Live Review: Palm Reader - Boston Music Rooms, London 13/12/2018
In 2018, British hardcore band Palm Reader released their third studio album titled ‘Braille’. After receiving a good reception on it’s release, Palm Reader decided to wrap up a great year for them by playing the entire album in full at the intimate Boston Music Room in London. Alongside them came supports from Loathe, I, The Mapmaker and Sharkteeth Grinder; all incredible bands within the hardcore/punk scene right now, which made for a high energy night.
Kicking off the show came the Northamptonshire boys in Sharkteeth Grinder. Labelling themselves as math/hardcore, they put on a show you absolutely won’t forget, whether you like the genre or not. Lead singer Bobbo Haldane tears up the stage right from the start, and once he’s finishing tearing up the stage, he jumps off and into the crowd where he spends most of the set. For the first band to create such an intimate and energetic set from the get go deserves so much praise. It’s rare to see the first band of the night create such an atmosphere and it certainly gave everyone a solid feel for what to expect from the rest of the night. Haldane threw himself on the floor, up onto the bar, back down again, and on some occasions it was hard to keep up with his whereabouts. This made for an exciting show and had everyone watching, unable to take their eyes off the band. We see big things happening for the band next year if they keep up the hard work and continue touring with such an exciting stage presence.
Shortly after, melodic hardcore band ‘I, The Mapmaker’ came onto the stage and didn’t let the energy die down one bit. As soon as they hit the stage they delivered not only raw energy, but also raw emotion. Lead vocalist Ashley Emery pours his heart out on stage, whilst the rest of the band dance around the stage giving an equally passionate performance. Ash also proceeds to jump off stage into the crowd, continuing on with the super intimate atmosphere previously created. The crowd gathered round and huddled in as he made use of the floor space before getting back on stage to bring the attention back to the rest of his band members. What was extra special about the set were the small speeches in-between songs which just added to the emotion involved. It didn’t seem as though there was a single person in the room at this point that wasn’t paying attention, and the entire room seemed in awe. If you’ve not checked out I, The Mapmaker yet, we highly recommend their EP released earlier this year titled ‘Searching’.
As Loathe came on stage, the room packed closer to the stage with excitement. The Liverpool based metal band have found a lot of popularity this past year, shortly after the release of their split-EP with Holding Absence, titled ‘This Is As One’. Only a couple weeks before, the band were found supporting Architects in Brighton for a one-off warm up show, which shows just how well the band have been doing in recent months. The band bring so much to the stage creating an intense performance with high kicks all over the stage and off the stage. The crowd previously watched bands in awe at their new discoveries, but this time they were singing along and moshing around the front of the stage. As Kadeem France got off stage, he made the effort to involve people in the music as he wrapped his arm around a member of the audience and sang the words with him. Part way through the set, we saw guest vocals from ex-LIFETIGHT vocalist Thomas Smith who proved he isn’t going anywhere just yet, and has plenty more to bring in future with solid vocals. Overall, Loathe are everything you’d expect of them and more; with unexpected fun dance moves on stage that mix things up a little bit too.
By the time Palm Reader got on stage, the crowd were warmed up perfectly after three high-energy sets already under their belts. As soon as they began to play, the stage was lit with nothing but strobe lights which complimented the music and atmosphere quite well. It added a touch of unease and excitement as you’d see band members flicker around the stage. Starting off with ‘Swarm’ was an excellent choice from the band too, as this not only seems to be a fan favourite from the album, but is also filled with impactful instrumentals and intense vocals. Whilst they were the only band of the night to stick to the stage, they made sure their time on stage was one to remember and delivered a solid set that had the crowd going crazy. The crowd itself filled around half the room; which whilst this meant it wasn’t sold out, it actually made for a perfectly intimate show. Everyone in the room had so much passion for the bands on stage and no one ever looked bored. Every single person seemed to join in and watch intently in their own ways, and everyone had room to move around without getting in each others way too much. Hardcore shows can often be off-putting for many people with many people crowd-killing and moshing too hard, but tonight showed that gigs don’t always end up that way and crowds can be respectful of each other.
In summary, the night was not one to miss and personally, was one of my favourite shows of the year due to the amount of passion and energy each and every band had. Each band had their own very special and unique presence and they all kept everything extremely lively. Not a single dull moment was had, and even the wait in between sets felt like no time at all by the end of it, as you’d actually need the time between sets just to settle yourself again.
Words and Photography by Hayley Fearnley