Photo Credit: Ashley Osborn
As closing time draws near on a dreary Tuesday evening in the middle of Kingston High Street, quaint music store Banquet Records begins to wind down for the day. Until three sharp-dressed strangers stroll in, scoop as many albums as they can carry and walk right back out to the queue hugging Pryzm’s outer walls.
At least that’s how we imagined it happening. You see these dashing gents were none other than Nevadan trio Palaye Royale, and the records they ‘swiped’ was their very own Fever Dream, on their way to their first acoustic hosted by Banquet themselves. Despite having a Fever Dream UK Tour scheduled for February 2023, the trio decided to fly across the pond for three stripped-back shows and signings. So, little did that excitable line know that their favourite rock stars were right behind them playing Robin Hood.
You see Palaye are known for putting their fans on pedestals, constantly humbled and thankful, making them some of the sweetest souls around and one reason why their Royal following has grown from strength to strength. Instead of divvying the ‘stolen’ goods like bargaining chips to help them get into the venue in one piece, the trio took their time to talk with every person and smile for every photo, perfectly showing how fame doesn’t have to change people. A notable interaction that had the hearts swelling for all who witnessed it was drummer Emerson Barrett’s adoration for a Royal Soldier of no more than eight years old. Dressed in her Emerson finest, and clinging onto her extraordinary sketches of the band desperate to show them, she was soon a hit with the early bird queuers who helped her solidify her place at the barrier. Besotted with the little one, Emerson decked her out with absolutely everything from the merch table, once again revealing the sheer immensity of Palaye’s love for their fans.
Known for their anarchy, energy and level of nakedness, this show couldn’t have been more different. Even singer, Remington Leith, commented “This is as calm and clothed as you’ve seen in me a long time London“. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that this was going to be a reserved evening. Instead of giving security and health and safety teams heart attacks by draping himself over balconies and climbing literally anything, Remington channelled all his being into giving an emotional performance of a lifetime. Enough so that brothers and band mates Sebastian Danzig (Guitar) and Emerson (lending his talents to the piano and tambourine tonight instead of drums) watched their sibling with awe, and some concern when emotions peaked during singles like Broken and Line It Up.
Yet, a pivotal moment had to be their piano rendition of Lonely. A recent addition to their regular high-energy set, this poignant moment had the audience weeping. Leaving the stage, Sebastian and Emerson give their brother space, leaving him alone with a sea of strange yet familiar faces. Vocally this is his best. The depth, vulnerability and technique leave the crowd in awe. Despite its intensity, there were moments of ice-breaking humour, like when Remington sheepishly glanced to the back of the room after singing, “I’m sorry mom I’ve got to go / I dug this grave I call my home” aka the opening of Lonely, saying “it’s kinda awkward because my mum’s here, so, sorry mum!”. This was met with a chuckle before the crowd was hushed into wonder.
One thing you miss at a regular Palaye show unless you’re front and centre at the barrier, is how much all three lose themselves in their songs. It’s too easy to be infected with the wildness their usual shows ooze. So much happens that you never know who to watch – Sebastian pulling out all his Chuck Berry moves, Emerson’s casual demeanour as he lights another cigarette mid drum solo, or Remington’s various shenanigans. But with their stripped-back simple set, you had no choice but to fully take in the trio, creating an intimacy never seen before at their gigs. Remington, in particular, became so consumed in some songs that when he peeped his eyes open at the end, he seemed almost shocked that an audience was staring back at him. That was before a small smile would sweep across his face. Sebastian became enchanted by the crowd’s serenading them so much he would stop playing to either conduct the newly formed choir or simply watch with a sincere smile.
We may have been standing in the middle of a night club-turned-venue, but it has never looked more beautiful, with its candle-lit stage and intimate setting. It may have been the adverse of anything we’ve come to expect with Palaye, but that’s Palaye for you, always shattering our expectations.
After all, the thing with a Palaye Royale show is that you may go in as a fan, but you leave feeling like you’ve finally found a place you can belong. And tonight was no exception, easily making it a night we will never forget.
Written by: Corey Plant