Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 27th April

There’s no energy like a band playing a hometown show towards the end of a long tour – especially when that tour is in support of their first full-length album release. It was this special, once-in-a-bandtime moment that we shared with London’s finest directors of musical cinema, Palace.

I was introduced to the group in 2014. The same year, DIY wrote of the London four-piece: “Palace aren’t in any hurry, but the stars are aligning to suggest they should get a bloody move on.” It was a polite way of saying what all their fans were thinking: where’s the album at?

It’s taken a long time to work towards that debut album, So Long Forever. In doing so the band have won over fans across the country, becoming almost as popular among Londoners of a certain age as their homonymous clothing brand. All that work, and all that suspense, seemed to be euphorically released at this show at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

“Good evening Shepherd’s Bush… I’ve been dreaming of saying that!” said frontman Leo Wyndham, letting everyone know exactly what this classic West London venue meant to the group. Given the cinematic depth of Palace’s songs, it seemed only fitting for them to play their London leg show in a former BBC Television Theatre, walls plastered with posters of other local boys-and-girls done good from decades past.

The performance was dominated by Wyndham’s emotive vocals, reminiscent of the Maccabees’ for their ability to supercharge songs with emotional depth and urgency. This was added to by the hugely satisfying guitarwork that gives Palace their alt-blues label. When someone whips out a guitar slide in 2017, you know things are going to get interesting.

Palace are four guys making thoughtful, serious music for people to sit down and listen to properly; to think about, ruminate over and decode; to revel in its vivid lyrical imagery, and wrestle with the relaxed rhythms but intense content. It’ll be exciting to see what’s next.

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