Palma Violets

Palma Violets –  Reading – 29 April 2015 – Gig Review

Palma Violets hail from Lambeth and were formed through a musical partnership between Sam Fryer (guitar and vocals) and Chilli Jesson (bass and Vocals).  The bands debut single “Best Of Friends” won NME’s ‘best song award in 2012 and since then the magazine have given the band strong backing, raising their public profile enough for them to win a slot at the 2014 Reading and Leeds festivals which is where I first saw them.

Palma Violet have been part of the NME Awards tour in both 2013 and 2014 where I managed to cathc their show at Portsmouth’s Pyramid centre.  Of course being part of the awards tour is useful in terms of exposure but with so many bands involved sets are typically only around 45 minutes and as such I dont think that they really had the opportunity to showcase themselves fully.

As a result I was only too happy to grab my camera and jump in the car for the 80 mile drive to Readings Bowery District to catch the violets in a small venue.  Having seen them at a festival, a mid sized venue and now a small enue I was interested to see how they made the adjustment and worked the crowd across three totally different venues.  I was also looking forward to hearing how the material from the forthcoming album “Danger In The Club” (released on May 4th) goes down with the punters.

As a first timer at this particular venue I must confess that the photographer in me was also hoping that the lighting was of a standard to let me get some nice photo’s.  The lighting at the Pyramids is great for gig goers, awful for photographers, far too bright and glaring.

The venue is an interesting one, sort of nightclub masquerading as a concert venue, very oddly shaped and a tiny little stage, however the sound was great and the lighting reasonable.  Like many venues these days the Bowery has moved to halogen lighting which does make photography difficult.

Palma Violets were supported by a band I had not come across before, Ming City Rockers a very good four piece drums, bass and two guitars.  They bashed out a 30 minute set of good old fashioned loud and energetic ‘hair’ rock.  I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

Palma Violets hit the stage at 9.30 p.m. 15 minutes later than their advertised time.  From minute one on stage it was clear that the Violets were up for a rocking good time as they laid into “Secrets Of America” from the forthcoming album Danger In The Club.  As the evening progressed the band treated us to seven tracks from the new album with the rest of the 16 track set coming from debut album 180, “Step Up For The Cool Cats” and “Three Stars” the only tracks not getting an outing from that album.

Palma Violets have a great connection with their audience which consisted primarily of people in the 16 – 24 age group.  I love the looks I get when I know the words to most of the songs and sometimes feel like getting on stage an telling the kids that my generation invented this music and that we are not too old to enjoy it until we are dead.  Over the course of the evening both Sam and Chilli joined in with the crowd surfing that seems to be the norm at gigs these days.  I don’t get it myself, whilst you are doing that you are missing the gig, but whatever.

The energy on stage was certainly matched by the energy in the crowd.  Everyone seemed to know their way through all of the old songs and they enjoyed the new as well.  The small stage size created a few problems as mic stands went flying on numerous occasions during the set and the sense of mayhem was only added to by the road crew trying to sort out the mess whilst climbing over the band and the two videographers who were trying to shoot the show for a live stream.

Make no mistake, Palma Violets are the real deal.  They really do remind me of the kind of rock music that I grew up with.  They have the energy and attitude of the bands of my youth and would sit comfortably amongst the likes of Stiff Little Fingers, The Vibrators and the Membranes.  They are most certainly a band I would be very happy to get out to see any time.

One final point I would like to make and  to be fair it isn’t necessarily directed at Palma Violets though it does apply to them.  Last nights set ran for 63 minutes, and that included the time they spent off stage before coming back for the encore. Why is it that a 63-year-old Bruce Springsteen can play a set running to four hours and six minutes (Helsinki 2012) when bands a third of his age can only manage an hour?

One hour sets seem to be the norm for many bands at the moment and, whilst I understand that they don’t have the back catalogue that some like Springsteen has to draw on, frankly it sucks.  Surely any band worth their salt can put a 90 minute set together even if it includes a cover or two?

Boston Bomber

Was Boston Bomber Jury ‘Rigged’ To Ensure ‘Unconstitutional’ Death Sentence?

Let’s be straight up right from the start, the actions of “Boston Bomber” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cannot be condoned in any way shape or form. The bomber set out to kill and maim innocent members of the public who were enjoying a fun day out. The bomber deliberately chose a spot where their actions would cause the maximum effect. The bomber killed three people and injured 260 others in a political action against the country that adopted him and offered him the opportunity of a better life.


Ian Curtis

Don Your Black Arm Band: Pay Homage to the 35th Anniversary Of Ian Curtis’ Death

I can hardly believe that today marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Ian Curtis.  In many ways it seems like yesterday.  Joy Division where the band that kept me sane during the Falklands conflict in 1982.  Their dark mournful post punk sound provided me with an anchor.

Whilst I didn’t really discover the band until after Curtis’s death I still love their albums and I was lucky enough to see Peter Hook and the Light perform a set consisting almost exclusively at last years Bearded Theory festival.

Tonight Peter Hook and the light are playing a show in an old Church in Macclesfield during which they will play Joy Divisions entire 48 song back catalogue in front of 500 people.  Man how I would love to be there.

