Thursday, 14th August @ Newtown Social Club
Fuck, I mean, what is there to say about Palms that hasn’t been said? They’re a bunch of local shredders that took the pop genius of Red Riders, and added an injection of rock n roll mayhem. Their album last year, ‘Step Brothers’, was a work of art, covering a variety of musical bases, whilst staying completely original and heavily dosed with a strong suit of singles to get your shimmy on to. So, with the sound of a sophomore LP drawing closer, no wonder they sold out their return show at Newtown Social Club. It’s been a long few months since the Palms boys tore a stage a new one, and everyone in attendance was gleefully awaiting a return to form.
But more on that later. Boasting a member of the amazing band that was Bridezilla, Low Lux opened up the proceedings with a violin and thrashing spirit that was straight out of Poltergeist. The melodies were dark and fantastic, swaying with a thrill not felt since Paul Hogan uttered “That’s not a knife; this is a knife!”. For only their second show, Low Lux made it look like they were well worn professionals, flawlessly hammering out their songs to an eager audience. It didn’t matter if you hadn’t heard any of their material (a statement which unfortunately applies to everyone, as they haven’t put anything up on the Internet just yet). The more they worked their way through their set, the more their confidence and intrigue picked up, a rolling stone of awesome in motion. Whatever they’re doing next, make sure you watch out for it.
Old mates Hockey Dad hit the stage next, and I don’t mean that in the sense that they graced it, or some other bullshit cliche. They absolutely pounded the shit out of it, owning it like Joe Hockey owns the persona of Douchebag of the Year. They tore through the songs off their debut EP ‘Dreamin’ with the kind of poise reserved for professionals. Obviously, anyone that knows Hockey Dad knows that the boys are as loose and rowdy as Todd “Take A Photo Of Me Pissing In My Mouth’ Carney.
But for that half hour set, Hockey Dad were on par with The Strokes, providing calculated earworms that warm the soul with the strenth of a thousands shots of bourbon. Their shambolic teenage rockers are probably the best thing to have come from a couple of young’ns since Lil Bow Wow. A shame that they didn’t manage to take out the Triple J Unearthed High competition, but considering that they’re already so on point in a live and recorded format, it’s hard to see Hockey Dad going anywhere but in the Sia/Gotye/5 Seconds of Summer/Savage Garden direction. By that, I mean they’ll hit #1 on Billboard, not that they’ll Frankenstein those other bands into their next single. Although if they do… the idea came from this guy, and my lawyers will be in contact.
To the headliners, and its been more than far too long since we’ve seen Al Grigg and co. destroy our eardrums with some of the funnest music since “Twist & Shout”, or “Fuck Tha Police”. Nothing gets (white) people dancing harder than those two jams. Anyway, they open with their classic “In the Morning”, a lost Bob Dylan A-side if there ever was one, before launching into their new track “You Am I”. Immediately, one thing becomes clear, as clear as the fact that Abbott is the Anti-Christ: Palms have only gained in their abilities to turn songs about nothing into something. With a chorus that goes “Just talking shit, and listening to You Am I”, the songs speaks volumes. Actually, fuck that, it doesn’t speak volumes, it damn screams them from the mountaintop. Hey Everybody! Palms are back! And they rule!
From here, it’s a classic hit-fest, from “The Summer Is Done With Us”, “In My Heart” and the as-yet-unreleased “Rainbow Road”, which boasts the best chorus, seriously you guys, like, ever. These are al-trock bangaz, (c’mon, let’s make that phrase a thing #trending) rock n roll good times to the core. Also, its became sorely apparent that Dion ‘Danger’ Ford is the most underrated guitarist in Australia. The man shreds like his guitar is a nice brie, and his fingers are slicers, and there’s a Nazi Chef yelling into his earpiece that there needs to be more cheese! More cheese, Dion! More cheese! And so, his fingers whir around that fretboard, smashing each note with furious anger and making all 80’s bands hang their heads in shame.
Closing the show, they pulled out the big guns of “Love” and “This Last Year”. Stage diving and crowd surfing instantly occurred, and because of the ill-placed stage height, my already damaged knees began to cry out in shame (insert crude blow job joke here). These final songs had more power and velocity than Megatron on a coke binge, and tore the fucking roof of Newtown Social Club. There was such intensity, you’d swear that you were in the Breaking Bad finale, only minus the meth and baldness.
After the power-outage inducers that closed their show, there was a genuine, unplanned encore, both the best and rarest type of encore, a logic that doesn’t stretch to teenage pregnancies. And trust me, I looked at that set-list, they didn’t plan on having an encore . In that sunny happy comedown of having seen Palms play one of the best sets I’ve seen, supported by two bands who will surely dominate the next twelve months, a warm, wholesome feeling emerges in the pit of my stomach, and for once, I didn’t need to shit. Palms are back baby, and they sound fucking sick!