If Glastonbury 2013 ends up known for anything, it will be ‘the year of the stagedive’. Everyone was at it, from Amanda Palmer’s stunning interpretation, where her cape billowed out across the crowd, to Yannis from Foals’ rather pathetic attempt. In fact, there was so much crowd-surfing that I almost expected Jagger to give it a go before I realised that he is of an age where any sustained contact with human hands would lead to him crumbling to dust like a medieval manuscript. Anyway, amongst all of these, the most remarkable was probably that of South London four-piece Palma Violets, where their keyboardist and lead singer sprang into the crowd, microphone stands in hand as a round up to one of the finest, but also most terrifying, gigs of my life.
Their intent was made clear from the start, with the band coming on to the first ever punk single, The Damned’s ‘New Rose’. From then on, it was 1976-style carnage all the way through – spitting, stage climbing, attempted stage invasions, obscure punk covers (‘Invasion of the Tribbles’ by the Hot Nasties) and the sort of angular riffing that would give Strummer a semi. Whereas this could come across as pastiche (as it does with fellow Glastonbury performers The Strypes), they somehow held it all together through a combination of stage presence and killer songs. Bassist Chilli Jesson comes across as a mixture between Johnny Rotten and a Kray brother (seriously, he has the eyes of a killer), and as for those songs… Well, they managed to turn an ode to the night bus into a singalong sensation with ’14’, and as for ‘Best of Friends’… Well, let’s just say it was as if Blink-182 had never happened.
In short, it was perhaps the only gig I’ve been to where I’ve actually feared for my life, something you definitely can’t say about Rita Ora.
Check out more of Sam’s work on his blog, ARTSCLASH.