Palm Reader / Employed To Serve / Stallone [Live Review – The Star, Guildford, 4/5/2015]
“Use yourselves while we abuse ourselves.”
Although that command was given by Palm Reader vocalist Josh Mckeown two and a half hours into this show, the assembled hardcore-loving masses were on it from the moment Stallone kicked off the first fist-flailing pit of the night. Stallone describe their style as “death punk” – and that tag fits. Thrashy riffs, loose but nailed down drumming, and a vocalist marching in front of the front row like a drill instructor with a microphone – job done.
TMMP readers will already be aware how fucking incredible Employed To Serve’s new album Greyer Than You Remember is. This set proved ETS’s ability to match their on-record intensity in a live environment, with choice album cuts like Live Without, Watching Films To Forget I Exist, and Beg For Rain cutting through the air while vocalist Justine Jones headed for the back row, sharing her duties with willing and able audience members. These guys are clearly well-respected, and it’s piss easy to see why.
As for Palm Reader, well…fuck. Few bands would have the stones to take on five shows in one day (what amounted in this case to a 12-hour tour), or possess the stamina required to make it to the end and still be able to function. On paper, this was nothing less than suicidal – but in the event, the only casualty was a single ill-fated guitar.
To be fair, you can bet that Palm Reader are suffering the after-effects today – but for the fans who packed the Star like a sardine can, it was obviously worth it. A bunch of songs from new LP Beside The Ones We Love (including Stacks, Sing Out Survivor, and I Watch The Fire Chase My Tongue) were belted out with the kind of energy some musicians struggle to summon when playing just one set of an evening – and it was goddamn epic.
There’s pushing your limits – and then there’s pushing your limits. Jesus wept.
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