You know you’re onto a winner of a gig when you spend as much time recognising bands you love in the audience as much as you see them on the stage. Much like at 2015’s seminal Mates mini-fest – also put on by tonight’s headliners, Palms – the crowd is as musical as the acts they’ve come to see. Whatever the hell it is about Palms, be it the songs or the people or whatever, this couldn’t be more of a hometown celebration of a real bands’ band if it tried, a sense of belonging and mateship thrumming through the crowd.
I’m getting more and more attached to Jody as time goes on and it’s not just because of the Replacements shirts the singer likes to wear. That Westerberg thing lurks throughout the set, sure, but their guitarist (who also leads Matrick Jones) also jumps in to do vocal duties, leaving you with a set that alternates between clanging great peals of guitar – “Never Change” is triumphant – and completely oddball fairground wonkery, as in bonkers set-closer “Hanauma Bay”. There’s a lot going on in here and it’s both lose-your-mind and flip-your-wig as well as cerebral and a bit wild-eyed. They’re about to head off and record something, and I’m looking forward to that even more after this set.
See a full photo set of Jody here
It’s been about a year since I last saw Babaganouj, and seeing them again highlights just how much I’ve been getting withdrawal. Their blissful pop monster of a songwriting game just doesn’t get old, hooks the size of a fucking big brick, so much fun it spills over the top of the glass and onto the floor. Despite being a toddler now, “Bluff” remains an all-time Australian musical highlight, and its brand-new sister “Do Rite With Me Tonite” is just titanically brilliant. Final tune “Hit Song” may also be the forever-perfect way to close off a set. And on top of that, you get singer-guitarist Charles’ amazingly pained face, an expression like he’s being stabbed in a kidney, which is all the more ironic given the sheer volume and mass of the joy that this band produces. He clearly suffers for our enjoyment, and we should all be grateful. They’re back in Sydney at Waywards on 22nd April, which will be stupidly messy. See you there.
See a full photo set of Babaganouj here
It was the beginning of 2015 the last time I saw Palms, and they’ve spent their time since then wisely. This is the home-turf leg of their Crazy Rack tour and it gets predictably bonkers within the first song, that mix of euphoric air-pumpers and rowdy mischief filling the thick air. The older songs are greeted with mayhem and stage-diving (seriously, those signs warning the crowd off doing exactly that must be pinned up with pure irony on nights like this), and the new ones scarcely less so – no-one here’s a critic, everyone’s here to lose it. The whole set buzzes with an electric crackle, and even the quiet moments are horns-in-the-air stuff. It’s head-pounding and heart-thumping and wonderful, and it’s served with a perpetual smile. One of Sydney’s true homegrown gems.
See a full photo set of Palms here