"You're the best band in the whole of South By," an over excited reveller screams at the top of their lungs as Palma Violets play one of their many packed out gigs at SXSW festival in Texas. When bands generate this much hype so early on in their career it can be a massive pressure. Almost over night they are expected to step up, not only by the fans that buy their music but also the labels that are behind them. Wide awake watching the sun come up at a secret gig at the University of Texas, 'Chilli' (AKA Alexander Jesson) and Sam Fryer dance around the left over red cups that litter the floor. Phil Collins and Simon and Garfunkel ring out across the rickety stereo as cries to open the beer keg that has just arrived ensue. Palma Violets are doing things differently and taking rock and roll back to where it used to be. Back when bands were bands, unpolished, badly behaved and all about making real and gritty music.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the music industries biggest players, the Palma Violets perform from a makeshift stage in the halls of residence. The crowd of around one hundred and fifty ear to the ground muso's knock back one-dollar beer as complete bedlam kicks off. The band has the ability to turn a subdued crowd in a blistering sweat heap of mosh pitting, crowd surfing maniacs. At recent gigs en mass stripping within the crowd has even left the band feeling bemused by their power. As with every new band the usual cliché, "They sound like", "Influences from" and "Inspired by" journalistic lines are thrown around. Palma Violets have been compared to every single groundbreaking band that has gone before them. With two lead singers stood side by side, the resemblance to Doherty and Barat from bygone Libertines days is all too easy to dub. "It's just a bit annoying. Our music doesn't sound like them; we're on Rough Trade but we're our own entity. We have similar ethos's, we play rock and roll but our music sounds different." Explains front man and bassist Chilli. "We played a gig at The 100 club and these two fellas came down and said, "Fucking hell, this is the same feeling that I got at The Libertines." The key word in that is feeling."
Appearing on the front cover of NME, getting support from Radio 1 and Q Magazine as well as hard nosed critics from across the world of music, Palma Violets are what the industry has been craving for so long. Their album '180' and track 'Best Friends' pushing them to the forefront of the new band revolution that had previously been left back in the late nineties. Giving up their jobs as a Gardener and Window Cleaner for life on the road, Sam, Chilli and the rest of the band are now traveling the world. Smashing a packed out American Tour and hectic summer festival schedule it seems they are riding the wave of opportunity.
With life on the road striking a debate as to who prefers to be the big spoon and who is more suited to being a small spoon when sleeping on the tour bus, Palma Violets exhume lad-fueled banter. Sat by a river in the heart of Austin under the blistering Texan sunshine all eyes turn to a woman who has been parading past them with her top off and plasters stuck across both of her nipples. With the guys intently focused on the interview instead of on her chest, she decides to tear them off and walk past one last time in an attempt to get their attention. "If only we were filming this" Sam pipes up. "That's really put me off, I really like nipples." Laughs Chilli. "Nipples are what I base all my songs on. I like natural things." As the band roll around in uncontrollable laughter he attempts to defend himself "I'm just being honest. I prefer natural girls." As the banter continues, Sam declares he has a soft spot for Natalie Portman and Chilli's sister and the rest of the band suggest that Chilli should be matched with Jane Fonda because of his affection towards older women. It's official, bands are back and it seems that Palma Violets are leading the way.
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