The Doors meet punk rock anarchy: Palma Violets and their ‘sh*t’ bassist storm Manchester’s Ritz

By Tom Pilcher

“He’s a bit shit really, he’s more of a manager,” Palma Violets frontman Sam Fryer tells MM, tongue firmly in cheek, after his band rocked Manchester’s The Ritz to its core on Tuesday night.

Fryer was talking about bassist Alexander ‘Chilli’ Jesson, just one of several characters in the band who make the award-winning Palma Violets popular with music fans happy to have their heads bruised at gigs.

Listen to the tunes and the Palma Violets produce wave after wave of up-tempo, cheerful melodies.

Look around you as they play and youngsters hurl themselves against one another as liquids of various descriptions, flung from every corner of the venue, soak them to the bone.

No wonder older folk stood near the back, coats on throughout the 90-minute rollercoaster ride despite the heat.

The part Doors, part punk rock Palma Violets are refreshing. They met when Fryer walked around Reading festival with his guitar playing Velvet Underground material and bumped into ‘Chilli’, at the time an aspiring music manager intent on that route rather than becoming a bass player.

“He’s getting better,” a smiling Fryer says while clutching a pint on the stairs of Manchester’s bohemian bar The Temple, converted from a public toilet.

The man with a superb voice and on-stage presence, in classic rock-star fashion, turns a little shy and hugely modest away from his natural habitat but he’s still happy to mingle with everyday folk rather than remain in his bubble of fame.

Best of friends is one of Palma Violets’ most well-known songs, one they rolled out effortlessly again this week. Frankly their entire set fits right in with anyone looking for a good night.

Plus any band that goes out for a drink on the street post-gig, especially one that clinched the NME’s best new band award earlier this year, deserves recognition. They will make more friends along the way, in their own unique style mind you.

“This is one of the best nights of the tour,” screamed ‘Chilli’ early on. It was hard to disagree, although Fryer said he was prouder of the Glasgow gig which ended in a ban from the Scottish city.

The Londoners have well and truly left their imprint on the country and they travel to Florida next February. Prohibition in a US state will be harder to achieve but they’re a band riding high on confidence.

Image courtesy of Palma Violets via YouTube, with thanks.

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