Ripping opening the show with their signature starter, “Rattlesnake Highway,” Palma Violets made it known this is not a night off.
Despite my best efforts to promote what would be a cracker of a show, the crowd was a bit sparse at The Loving Touch. The crushing realization that you live in an area that just doesn’t support the music you love is a tough one to swallow. Detroit seems like a perfect city for a group like Palma – a hard working, hard living, punk bunch. But, Detroit seems to have shifted to support either the long emerging EDM scene or the down home comfort of country music, bands like Palma Violets are left without much of a following in Detroit. And that’s a shame, because they could use a ruckus crowd to support their ruckus performance on stage.
Even with a smallish turnout, there was no lack of effort from the boys. Every bit as much energy as you always get from their show. Lead guitar Samuel Fryer sported the same pastor hat from the “English Tongue” music video and possibly stolen from Ishmael on the set of Kingpin. Alexander “Chilli” Jesson was rocking the bass all night with his trademark style of whipping his hair around like a madman. Jesson’s head banging became so violent, I started to get a headache just watching him. Either that, or the industrial quantities of gin I had consumed.
Speaking of gin, I was able to spot Chilli before the show while eating a bit of lunch at the neighboring WAB restaurant. I would have never noticed him if not for his compadre informing me, “You’re disgusting!” because of my support of Liverpool Football Club. Chilli informed me his friend was a Manchester United supporter (How dare he?!) and it was all in good fun. I insisted on buying Jesson a drink before the show and chatted with him a bit.
It would’ve been understandable if this show were one of their less than memorable gigs. Playing in front of a small crowd, heading to Toronto the next night, and all of this in a city they have never visited, a mailed in effort would make sense. But they didn’t, they never would. These guys have the rock star spirit of past musicians, and the understanding of a savvy rock group of today. This show may have been small, but what about next time? They want to make fans, and doing what they have done for their whole careers would do exactly that. No matter who is watching or where they are, you are getting everything they have, and you will not forget them.
The set list was hard for me to find afterward so this is mostly by memory, which is less than reliable. All the classics were there.
Tom the Drum
Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better
We Found Love
Best of Friends
Step Up for the Cool Cats
Johnny Bagga’ Donuts
Danger In The Club