Palace featured in Wind Up Magazine (2015)
Love can be cruel and complicated, as evidenced throughout Palace’s debut album – So Long Forever. Recorded in an art warehouse in Tottenham, the album captures the heartache of front man Leo Wyndham’s parent’s divorce, bereavement and the pain of a relationship in pieces. Described by some as ‘sonic Valium‘, layered guitars, cinematic soundscapes and haunting lyrics combine to strike a chord within listeners across the globe. Clash Magazine gave So Long Forever a review of 6/10, a respectable score for a band discovering their sound on their debut album.
Their debut EP ‘Lost in the Night’ in 2014 flaunted their trademark laid-back sound, ethereal with a touch of blues. Leo Wyndham, frontman, guitarist and lead vocals joins Rupert Turner on guitar, Will Dorey on bass and Matt Hodges on drums.
“Our album is a great summary of where Palace are as a band. It’s a culmination of very early songs and new ones. We wanted an album that takes you on a journey through different emotions and ups and downs. It’s our distinctive blues sound mixed with atmosphere and epic reverb. One of the things the album deals with is loss and how we deal with those difficult situations. Whether we fall apart or it makes us stronger.”
My best friend introduced me to the band Palace in the living room of our little student flat. I fell in love instantly. When she won tickets to attend a secret gig in London, with Palace and their record company – Fiction Records, we booked the next coach to London. Once we arrived, we chatted amongst the couple dozen or so other guests and were offered free beers and snacks. We were shown to our seats and the entire night was filmed on Facebook Live. They played a selection of their songs – in acoustic, with a few new songs that were yet to be released. Then the floor was opened for Q&A between Palace and the audience. Following the gig, we were given signed copies of their album poster and chatted with the band, before heading out into the night – a little bit starstruck.
We watched as Palace went on to sell out their UK tour, their European tour and several concerts in New York. Their rise to fame took them to festivals across Europe, including Glastonbury, Reading and Leads in the UK.
On the 20th of April 2017, my friends and I went to see Palace perform in Cardiff at a favourite local venue, Clwb Ifor Bach. The club was packed with excited fans. Their supporting acts were Alice Phoebe Lou and Willie J Healey, two young musicians each deserving of success. When Palace took the stage, applause radiated through the small club.
People flooded into every available space, desperate not to miss anything. Despite the album’s melancholic nature, this concert brought the songs alive and the room brimmed with exhilaration. The tracks were stripped down, the melodic interlays of the guitar blending perfectly with the relaxed drum beat. The concert was incredible, every song better than the last and well worth the tenner I’d spent on the ticket. But the presence of rising talent like Palace in Cardiff represents something much bigger going on in British culture.
Clwb Ifor Bach is situated on Cardiff’s esteemed Womanby Street, the beating heart of grass roots music in Wales and for thousands of bands, the first step to fame. Creaking with the weight of the its past, the closure of key music venues like Dempseys due to noise complaints have caused outrage and the proposal of future developments threaten this loud street’s future.
Cardiff’s music scene is in crisis. The impact of losing treasured venues like these can be felt beyond the city of Cardiff, but across Wales, because without places that give new talent the space to cultivate, the very future of music is endangered.