Live Review: Palma Violets, Public Access T.V.; The Big 50 Concert is a week away; Palehound tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:19 pm May 27, 2015
Palma Violets at The Waiting Room, May 26, 2015.

Palma Violets at The Waiting Room, May 26, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

Tuesday night concerts are a crap shoot no matter who’s playing, especially after a “holiday.” There’s a good chance no one will show up to see a band that might draw a large crowd any other night of the week or weekend. Who knows how may people would have come out to see U.K. band Palma Violets had they played on Friday or Saturday night rather than last night at The Waiting Room? But in reality, the day of the week may not have mattered much despite the fact that Palma Violets are kind of a thing these days, recording on Rough Trade and garnering a rep as a hard-charging party band in the tradition of classic acts like The Clash or even The Doors, thanks to their ballroom anthems that sound like they’d be right at home belted out on a ship’s galley.

So it was no big surprise to see fewer than 50 people in the club when I arrived at about a quarter past nine last night, just in time to see opening band Public Access T.V. do their set to a mostly empty floor. The youthful NYC 4-piece (these guys looked young) ripped right into a set that recalled ’70s-era pop rock by way of The Strokes or, more accurately, Foxygen. Every song had a clever riff and a bouncing rhythm, though I couldn’t tell you what any of the songs were about as lead singer John Eatherly was more intent on getting the dozen or so youngsters in front of the stage hopping. The only line that came through the buzz was “I don’t want to live in California,” and who can blame them?

Before Palma Violets came out, one of the band members (the drummer?) walked to the edge of the stage and recited T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in its entirety, line by line, read from the screen of his white iPhone — a touching, if not melodramatic, way to start a rock show.

On charged the four-piece playing mostly songs off their new Rough Trade album Danger in the Club to a club crowd now ballooned to just slightly more than 50. But what a 50 it was. The audience jumped in rhythm to nearly every song, and the Violets seemed genuinely grateful for the dancing.

Guitarist/vocalist Samuel Thomas Fryer has a rough British voice tailor-made for barking out the lyrics to these pounding garage-rock songs which are the perfect soundtrack to your next drunken soccer party. Bassist/vocalist Alexander “Chilli” Jesson sojourned off stage into the crowd a number of times, trying to make a personal connection to the bouncing fans, and sometimes succeeding. Adding color was a fifth band member (of sorts) — a giant skulking roadie/stage hand who paced onto the stage to straighten microphone stands or adjust a cymbal, always quick to grab the chord when Jesson traipsed into the crowd, at one time grabbing a tambourine, another time joining in on harmonica only to leave the stage right after his part was over.

Like any great band, Palma Violets gave more than they got from such a small crowd, performing (as the ol’ cliche goes) as if they were playing in front of an SRO arena rather than a clutch of fans and empty tables. It’s not the size of the crowd that matters as much as how it reacts, and the band couldn’t ask for anything more, pulling off a rather fantastic set that closed with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Death Is Not the End” (made just as famous by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) before coming back to belt out three more.

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The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The big 50 Birthday show at Reverb Lounge is exactly one week away, Wednesday June 3. If you haven’t already now is the time to start making plans — call your sitter, gdt time off from work the next day. Check out this Facebook Event / Calendar listing and RSVP…

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Massachusetts band Palehound (Exploding In Sound Records) with Lineman’s Rodeo, Big Slur  and Mark Johnson. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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