Gig Review... Palma Violets @ The Faversham, Live At Leeds Festival, 3rd May 2014

Two weeks after The Libertines reunion was announced, Palma Violets open our eyes up to a new horizon, and it’s theirs. 

I’ve spent most of the day sauntering around various live venues to see a number of acts performing at Live At Leeds but Palma Violets appearance is the first to cause a lengthy queue outside. Just a few days ago the band announced they’d be playing a 9:45pm show at The Faversham, solving the elusive ‘Very Special Guests’ gap left on festival goers timetables. 

The band linger outside moments before the show and bassist Chilli Jesson greets me as if we’ve met before, asking if I’ve seen his mate ‘Ollie’ who he later tells me is the reason they’re here in Leeds; to play for him. I know very little about ‘Ollie’ nor do I about Chilli, but after the few minutes spent talking to him I think I’ve got an impression of what he and the band are all about. He’s a bit like a giddy, witty kid but when he hits the stage it’s another story as he yelps through a 45 minute set like a man who’s never heard of throat soothers before. ‘It’s all to play for man’ he utters cooly. I’m not sure what a fairly established band like Palma Violets have got to play for but he’s still clearly keen to impress the fans as he reveals, ‘we’ve got some new tunes in there, couple of covers’. ‘Let me know what you think’, he says before we part our different sides of the stage. 

The venue is over 200 people full by the time the band take to stage with new song, ‘Gout! Gang! Go!’. Three minutes in and Chilli looks as if he’s been dragged through a car wash whilst guitarist Samuel Fryer stands rooted to the spot in what looks like a Pete Doherty tribute outfit - trilby and all, oozing sweat triumphantly, if that’s such a thing. The boundless camaraderie between the two is enough to rival Pete and Carl themselves but as much as they may be compared, the pair have formed their own foundation now. 

The outburst of ‘Rattlesnake Highway’ sees middle aged men throw themselves into action for the first time since they saw The Clash or Sex Pistols as scrawny teens. Other familiar songs ‘Best of Friends’ and ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’ bring cheers to the rafters as Chilli raises his gurning face above the crowd and waves his arms amidst the smoke as if to cast a spell upon the crowd. ‘I wanna see one of those circle thingies’ he commands throughout the set and each time the crowd kindly obey. In return the band give the crowd a taste of new songs in the form of ‘Matador’ and ‘Danger In The Club’, the latter tinted with the kind of synth keys The Stranglers would’ve been proud of. The keys also make a prominent appearance in ‘Johnny Bagga’ Donuts’ which transport the crowd to a rickety seaside pier but a stench of beer and sweat still lingers rather than sea and sweet donuts. The band bring a raucous eleven song-set to an end with their equally as reckless version of Hot Nasties’ ‘Invasion Of The Tribbles’, which sounds as if it were written just for them. 

As the blood boiling chaos comes to an end and the ear-ringing speakers bring the room to a stand still, the crowd can hear properly again and Chilli can just about get his voice back to chat to fans outside. Now changed out of his sweaty shirt, he’s still keen to know what people thought. He needn’t ask, the exasperated smiles on the staggering bodies answer all his queries. 

The setlist:
'Gout! Gang! Go!'
'Rattlesnake Highway'
'Danger In The Club'
'Tom The Drum'
'Chicken Dippers'
'Best Of Friends'
'Step Up For The Cool Cats'
'Johnny Bagga' Donuts'
'Invasion Of The Tribbles'

Watch Palma Violets cover of Hot Nasties' 'Invasion Of The Tribbles' at the bottom of the post!


Joshua Shreeve (@JJShreeve)