The Long Lost Chronicles of Party at The Palace Day 2
It was all going so well…
A smidgen under a hundred thousand beautiful people tuned into decibelROGUE’s coverage of PATP5 back in August. For a little webzine like ours that’s a tremendous audience given the limited time and resources we have available. But frustratingly it was a job half-done. And that’s because just as I was beginning to write our review of Day 2, fate decided to punch Team decibelROGUE firmly in the solar plexus. My better half and right-hand-woman in all things decibelROGUE had a routine health check at her doctor. A few days later she received a phone call with the results and was told rather bluntly that it was ‘likely’ she had cancer. As you can imagine our lives took on a radically different perspective as we tried to come to terms with what we, and Leisa in particular, were potentially facing. All of a sudden decibelROGUE became an irrelevance. Happily in the months between then and today, following several hospital visits and numerous tests the Doc’s have been able to rule out the big C and we can breathe easy again. And I’m now able to focus some attention back on decibelROGUE.
So, what to do about that partially written review? Well I decided to finish and publish it because quite apart from anything else, I owe it to the good folks behind this brilliant music festival, all the artists who performed and those who went along on the day itself. But it’s also for those of you thinking about buying tickets to next year’s event but are holding off until the lineup is announced. As someone who has covered every PATP to date I can confidently say that buying early bird tickets without knowing the lineup isn’t a gamble, because you can be certain of one thing: The organisers ALWAYS deliver. They ALWAYS have. And here’s our round-up of Day 2 of PATP5 to illustrate the point…
Day two of Party at The Palace began in typical Scottish summer fashion. Yep, it rained! And although it may have led to the arena filling up a little slower than the previous day, a little bit of rain was never gonna spoil the fun of those who turned up early enough to see the opening bands. Especially when there was plenty of another type of falling down water around to help get the party started!
First to take to the main stage was singer songwriter Maria Townsley, who like the Gordon James & The Power the day before had earned the right to perform at the event by battling her way through a hard-fought Battle Of The Bands competition. With songs such as He’s Just Not That Into You and the You Cheated On Me Last Night, her material focussed on the travails of life, love and the opposite sex. Mischievous, cheerful and delivered in a way only a woman can, her performance was a great start to the day.
I’ve been running this site for around three years now, and have been surprised at just how few really good Scotland-based funk bands I’ve come across in that time. Anyhow, Glasgow-based Dopesickfly who were next up onstage are certainly one who caught my attention. The legendary Prince once said, ‘If you can describe it, it ain’t funky’. Far be it for me to disagree with the great man, but Dopesickfly blend together all the soul and r&b influences you’d expect to find in classic funk music, but kick things a notch or two by also bringing a hip hop and pop vibe to the party. Louisiana-born frontman Ant Thomaz and his band had the PATP audience, the photographers, even security grooving in the rain thanks to a properly funktastic performance. New single Can You Feel It is out now and should be checked out immediately!
Party at The Palace can always be relied upon to include a couple of cracking tribute bands every year. Saturday saw The Complete Stone Roses perform a blistering set, and taking to the stage on Sunday was a guy who has probably got the biggest set of cojones in Britain. For it must take testes the size of watermelons to step on any stage and perform as one of the greatest figures in popular music. Let’s face it, Prince was such a ridiculously talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist that it should be impossible to even come close. The Prince Experience, however did a damn fine job. After launching into Let’s Go Crazy, the band took the audience on a blast through the purple one’s greatest hits. Their love of the source material was obvious, and their attention to detail was excellent. Just what the party needed!
The Bluebells made a welcome return to PATP and immediately set about lighting up the arena. Although, that was probably more to do with frontman Ken McCluskey’s spectacular shirt, rather than the sun breaking through the clouds! The Bluebells may have been around the thick-end of forty years, but this performance confirmed once again that their music has remained timeless. The band clearly revelled in the occasion, and feeding off this positivity, the audience danced and sang along throughout. Cath and I’m Falling were obvious highlights of a hugely enjoyable performance, but best of the lot was – obviously – their legendary hit single Young At Heart.
Most years, somewhere in the PATP lineup is an artist outwith the headliners who really jumps out from the crowd – the kind of artist or band whose simple inclusion lifts the whole event to another level. This year that band was Peter Hook & The Light. Peter Hook, as you probably know was bassist for not one, but two genre and era-defining bands in Joy Division and New Order. And for someone like myself who was too young to appreciate Joy Division when they released Unknown Pleasures back in 1979, it was an absolute thrill to hear some of that material performed live.
So after blasting through Joy Division classics like Digital, She’s lost Control and Transmissions, Hook used Ceremony to bridge into the New Order part of his set. And as they progressed through early songs like Temptation into barnstormers such as Blue Monday and True Faith, it was really cool to listen to how the band’s music evolved from post-punk to synth-pop. And let’s not mess around here – they absolutely ROCKED!