The proceeds from the gig will be donated to the The Epilepsy Society.  Curtis was just 23 when he took his own life.  I often wonder what the music industry would look like today if Curtis was still around.  I have always been convinced that Joy Division were on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world, they certainly left  mark, but how much bigger would that mark had been if Curtis was still with us.

RIP – Ian Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980)

Lets get back to the music [Video] – Kudos – On Your Own

I have just come across this band as a result of following them on Twitter.

Kudos hail from East Kilbride in Scotland and produce the sort of pop-punk that reminds me of the likes of Green Day, All Time Low and the like.  Its a great tune, check it out.



Music Festival Survival guide

Music Festival Survival guide

Well at long last the festival season has arrived.  This week sees my first major festival of the year, Bearded Theory at Catton Hall in Derbyshire.

I count myself as something of a festival veteran having attended numerous festivals both large and small over the last “god knows how many years.”  I thought it might be useful to share some ideas on how to ensure you have the best possible time at the festival you have paid a small fortune to attend.

I am in the fortunate position of owning a Camper Van so I have the luxury of being able to pack my van with food, drink and just about everything I need but most people are not in that position and have to camp in a tent.  If you are camping then hopefully this guide will help you.

What To Take

  • A tent!  Aim for a decent sized tent preferably with a porch where you can remove muddy boots etc.  Don’t expect your 3-man tent to sleep 3 comfortably, it won’t!
  • Sleeping Bag:  You don’t need a £300 duck down 4-season bag.  A cheap 2-season will suffice for UK summer festivals
  • Sleep Mat or Air Bed:  Many larger festivals will have a camping shop where you can buy these but do check, a little comfort goes a long way.
  • Torch:  I swear by this type, they are tough as old boots and slip easily into your pocket.  Essential to find your tent, and the loo in the middle of the night.
  • Loo Roll: You do not want to trust that the port-a-loos or long drops will have paper.  Trust me!!
  • Wet Wipes: Absolutely essential, you can wash with them, freshen up during the day and use as emergency loo roll.
  • Water Bottle: keep hydrated from fill points and keep some water for that first coffee of the day
  • Small Camping Stove: These little solid fuel ones are ideal especially as some festivals no longer allow gas canisters.
  • Metal Container: Something to boil water in
  • Sun Block
  • Waterproofs: Trousers and coat, the best you can afford.  You may not need them but if its a wet festival you will be glad of them.
  • Suitable footwear: This means good quality waterproof boots, either walking boots or army style   gore tex boots.  If it’s wet take wellies.
  • Toiletries: Soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, deodorant and a small towel
  • Changes of clothes: socks and underwear.  I highly recommend walking trousers like these, especially the ones you can zip off part of the leg to convert to shorts.  Wicking T shirts are great as a base layer.  Take a nice warm pullover or hoodie for the evenings.  Don’t go over the top, its a festival not a fashion parade. T-shirts are the order of the day.  Do not take jeans.  If they get wet you will never get them dry!
  • Medication: inhalers, tablets etc as required, paracetamol and something like imodiem can be useful
  • Condoms: you too ladies!  You might get lucky and if not they make great balloons.
  • Matches or Lighter
  • Food And Drink: remember you have to carry it and at larger festivals it can be a very long walk from the car to the campsite.  As an example at Reading last year I had to walk 25 – 30 minutes from the camper van field to the arena!!
  • A Rucksack: Do not be that moron trying to pull your wheeled suitcase through 6 inch deep mud!

Some Top Tips

  • Do not camp right next to the toilets!  They may smell OK when you arrive.  They will be absolutely rank by the time you leave.
  • Do not camp at the bottom of a hill, guess what happens when it rains!
  • If you arrive in a group pitch your tents facing each other around a Small circle.  this will allow you to chat to your friends and provide shelter if you are cooking.  If you leave too much space at a large festival someone will pitch their tent in your circle!
  • Remember at all gatherings of large numbers of people there will be thieves.  Don’t take anything valuable with you and take care of what you do take
  • Make friends with your neighbours
  • Sleep with your cash and mobile phone at the bottom of your sleeping bag
  • Do not padlock your tent, this just advertises that there might be something worth stealing inside, and tents are very easily slashed.
  • do not leave anything valuable in your tent
  • Many festivals these days are very child friendly, the kids can have a great time too but do make sure before you go
  • Hearing protection is essential, especially for children or if you are near the front
  • If you don’t want to get trampled on in a wild mosh pit try to get your back to a safety barrier

My final and most essential tip

I am a committed festival goer, I enjoy every aspect of festivals but please ensure you take an open mind and leave your preconceptions at the gate.  However do not leave your common sense at the gate!

Have fun at whichever festival you choose and hopefully I will see you in a field somewhere over the summer.

If you have any additional tips then please leave them in a comment below.

Dorey The Wise

A Post A Day Photo Challenge – May 17 2015 – Dorey The Wise

Hi folks, I am taking on a challenge to post a photograph every day for a full year startingon New years Day.  Please join in by uploading a photograph of your own and leaving a pingback here :

I really should have had these shots up ages ago.  Sussex based Dorey  The Wise performing at the Larmer Tree Breakthrough Music Awards last month.  A great band who are set for great things.