A short walk from London’s King’s Cross and I was at Scala’s multi-level venue on Pentonville Road. It was host for the evening to the sold out show featuring Palace - a group of school friends turned indie four-piece band, consisting of Leo Wyndham on guitar and vocals, Matt Hodges on drums, Rupert Turner on guitar and Will Dory on bass. From all angles, across various balconies, groups of young fans waited with a beer in hand for the show to start. Even the stairs were packed but the space shared a relaxed atmosphere.
Supporting them was another foursome - Island - who took to the stage shortly after 8.30PM. They began with their popular hit ‘Stargazer’. The crowd knew the words well as this was the first single released from their EP. Think a combination of The Kooks mixed with a darker sound and reminiscent of a young Kings of Leon. The lead singer – Rollo Doherty’s - voice blended into the delay of the guitar chords. It was a romantic affair.
Their second track ‘Girl’ had a stop/start nature brought on by the drums, with catchy guitar riffs. It made me miss the Arctic Monkeys sound from 10 years ago. You can tell Island is going to be huge. The chorus for ‘Girls’ drops before the very British solo you would normally find. You need to hear this song; it’s catchy.
The young crowd applauded Island, but they now had the extra treat that was Palace. The intro fused together a long guitar jam; imagine a beautiful melody encased in hall reverb, led by the singer's multi-coloured telecaster. The band’s calming music, such as ‘Head Above The Water’ went down well with its blues influences and catchy chorus. The song really lifted the crowd, with people singing along to the words.
As always, the lead singer has a strong and emotive vocal. ‘Veins’ was mesmerising with the lights turned down. This was more subtle and atmospheric than the last show I saw in Red Gallery, East London. The guitar really stood out in this song. Both EP’s allow you, at home, to sit back and hit playback over and over, each time leaving you wishing for more. The romantic mood of ‘Settle Down’ had the crowd swaying, while the calm lighting swung across the stage.
The lead's voice is soft and husky; you couldn't imagine another singer over their instruments. ‘Kiloran’ had the crowd around me clapping from the chorus to the very end. Come the encore, they finished with ‘Bitter’ - my favourite song. The introduction to this song is huge; think of the strange sounds you would hear from Bombay Bicycle Club and Alt J.
The band is very humble and you can tell they love what they do and have not yet been tarnished. They seem truly thankful and their part-bluesy, warm tones emphasise that this band takes time to make their music. I love the size and look of both EPs and I couldn't say which is better as they both compliment each other. My advice is to see both these bands while they're young! You won’t regret it.
Words and Photography: Luke Cole