Seeing Palaye Royale live has been top of my to-do list for the past twelve months so when they announced they would be playing at Manchester Academy as part of their first UK headline tour nothing was going to stand in my way.
I bought VIP tickets, not something I have ever done before and I had no idea what to expect. I got to the Academy just before 6pm and joined the VIP line and for some reason I was feeling super anxious. I’ve never been to a meet and greet before and I felt a little out of place surrounded by young teenagers and their parents, although it was pretty awesome that so many parents were willing to come to the show with their kids. Finally, the queue started to move forward and we got closer and closer to the band and the tears and giggles started spilling out of those in front of me. I watched as fans presented the band with gifts, roses, and homemade presents and they genuinely seemed grateful for everything. When it was my turn I hugged each of the band members in turn and posed for a photo, I really wanted to let Remington know that I was the girl who interviewed him a couple of months back and got so nervous that I forgot what I was saying, but as usual I was totally starstruck and didn’t say a word. #nerd
Once the band had greeted and hugged every VIP they sat down to answer some questions and play an acoustic song. It was really sweet and intimate, not many bands give this much time to their fans, and it’s not just the VIPs, they made sure to meet every single fan after the show, no matter how long it took. The majority of the Q&A session was quite lighthearted and fun but when drummer Emerson Barrett spoke about his battle with depression there were a number of girls in the audience who couldn’t seem to stop giggling and whispering which made things really uncomfortable, I didn’t want to be lumped in with that kind of childishness. The band were as gracious as ever though and answered every fan question before we headed upstairs to the main venue ready for the show.
It’s not often that an opening act really surprises you but The Haunt definitely did. I’d never heard of them before the show but I was honestly amazed by the time they hit their first chorus. The Florida-based band are fronted by nineteen-year-old Maxamillion Haunt and his sister Anastasia Grace, with Nat Smallish on bass and Nick Lewert on drums. Maxamillion stunned the majority of the audience, myself included, when he announced that Anastasia was only fifteen-years-old. Seriously, my mind was blown, her voice is something else and the two complimented each other perfectly on vocals. They are definitely a band I will be watching out for in the future.
The excitement was palpable as we waited for Palaye Royale to take the stage and as the first note was struck the entire venue went off! Now, you may think I’m being biased in this review, already being a fan and all, but I can honestly say that I have never photographed a band as energetic and dynamic as this one. Guitarist Sebastian Danzig and frontman Remington Leith both took it in turns to leap from from stage to the barrier and back again, I quite literally had band members flying over my head. The blinding light and anarchy on stage was every photographers nightmare but it didn’t matter, it was impossible to be upset about it because the atmosphere and the passion sucked you in and swept you away.
They opened with one of my favourites ‘Don’t Feel Quite Right’ and they barrelled through their set at sonic speed, propelled by their own energy and excitement to be playing a venue that they had sold out twice. Emerson’s stylishly feline drumming was the perfect foundation for Sebastian’s intricate guitar work which delivered hook after hook after hook. Remington’s voice was powerfully raw and perfectly raspy and it was clear he was giving everything he had to his performance and he didn’t disappoint. Particular highlights were ‘Dying in a Hot Tub’ which, despite its dark lyrical content seems to have become a fan favourite, and of course their well-loved cover of the My Chemical Romance hit ‘Teenagers’.
The band stopped a couple of times to point out to security that some fans had actually passed out or collapsed and at one point Emerson himself stepped out from behind the drums, climbed off the stage and lifted a young girl over the barrier, this is a band that truly cares about every single fan and if they can manage to hold on to that as they inevitably become huge they will remain a very special group. And if rescuing fans doesn’t show how much they care then surely the fact that they throw apples and oranges and bottles of water into the crowd most certainly does!
Palaye Royale will be supporting Enter Shikari on their UK tour in Jan/Feb 2019.