Gig Review: PALMA VIOLETS + FAT WHITE FAMILY, SLAVES & WYTCHES – NME Awards Tour @ Kentish Town Forum – 04/03/2015

CA - NME Tour As usual, NME have managed to gather together some of the most happening acts of the moment for their awards tour… 
MARK KELLY caught the tour at its leg at the Kentish Town Forum – and what a gig it was! (Images from the band’s sites / social media)

 

As usual, NME have managed to gather together some of the most happening acts of the moment for their awards tour; and, in the absence of The Amazing Snakeheads, they’ve corralled The Wytches.

This is possibly an unfair introduction to The Wytches as they were very much an eleventh hour addition, and there is no denying that they look a little lost on the Forum’s stage. Their music is energetic and thrashy in places, but not in a heavy metal sense. This is sometimes harsh psychedelia, ambitious music that quite frequently hits the target, but sometimes doesn’t quite. They do occasionally sound a bit ponderous, but there is plenty of light and shade which mostly seems to retain audience interest.

The vocals are a tad deranged at times, and their set ends with some impressive guitar and bass maltreatment, so they’re quite rock ‘n’ roll! Or at least, that’s the impression that they’re trying to project. Despite having released their debut album Annabel Dream Reader, The Wytches live seem to be very much a work in progress, albeit one that shows plenty of promise. Let’s see where they are next year. CA - The Wytches

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Slaves virtually redefine the term ‘minimalist’. Isaac Holman stands at his tiny kit a la Mo Tucker delivering a joyously primitive beat whilst bellowing his urgent vocals. Guitarist Laurie Vincent plays mostly barre chords, and together they produce a sound which is closer to 1977 punk than anything else – which is a good thing!!! Feed the Manta Ray is reminiscent of 1960s garage rock, which itself of course was a massive influence on 1977 punk.

CA - Slaves The lyrics are mostly witty, Where’s Your Car Debbie? in particular being an absolute classic. Isaac Holman prefaces one or two of the songs with a story, which only goes to enhance them. Despite the punk energy, the most important thing about Slaves is their lyrics. The crowd screams back pretty much every word. Stunning.

Fat White Family are more conventionally rockist than I was expecting, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They occasionally have a swampy feel, and there’s a jamming element to them as well. You very much get the feeling that the music could fly off in a completely different direction at any moment.

Bomb Disneyland seems very much like a classic in waiting, as does Is It Raining In Your Mouth?  They end their set with some frenetic keyboard abuse before they amble offstage. Whilst there are obvious reference points to other artists in their music, that doesn’t stop them from very much ploughing their own furrow. Some bands just ooze character, and Fat White Family are one of them. CA - Fat White Family

Palma Violets get a reception that is beyond ecstatic. In character they remind me of a 21st Century Small Faces. I’ve seen them twice before: supporting Savages at Brighton Haunt in 2012, and at Field Day in 2013, when despite having the plug pulled on them, they still resolutely refused to leave the stage, and ended up being chased around the stage by roadies as the schedule got further and further behind.

However, whereas before they were loveable scamps, now a definite air of professionalism has crept in. That isn’t to say that they’re not fun anymore, it’s just that they now seem like a big band. It’s very much a given that they deserve their headlining spot on this tour and, more importantly than that, they’re able to deliver.

CA - Palma Violets They rip into Rattlesnake Highway, but second song Danger In The Club is the title track of the new, as yet unreleased album, and is still greeted like an old friend by their rabidly loyal fans. However, apart from this and one other new song (Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better On The Beach) this is very much a greatest hits set. Indeed, the band seem to be enjoying proceedings as much as the crowd, as Chilli happily machine guns the assembled hordes with his bass. Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end, as this gig does with Invasion Of TheTribbles, and some enthusiastic drum kit demolition which precludes an encore.

This was indeed a great bill, and over the course of three hours or so, was probably the best fun that you could have with your clothes on!

Mark Kelly