Saturday at Glen’s Party at The Palace 2017

Ricky Wilson, Kaiser Chiefs

Since it’s inaugural show back in 2014, Party at The Palace has quickly established itself as the premier family friendly outdoor music festival in central Scotland. This year’s festival attracted 18,000 people over two days to watch over 50 artists and bands spread over three stages. Here’s the story of day 1 on the main stage…

This year, the honour of being first up on the main stage fell to folk-rock singer-songwriter Jimmi Nolan. As a last minute addition to the lineup, Nolan didn’t appear on the running order we were given, but thankfully we rocked up to the main stage just in time to catch the last part of his set. From what we saw of his performance two things stood out pretty clearly – not only can this fella can sing brilliantly, he clearly knows a thing or two about writing good songs.  There’s a rootsy vibe to his songs and his voice has a really soulful timbre. Need to listen to more of his work methinks!

The organisers of Party at The Palace have always been extremely supportive of emerging talent. Each year they front-load the running order with artists and bands who are right at the beginning of their quest to establish themselves in the music industry. And every year the organisers seem to come up trumps in securing some of the best emerging talent out there. This year was no exception, with two cracking homegrown bands getting their chance on the big stage.

Tim Wheeler, Ash

Although Moonlight Zoo performed at the TRNSMT festival in Glasgow earlier in the summer, this was the band’s first main stage festival performance. The band earned this opportunity by winning a hard fought battle of the bands competition. In a set that was brim-full of energy, driving guitars and (surprisingly accomplished) harmonised vocals, Jamie Adamson and the guys fairly tore the place up. Highlight was their latest single Breaking Or Broken. If they are coming your way, check them out.

Following Moonlight Zoo onstage was Teen Canteen, an all-girl synth-pop band from Glasgow. They’ve been garnering rave reviews since releasing debut album Say It All With A Kiss last year. There was plenty to love about their performance here too. Their songs are full of catchy melodies, brilliant harmonies and properly meaty baselines. Musically there’s lots going on in their songs, but Carla Easton and her band pull it all together brilliantly.

Say what you like about talent shows like The X Factor, and The Voice etc, etc, but you don’t win these competitions unless you’re a great vocalist. Stevie McCrorie‘s performance here was a case in point. Backed by his own band and performing self-penned material from his latest album Big World, McCrorie was superb. It was all instantly likeable, well written and performed music from a guy who seems to be a genuinely nice bloke. McCrorie’s young daughter was in the audience for the first time at a festival, and as you’d expect she got a big shout out from her dad. Told you this was a family friendly event!

Shingai Shoniwa, The Noisettes

And then it got noisy – The Noisettes saw to that! The PATP main stage has seen a few dynamic performances over the years, but few – if any – could hold a candle to Shingai Shoniwa’s performance here. It really was quite extraordinary. When she wasn’t playing her bass guitar she bombed around the stage, she struck poses and at one point even did a forward roll across the stage – all without her big hat coming off! She totally hooked the crowd with the intensity of her performance. The band’s music was a high energy fusion of everything from African music to jazz and soul, relentlessly driven along by thunderous basslines. Highlight of their set was their hit single Don’t Upset the Rhythm. Brilliant!

As the afternoon turned to evening, we reached the business end of the running order and the big hitters of the day took their turn to storm the stage. The Lightning Seeds and Ash are undoubtably perfect festival bands. Both have hits aplenty in their back catalogues and both have more than enough in their locker to get any festival audience rocking. Strangely though, the Lightning Seeds’ set felt a little flat, and the energy that had been built by The Noisettes’ performance seemed to ebb away somewhat. But in saying that, it was still great to hear the likes of The Life of Riley and Marvellous being performed live.

As the stage was readied for Ash, Gok Wan made a welcome return as a guest DJ and duly dialled the party atmosphere up to 11 with some old school 90’s dance hits. I don’t know about you, but I start to feel a little old when anything from the 90’s is described as being ‘old!’ Good to see him back in Linlithgow though, and he seemed to enjoy himself as much as the audience enjoyed his music selection.

Ricky Wilson

Ash got the live music well and truly back on track as they tore through a really impressive set of songs including the likes of Shining Light, Oh Yeah, Goldfinger and Kung Fu. Frontman Tim Wheeler cranked up the noise a notch or three with a good old fashioned screaming contest between himself and the audience, before the band launched into a barnstorming version of Teenage Kicks. This was more like it! There was some discussion in the pit whether Ash or The Lightning Seeds should’ve been higher up the running order, but based on this showing Ash were by far the better shout. The packed audience was now revved up and raring for the headliners…

However you look at them, the Kaiser Chiefs are a hugely impressive band. The Brit and Ivor Novello award-winning indie rockers have been there, done that and now have the Stevie McCrorie t-shirt. That a band of their calibre were about to close out day 1 of PATP17 is testament to just how far the festival has come in a comparatively short period of time.

As the band took to the stage I have to admit to hoping that their set was biased towards their earlier material. Yes, I know they have many other songs from later albums to perform, but when their first two albums were as good as Employment and Yours Truly, Angry Mob, I know which ones I’d much rather hear.

Ricky Wilson is renowned for his all-action performances, and he was at his very best here. I always find it amazing that frontmen like him can tear around the stage, jump off the drum kit and throw his mic around, yet never miss a beat. Yet that’s exactly what he did here, and the audience loved it. And judging by the thousands of people that punched the air and bounced their way through songs such as Modern Way, Oh My God and I Predict a Riot, I wasn’t alone in looking forward to the old material.

I guess that when a band achieves so much success in the early part of their music career, it could be regarded (rather perversely) as being a bit of a curse – especially when those songs go on to overshadow much of what comes afterwards. But what a beautiful curse to have! The Kaiser Chiefs delivered a barnstormingly good performance befitting the headline slot of any music event. Pure and simple.

So, that was day 1 of PATP17. It was a hugely enjoyable day of live music and everything augured well for the following day. Stay tuned for our day 2 review!

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