We first saw Palmerslum at the 2017 Nevermind the Warp’d Festival in Melbourne. Guitarist/vocalist Chris broke a string mid-set and changed it with a speed that would’ve given a cheetah pause for thought. The band blew us all away. (you can see our previous review here).
Tour Prep + Band Injuries 1 & 2
An invitation to play Sydney despatched. A weekend in August set. Northern Beaches, Inner West, and Sydney City were the areas to be covered. Venues booked, dates confirmed. In comes a message from vocalist Chris saying he’d lost his rhythm section but was still keen to play. Again with (what can only be described as a now typical MO) lightning speed, Palmerslum mark II (for us at least) was born bringing with it Nic (bassist) and Bbek (drums).
Having already previously determined that BUNT were to play alongside at the Newtown gig, news came in that a band member had broken a bone, thus necessitating a pull from a much anticipated gig (as BUNT had also played on the 2017 Melbourne bill and were keen to share some Sydney stage with these boys), we set out about finding a replacement band: HOWL. Easy plus having a few weeks on our side kinda helped AND it tied in nicely for their EP launch (which is a whole other story in itself).
The tour weekend was now rapidly approaching. Preparations for the social media onslaught were being finalised when a “you got mail” hit us. One of our boys in The Leftards had (what they dub) a “senior’s moment” causing injury and added on to that, them not being able to play at a nirvana of gig destination, which we think may have caused more angst emotionally than (thankfully) the physical injury. Urgency kicked in but having a safety net of at least 3 days, it took just 24 hours of consistent hustle and hitting bands we knew and Buck Shot: Band of Hooligans became our saviours.
Gig 1 – Band Injury No 3
It’s here: Friday. Day 1 of the Palmerslum onslaught and these dudes are winding their way to Dee Why.
Midday: out of the blue a barrage of emails, messages (thank you social media) and the like were being flung at us. A member of the local punks Pepperhead, who were up, ready and completely amped to playing alongside the Slums, had broken several bones in motor accident (and for the nay sayers: he was side swiped by a car who just thought it was necessary to cut across the traffic causing a pretty nasty bust-up).
Do we tell them, do we not. Adrenaline skyrocketed. Numerous bands were reached out to, some returned “too short notice” (something that hadn’t exactly escaped our attention) or “would love to but one of our crew is interstate”. The challenge to find a band with little more than 8 hours til kick off was on. Through the haze of it all, Atomic Sphincter saved the day including the use of their kit for the night.
Palmerslum’s debut at the Time and Tide was a nice intro to their first Sydney gig. The booker doubled up as soundy and from first check to final distorted feedback not only was he but all punters were electrified by this incredible gig. Heads nodding, fist pumping in true punk style: Palmerslum hit that stage with force, agility, and flair. Flanked by 4 Barrel Hemi and Atomic Sphincter, Palmerslum left an indelible impression. These people would remember their name.
4 Barrel Hemi, opened the show playing the best set of old school punk we had ever seen them play: putting it simply they were on fire with Jake’s lead work being exceptionally tasty. The evening’s saviours, Atomic Sphincter, hit us with a set of beachside influenced hard core, reminiscent of the Circle Jerks, Hellmenn, and Mass Appeal.
Gig 2 – Band Injury No 4
Half ten in the morning, the telephone rings.
“Mate, I have bad news.”
“Don’t tell me someone’s broken a bone.”
“You already know?”
Black Knuckles are out. This actually meant not just for one , but two gigs (as they were playing Sunday as well). We’re back on the hustle. Ninety six hours (if you start from first injury notification): some of us tracking down bands we had seen but not necessarily had to deal with bookings wise in years. The Townie thought it should go into the PR. ‘Who will survive?’.
Duly informing our boys, who actually were dumfounded but pulled themselves together and shot us some of their own contacts for Sunday replacements, the phones literally did not stop for what seemed like hours. It was The Dirty Winter who stepped in and literally became everyone’s instant heroes for Gig 2.
We meet up with Palmerslum boys in Newtown and hung out at some pretty cool digs. After quaffing a few beers and the inevitable chichat about music, we did quick pop into the Moshpit not just to say hello to a few mates, but to also check out the space and of course and show off our Sydney scene to our Melbourne friends. Time being against us, a hasty return to The Townie for lug in, followed by “dinner” (thank you to a massive bag of popcorn) and Chris changing in to his beloved lion leggings minus the cucumber, it was time.
First up rock-edged local goths Howl, who pounded through their set with hardly a break for air. Palmerslum followed breaking out another triumphant set with thunderous applause, everybody up and moshing and we noticed even bar staff were infected with the energy these boys produced. Another can-you-play-today band, The Dirty Winter performed a blistering set with their frenetic singer leaping into the audience as their drummer laid down landslide of beat as they rained on the crowd.
Come 2 am it was done. We duly meandered our way home leaving the boys to do what touring boys do, and what happens in Newtown stays in Newtown.
Gig 3 – No band injury however 2 band replacements
Sunday evening rolled around with no calls, touch wood. We head into town for the last gig at Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice. Palmerslum (professionals as they are) were already there chomping at the bit to play.
With one band not arriving in time, and after hasty discussions a quick play order alteration determined Earprojector opened. They kicked off their set with an interesting electronica infused rock as the room filled out.
Jugular Cuts arrive and jump straight on stage to set up. The bass and drum duo tore into their set with a nicely distorted Rickenbacker bass gliding over the fat beats.
Palmerslum swapped with Buck Shot and they played their third set in as many days as if it was the first. These guys are a force to be reckoned with and we’ll see more of them in future. They have the drive and determination and want to go as far as they can.
Buckshot gave us a set as when we first saw them. Tight, together, and spot on the money. Blending elements of Social Distortion with Black Flag and Mudhoney, the self-proclaimed band of hooligans gave a hundred and ten percent tearing up the stage.
Time to head home. The weekend behind us, still with goose bumps over what we had witnessed and review footage shot at each venue. To see them is to behold them. To behold them is to become enslaved to what can only be one of the most exciting bands to emerge from Melbourne and we are stoked that plans are already underway for 2019 (minus the injuries!).
Each gig brought a sense of personal time as friends and family came from all over to see their boys play along with punters that attended not one but at least two of the three gigs.
We also send special thanks to Pepperhead, Atomic Sphincter, 4 Barrel Hemi, Bunt, Howl, Black Knuckles, The Dirty Winter, The Leftards, Earprojector, Buckshot, and Jugular Cuts for the efforts they put in. A big, big thank you to all of you.