Fat White Family had their set cut short and Palma Violets played new songs as the NME Awards Tour 2015 with Austin, Texas began in chaotic style at the Leadmill in Sheffield last night (February 19).
Chaos reigned before a single note had been played: Glasgow garage rockers The Amazing Snakeheads pulled out of the whole tour at the last minute, due to drummer Scott Duff leaving the band the night before.
It was up to opening act Slaves to begin the gig the Kent duo last week announced their debut album ‘Are You Satisfied’ and offered early arrivers a fierce sneak preview of the LP, due on June 1.
The pair arrived onstage to a blaring Death Grips track and, within minutes, lager was being thrown around as fans moshed to Laurie Vincent’s ruthless guitar, and singer Isaac Holman’s thuggish street poetry and pulverising drums.
Between songs they quizzed the crowd on their favourite biscuits and by new single ‘Feed The Mantaray’, a shirtless Holman was competing for attention with a dancing roadie in a homemade mantaray costume. The singer spent the final track, ‘Hey’, charging through the crowd before throwing his microphone to the ground and stomping backstage.
With the Amazing Snakeheads absent, it was over to Fat White Family to follow Slaves in similarly anarchic form. Fresh from recording the follow-up 2013 album ‘Champagne Holocaust’ in New York with Sean Lennon, the London six-piece started their set accompanied by a man in military jacket and shades, ranting abstractedly into the mic.
Eventually, frontman Lias Saoudi showed up, slowly shuffling across the front of the stage as the band bleated out ‘Auto Neutron’. Soon he was gyrating, headbanging and howling the refrain at the surging crowd.
Fat White Family already have a relationship with Sheffield, having recently teamed up with South Yorkshire electronic experimentalists The Eccentronic Research Council to form Moonlandingz – a semi-fictional band that will be the subject of the ERC’s next album.
By the time Fat White Family had worked their way through the weirdo grooves of ‘Touch The Leather’ though, their NME Awards Tour set was running over and the sound engineer pulled the plug. “We’ve been cut off,” Saoudi explained as the band tried to play their next song.
Only five minutes late, headliners Palma Violets took to the stage and charged into ‘On The Beach’ from debut album ‘180’. Two years after they played lower down the bill on the NME Awards Tour 2013, warming up the crowd for headliners Django Django. Embracing their new position on the top of the bill, the band watched as fans raced to join the melee on the dancefloor as the chords of breakthrough single ‘Best Of Friends’ rang out.
Like all the bands on the bill, Palma Violets have a new album on the way, and last night’s set featured several new songs to tide fans over until the May release of ‘Danger In The Club’.
‘Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better On The Beach’ appeared early on in the set with all the energy of The Jam’s ‘In The City’, soaked in a sea of swirling keys. The slow, gloomy chords of ‘Matador’ then marked a stark change of pace, before building in speed and intensity, and erupting with a searing lead guitar part from singer Sam Fryer. ‘English Tongue’, meanwhile, brimmed took the band in a blues direction.
The new album’s title track went down best with fans – ‘Danger In The Club’ was only unveiled online 48 hours before the show, but Palma Violets’ fans still chanted along to the chorus.
A surprise guest popped up during Palma Violets’ encore, when honorary fifth member Harry Violent stormed the stage to scream his way through a riotous ‘Chicken Dippers’ before diving into the sweaty crowd.
Palma Violets played:
‘Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better On The Beach’
‘All The Garden Birds’
‘Tom The Drum’
‘Best Of Friends’
‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’
‘Danger In The Club’
‘Last Of The Summer Wine’
‘Johnny Bagga’ Donuts’
The NME Awards Tour with Austin, Texas dates continues with the following shows, starting tonight in Leeds:
Sheffield Leadmill (February 19)
Leeds O2 Academy (20)
Newcastle O2 Academy (21)
Glasgow O2 ABC (22)
Nottingham Rock City (24)
Manchester Ritz (26)
Oxford O2 Academy (27)
Birmingham Institute (28)
Bristol O2 Academy (March 2)
Portsmouth Pyramids (3)
London Forum (4)
Palma Violets are cover stars of the new issue of NME, which is on newsstands now and available digitally.