Ever hear of the Deftones? Of course you have. They escaped the slums of the mid 90's nu-metal scene and emerged as one of the most exciting rock bands of the new millennium. Ever hear of ISIS? Maybe not...but you should have. They were genre bending titans of atmospheric and metal music, standing tall as the leaders of the 00's post-metal underground. What happens when you splice the charismatic vocal croons of the Deftones with Isis' intense musical core? You get an awesome fucking new band called Palms. That's what. They played four special debut shows in California last week. Their show at The Observatory was amazing.
Crypts, a Seattle based synth punk outfit, opened the show. I kind of hated the band at first, dudes playing laptops and synths don't usually hold a special place in my heart, but after a few songs I found myself totally spellbound by the band. The singer was a total maniac, jumping, spitting and cracking his belt like a whip every chance he got. I'm definitely interested in seeing more from Crypts in the future.
Once Crypts wrapped things up, the sizable crowd grew anxious for some Palms. I don't think the show was sold out but it looked pretty damn full from my end. It seemed like most people in attendance were die hard Deftones fans. This made sense, since Deftones are the larger act and vocalist Chino Moreno is worshiped like some kind of deity by his adoring legions of Southern California Latino fans. No really, you could literally hear a wave of panties dropping as soon as Chino took the stage. So the packed house was ready, and I'm happy to report that Palms was more than able to kick ass on this night.
Palms mellow, atmospheric sound (think sandy beaches at sunset) was enthralling, while the band's refined metal pedigree was strong enough to keep heads bobbing all night. They played every song off their self titled debut album and threw a Swervedriver cover in for good measure. It should come as no surprise that the band was tight and precise as hell, Palm's musical core (Jeff, Aaron and Bryant) spent more than a decade together bashing away in ISIS and Chino's career with the Deftones has cemented him as one of the best vocalists of his generation. It's like Hercules and Xena teaming up...you better believe they're going to kick ass. I was pleasantly surprised to see Chino playing guitar during their set. I'm so used to seeing him as the hyped up frontman, watching him focus on his playing and delivery was kind of surreal. Also, Aaron Harris has been one of my favorite drummers for years. His block-y yet strangely fluid drumming style is totally unique and something I can't get enough of. Watching him rock out again behind the kit after ISIS disbanded was, for me, worth the price of admission alone.
Perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay the band is that Palms sounds almost exactly like their album live. Get the CD, close your eyes and that's pretty much how they were in concert. Yes this isn't the most complex or technically demanding music, but it's rife with sonic textures and nuances that the band nailed perfectly onstage. Check out the band's new record and jump at the chance to see Palms live in the future.