It’s been a long time since I’ve watched an art-rock band perform. It’s the kind of show where everyone is dressed in black and chain smoking and none of the girls or guys are wearing any makeup. I usually only trek down to Kilby Court in Salt Lake City these days to watch groups of friends play songs that I’ve heard so many times I hum them in my sleep, but I knew I had to make the trek for Philadelphia-based band Palm when they paid a visit.
Local band Uvluv opened the show, and they were a perfect fit in the lineup. I felt some Rainbow Kitten Surprise vibes at times in the vocals. The band featured an extremely animated keyboard player that made the set entertaining and the setlist engaging. The majority of their set consisted of new tracks that they will begin recording soon, which is exciting because the band is tapping into some really good things.
The supporting band, The Spirit of the Beehive, was welcomed with open arms to the Beehive State. The last song of their set, “Natural Devotion,” really stole the show for me. I listened to the track’s growling vocals and anthemic guitar riffs the entire drive home.
Finally, my favorite college radio discovery band of 2017 graced Kilby Court with its unexpected melodies. And how does one dance to a Palm song? Do you sway? Do you nod your head? Do you tap your feet? There’s no downbeat to sway or nod or tap to and every song features several abrupt time signature changes. Being an audience member at a Palm concert feels like playing a game of kissing tag. Just when you think you’ve grabbed a hold of the beat, it zigzags away. It was the best most audience members could do to just bounce up and down quickly.
The impossible and unclassical bridling of instruments is what makes Palm’s music so refreshing. I believe the male vocalist may have been processing his guitar through a mini keyboard. A simple bassline was often all that was consistent, and the rest was a big, wonderful jam. It was as if the songs were their own living, breathing beast, and the musicians of Palm were its ringmasters. Warm, milky female and male vocals brought a sense of groundedness to it all.
A condensed explanation of Palm: really innovative as far as tone is concerned, and really insane as far as everything else. When closing my eyes during their set, I was transported into a video game. Or maybe it was an amusement park on Mars. Or maybe I was being tossed around in a warm underwater current, I’m still not sure.