Rough Trade NYC, a venue placed behind a big, huge Williamsburg record shop, seemed like the perfect place for this small, UK-based, bluesy/folky/Hozier-sounding group to do their first US show. A very Williamsburg joint welcomed first the group Glass Gang – a sort of generic “vibey” group that was in desperate need of a bass player. Between two guitarists playing in dissonance in the same register and a lead singer with zero stage presence and not nearly enough vocal talent to not be playing an instrument, the group was on the verge of being insufferable. However, behind the perpetually pissed off frontman and distorted noodlers was the group’s saving grace: their phenomenal drummer. Playing fills I would have assumed to only be possible if created on the computer, the man drummed his whole band into a watchable act.
Once they finally left the stage, Palace quickly set up and began their set, comprised of old tracks off their 2014 and 2015 EPs, as well as tracks from their new record So Long Forever – released this Friday on November 4th. Brimming with joy and gratitude to be playing for such an enthusiastic audience, frontman Leo Wyndham brought a visceral performance in both his playing and his vocals. The whole band seemed to be connected and present with one another, giving way for great jams that didn’t just feel like pointless noodling, but real improvising for the sake of playing on what was already written, as well as playing off one another. No band member seemed out of place and every song felt necessary.
The standout performance of the night had to be Veins, one of the more popular songs of the group’s small, but significant, discography. The chemistry with one another and love for the song was clear, not only for the band, but for the audience as well. After a short set that lasted about 45 minutes, the band packed up and left for yet another gig that evening in Manhattan. Though I could have watched these guys jam at Rough Trade all night long, I didn’t need to. They delivered a solid performance in those 45 minutes and I did not feel like it was cut short or like I was robbed of my time with the band.
A beautiful show, Palace’s performance at Rough Trade has given me a new appreciation and love for the group and their music.