wasn’t long enough. Clocking in at just under an hour, the Violets drew from one album’s worth of material, yet proved that there’s much more where that came from. Dual frontmen Samuel Fryer (guitar/vox) and Alexander “Chilli” Jesson (bass/vox) began the blitzkrieg with “Johnny Bagga Donuts” and “Rattlesnake Highway.” Crowd responded in kind, by opening the circle for some slam dancing. Fans predictably responded most favorably to the more radio friendly “Best of Friends” and “Step Up for the Cool Cats.”
Stage presence certainly wasn’t lacking, either. Bolstered by the energy in the room, the band jumped around plenty and channeled that greasy haven’t-showered-in-a-week look. At one point, the sweaty, spastic Chilli even holstered his bass and proceeded to stage dive.
The requisite encore was highlighted by an untitled new song, which was accompanied by members of opening band Guards, and announced to the audience with the simple plea – “dim the lights, Mr. Light Man.” It became such a passionate feel-good vibe that the entire front row of funs hopped onstage to help end the evening.
Here’s a gallery. Some of these shots almost cost us our specs and camera. Totally worth it.