Our online editor Andrea Loftus made her way into the sticky underbelly of the union to join the masses waiting to be enchanted by the London based band Palace.
Stylus is not the most glamorous of venues, with the dry-beer-blanket underfoot making you feel like your shoes are covered in velcrow. Nevertheless, it proved to be the perfect mix of intimate and interactive to create one of the best gigs I’ve seen there.
Some supports slip your mind the second you leave, but with a tagline like “we are All We Are”, the cathartic post punk trio based in Liverpool got the room well and truly warmed up. From the reds of the jumpsuit and guitar to the green hues they basked in, their set was as visual as it was sonic. With bass melodies reminiscent of Foals and vocals to rival Metronomy, they encouraged the growing crowd to “jump around if you feel like it” for their final fervent song ‘Human’.
As the stage transformed into a picturesque palette of Monet blues, it was clear that Palace carry the dreamy aesthetics of their cover art wherever they play. Starting with ‘So Long Forever’, the James-Blake-lookalike Leo Wyndham eased the crowds in with his honey tones. The opening notes of ‘Holy Smoke’ were met with screams from 20-something year old lads in disbelief that they were about to hear their ultimate sad boy song live. The lighting circled the singer in a vibrant barcode-esque brilliance and, as the crowd took the reigns, Wyndham was left in a power cut glow as he was serenaded with his own words
‘Live Well’ was the expected highlight of the night, with each chorus growing louder than the last as a myriad of not so in tune voices melded into a surprisingly melodic unit. Continuing with more fan favourites like ‘Bones’, received by yelps that ‘THIS IS THE BEST SONG EVER’, I witnessed what can only be described as a spiritual experience being had by a buzzcut-haired-fila-clad lad 3ft in front of me.
Romance was truly in the air, with couples scattered here there and everywhere interlocking limbs to the sounds of ‘Settle Down’. Their dedication so strong I saw one guy zooming with his nose on an Instagram story, refusing to pry his hands from the love prison of his significant other.
As the tone shifted, the pulsing vibrations of the bass unstuck some confetti from the ceiling, the Fruity debris gently raining onto the stage as Leo smirked and recounted how last time they played Leeds their van was stolen (classic) – but this time things were looking up.
The band dedicated ‘Veins’ to “anyone who’s ever lost someone they loved”, the rotating beams casting a celestial glow and a heavenly atmosphere. The starry effect effect of the lighting created constellations we didn’t want to leave, as we fell back to earth for the final three songs and wondered if the light technicians was after a raise.
The nondescript trio are the archetype of the man-band, the sort that wouldn’t look out of place in a hipster coffee house in South London but can enchant a cacophony of individuals with their winding words. As they bid us farewell, the crowds were all very reluctant to leave this dark and dreamy refuge that transformed into their very own Palace for the evening.