REVIEW gig Palm Reader Supporting Black Peaks at The Borderline, Soho

Palm Reader - Fabulously Entertaining Hardcore

If I was picking a gig to watch, I'm not sure that hardcore punk would be top of my list. So it was a bit of a new experience watching hardcore band Palm Reader, supporting Black Peaks at The Borderline in Soho. The five piece have been around for a few years now, with two acclaimed albums, 'Bad Weather' and 'Beside The Ones We Love' and a ferocious live reputation. This is really well deserved if this evening was anything to go by. There is something utterly unnerving but also completely fascinating about watching this band work.

The band's focal point is wiry, frenzied lead vocalist Josh McKeown, who snarls and screams the lyrics in terrifying fashion, and then in the next breath dedicates a song to his 98 year old Grandfather. Guitarist Andy Gillan, wild haired and wild eyed headbangs violently and growls along in vocal support of McKeown.

His guitar counterpart Sam Rondeau-Smith is a hair trigger of energy, mostly in the background wrestling with feedback, but occasionally bursting into life and careering across the stage. Bass player Josh Redrup sneers and postures magnificently. Muscular drummer Dan Olds looks on the verge of needing CPR in between the tracks, then lurches back into action as the next song kicks off.

I am not an expert on this band's songs or on their musical style, but they are brash, aggressive, strangely engaging and fabulously entertaining. Palm Reader are a band who demonstrate that despite all the changes in the world, music remains a perfect medium with which passionate young people can express themselves. And that's got to be a bloody good thing.

Photograph courtesy of Denise Soos

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