Palace – The Ruby Lounge, Manchester – 10/04/17

Arriving purposefully early to catch support from Babeheaven, tonight starts like a dream. The ethereal yet remarkably clear vocal above thin layers of synths and guitars sound like an overdone concept, but Babeheaven are ultimately unique sounding like nothing else around right now. ‘Moving On’ is incredibly underrated, luscious drums beat along with this melody that won’t leave your head for hours.

Manchester’s Ruby Lounge is fit to burst with fans waiting to see Palace, as they throwback immediately to EP tracks ‘Head About The Water’ and ‘I Want What You Got’ to the fans’ delight. Let’s say it’s not unheard of for bands to release their debut album and them seem to forget about their previous tracks to date live, luckily Palace aren’t that band. These tracks have a heavy beat to them combined with the strong twanging guitar tone, Fleet Foxes influence lie throughout in the best possible way.

‘Live Well’ is the perfect encapsulation of Palace. A difficult band to describe, there are indie undertones but also folk influences, resilient melodies and sharp lyrics – this is mature indie. Every moment of these songs are planned and practiced, no time to spare or moment to waste – except to praise and show appreciation for their support bands. This isn’t music for 14-year olds to dance foolishly to, the crowd stands still concentrating on every chord and intake of breath, occasionally swaying or nodding their heads in time.

“We’re gonna take it down a bit” frontman Leo Wyndham says to the adoring crowd, right up close due to the intimate placing of the barrier. Even the new songs of the set are so accessible, full of rich chords and textures, expect something fresh and exciting every other moment. Palace’s sound may be reasonably simple but it isn’t the boring old sound expected from any guitar band, there really is something special underneath Wyndham’s beanie hat that refuses to leave his head all night despite the extremely sweaty atmosphere on stage.

Closing the set, Palace perform album highlight ‘It’s Over’, Wyndham’s voice is smooth yet intense, resonating around the low-ceilinged room “I am the bullet, you are the gun, we are the moon above the sun”. Each second gradually gains more and more momentum, bodies in the crowd are moving more than ever, rocking back and forth, heads banging as the song reaches its climax. Finally, ‘Bitter’ rounds off an incredible night as the whole room cheers after hearing the first chord ring out. Extremely tight and criminally underrated, I’d recommend Palace to absolutely everyone.

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