“In this moment it becomes clear why Palma Violets find themselves banned from many venues.”
A debauched Palma Violet, Sam Fryar is back from his evening meal and desperately looking for a way into the venue, I offer a helping hand and lead him around to the side-doors. With little time to spare, this last-minute and unprepared nature sums up the reckless brilliance of Lambeth’s finest. The Rattlesnake Rodeo Tour has hit Bristol, and the enthusiasm is still as rife as ever following February’s debut album ‘180’.
‘The end is nigh!”, screeches merch guy Harry Violent whilst shoving through swarms of youth, and he’s not far wrong. Following a steamy set from Childhood, Palma Violets clumsily stagger onstage and the ground floor swirls. ‘Rattlesnake Highway’ angrily unleashes the first bout of turmoil and you can’t help feeling that this band landmark the current generation of music. Only a few days have passed since they took over a student kitchen in Nottingham, leading to a social-networking storm; but it’s this spontaneity that keeps us ready to expect the most belligerent of surprises.
With an evil glint in his eye, bassist Chilli Jesson scowls and croons between songs. He more than anybody is aware of the deviant setlist to come. ‘All The Garden Birds’ is euphoric and bombast, ‘Best Of Friends’ argues a destructive case, and ‘We Found Love’ has the dehydrated’s romantically flailing. Tonight feels very much like a victory lap for a band who have whole-heartedly earned Academy level through blood booze and tears. That’s not to say they’ve mellowed in the bigger venues, if anything it’s made them more hungry. Intimacy peaks through with ‘Three Stars’ and ’14’, two of the slowies from the record, which has had the best part of a year to soak in.
The textbook encore interlude feels unusually long and is filled with jeers, chants and crowd-surfing to nothing. Lights silently flash away against the drum-kit and the distinct lager vapour of the Academy noticeably lingers. With the album drained, the re-appearance of the band promises either a cover or fresh material, both are more than favourable. New song ‘Scandal’ then emerges and stalks darkly across the room, despite being unfamiliar to the majority a gaping hole soon emerges in the crowd, this gap stretches from the stage to sound-desk and imagine the sight when some heavy guitar boulders in.
Icing on the cake, a cover of Hot Nasties’ ‘Invasion Of The Tribbles’ welcomes a stage-invasion, with both support bands (Childhood, Telegram) joining the bombardment. In this moment it becomes clear why Palma Violets find themselves banned from many venues. Merch guy Harry Violent is kicked out of the doors and left in the street, jumping up and down shouting “We hate the O2!”, to a bouncer who simply replies: “We did warn you”.
Ahead of the gig I caught a few words with Chilli, who was great spirits and beckoned me over.
Hi there Chilli, so the how’s the Rattlesnake Rodeo tour treating you?
It’s going great, so far Manchester has really stood out but Coventry and Plymouth are places we’ve never played before, so it’s been really nice to go there.
Have you started working on any new material yet?
Yeah, we’ve been writing and writing and it’s been brilliant. We’ve got maybe six or seven new songs that we’ve been holding back, but we’ve been working out at least two songs live which change every night. It’s a different way of doing it for us.
The album was very prominent on this years festival circuit, will there be another release before then?
Yes, we’re hoping for a bridging release or single hopefully, we recently did ‘Invasion’ which was just a bit of fun really.
Ace thanks Chilli, catch you later!
Check out big tune ‘Best Of Friends’ right here: