On the 19th of February Palace, a four-piece hailing from London, delivered a sublime set of atmospheric rock for a sold-out night at The Bodega. This second date of their tour saw a Palace banquet served with some tasters from their much-anticipated upcoming album.
Hot Dreams quite literally warm up the place. You can see a compatibility with Palace which extends beyond their friendship – they are certainly neighbours in the alternative genre. We enjoy their pleasing harmonies and euphoric crescendos to begin the night. It’s a good thing the Palace formula presents itself well in a small and intimate venue as this is certainly what The Bodega stage offers. Frontman Leo Wyndham takes to the stage briefly to tune his guitar – teasingly playing some familiar notes as if to tantalise the waiting crowd.
The night is opened with the debut album’s titular track “So Long Forever”, which now seems to have earned its place amongst the band’s other classics. Drummer Matt Hodges’ thumping drums combined with the chugging bass pulse through the venue and immediately loosen the crowd. The textural richness of the instruments combined with Leo’s impressive vocal control are trance-inducing.
Wyndham shows us he has a sense of humour, striking up a rapport with fans by echoing their ‘woos’ and chants. In the meantime, a shoegaze-esque jangle of guitar bounces through the venue as a filler between songs. These melodies melt seamlessly into “Have Faith”, yet another emotionally-charged anthem from their debut album.
An unabashed rendition of “Live Well” is both uplifting and clearly anticipated by the crowd. The song ends with lilting guitar, followed by an ethereal performance of “No Other” to match their other-worldly sound aesthetic. We are enticed with new song “All in My Stride”, which is wistful and shows Palace taking a guitar-led route with their new music. Wyndham promises to give us “something a little less depressing” as he ushers in older track “Kiloran”. The iconic plucky guitar signposts a return to the earlier circa-2015 sound.
There is a lingering silence before the first impassioned words of “It’s Over”, a gentle melancholic ode, roll from Wyndham and through the congregation. The profundity and intensity of the words clearly strike a chord with members of the audience as some stand still in appreciation.
“Heaven Up There” pinches at feelings of longing and desire as we are absorbed into the band’s personal universe. The dreamy, soaring tones and falsetto vocals contrast with the ambient reverse delay on the guitar. The soft, tranquil rhythmical sounds induce a mellow mood before we are stirred with the raw, old school “Bitter”. The plaintive pleas of the chorus feel personal and draw us in.
Overall this was an incredibly confident and polished performance with barely any rough edges. Clearly this is a group of accomplished and talented musicians – not just compelling performers – who show a lot of promise for the future. It’s been a pleasure to have you Palace!