There was only one song Hook could perform to round out his set. And for me, it was without a shadow of a doubt the absolute highlight of the entire weekend. Love Will Tear Us Apart was absolutely magnificent! Yes I know there was only one member of Joy Division on stage, but just to hear that song played by one of the guys who was in the band was incredibly special. And most hearteningly of all was watching all the young Joy Division fans in the crowd having a ball. There may be hope after all!
Embrace are a band who I have to admit – their hits aside – kinda passed me by during their heyday. Having now seen them live for the first time I feel pretty guilty about that, because, based on what I saw here, Embrace are absolutely fantastic. And they’re also a band that knows exactly what a festival audience wants to hear. Although they had recently released their seventh studio album, Love Is a Basic Need, the focus of this set was on the big guns from their back catalogue. And how the audience loved it! Frontman Danny McNamara could’ve taken a seat and let the crowd do vocals through songs such as All You Good Good People, Come Back to What You Know, Gravity and Ashes. Things were brought bang up to date when the brilliant Kerri Watt joined the band onstage to perform Never from the new album. But Embrace’s performance here proved once again that well written songs, no matter how long ago they were written, will still sound just as good 20 years down the line.
We were now getting to the sharp end of the entire weekend. And it was Imelda May who was the final artist to perform before the headliners took to the stage. Although best known for her rockabilly revival style of music, May’s latest album saw her move in a more soulful direction. And she’s ditched her peroxide quiff for a dark fringe somewhere along the line too.
May’s performance here was quite simply brilliant. Her vocal performance was, without a shadow of a doubt one of the very best I’ve heard in a live setting. The level of control, personality and power she has is absolutely insane. Whether it be lovelorn ballad Black Tears or the barnstorming rockabilly of Mayhem, I can’t think of many female vocalists I’ve seen who can match her.
I have to say though, that as good as her recent material was, the point in her set when her performance really kicked into top gear was when she grabbed her bodhrán and tore into Johnny’s Got A Boom Boom. If you don’t find yourself dancing and bouncing along to that one, you’d better check you have a pulse!
And the pace didn’t let up as she then threw in the first of a couple of crowd-pleasing covers with Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back in Town, before rounding out her set with the bombastic Game Changer and Teenage Kicks. Absolutely breathless stuff!
Needless to say the PATP audience was well and truly pumped-up for the headliners…
Texas took to the stage amid press reports that Sharleen Spiteri had a serious back injury and would be taking time out from touring soon after this performance to recover. Well, the way she bounded onto and around the stage immediately put paid to any notion that this would be anything other than a full-throttle performance.
After the (misplaced) criticism of Jame’s performance the previous day, nobody in the PATP audience could complain that Texas were skimping on their biggest hits as they began their set with I Don’t Want a Lover, Summer Son and Halo. Clearly relishing the opportunity to play in front of a home audience, Spiteri was on fantastic form as she bantered with the audience between songs. It actually became more like ‘An Audience with…’ style show, such was the level of her interaction with the crowd. And didn’t they just love it!
I’ve said it many times before, and I’m gonna say it again; Party at The Palace is first and foremost a party. And Texas, much like when Nile Rodgers headlined here a couple of years earlier, captured that vibe perfectly. Obviously having a setlist crammed with your greatest hits helps greatly in this respect, but it also helps to have someone as charismatic as Sharleen Spiteri to work the audience so expertly.
My non-music highlight of their set was an extremely drunk fella in a yellow poncho who somehow managed to get himself invited onstage. After security somehow managed to lift this (quite large) chap from the pit area up and onto the stage, he bear-hugged Spiteri and told her she was ‘much nicer than Cher’. Only in Scotland!
Actually, this little episode probably encapsulated everything that was good about PATP5. It was a brilliant, good natured get-together with an absolutely killer soundtrack. Sure, some folk probably kinda slightly over-indulged at the falling down water concessions but hey – the best nights never started with a salad, did they?
So there you have it. PATP5 was without a shadow of a doubt the best, most enjoyable PATP yet, with Texas providing arguably the best headline performance in it’s 5 year history. Yet again the organisers somehow managed to build and improve on the previous year, firmly cementing the event’s reputation as Scotland’s best family friendly music festival.
The lineup for PATP19 will be announced in a few days, but you know what? Early Bird Tier 2 tickets are available right now with adult weekend tickets available for just £90.95. As I said earlier, you can buy these tickets without knowing the lineup confident in the knowledge that the lineup for this year’s festival will be absolutely top-notch. And when you compare the cost of one of those tickets to that of an average gig ticket at somewhere like the Hydro, it represents amazing value. Remember: only use authorised ticket outlets, so follow the link below!
So thanks to all of you who followed our coverage back in the summer. Sorry decibelROGUE has been offline for so long but sometimes real life gets in the way. Normal service is being resumed!
PATP5 Day 1 review here
Tickets for this years festival available here