Gig preview: NME Awards Tour 2015 with Austin, Texas

Palma Violets
Palma Violets
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There is always a feeling of privilege for any journalist when they get their hands on a scoop. In the music world, being told that you are the first reporter to find out the title of a band’s new album is the hold grail – especially when it is an album as highly anticipated as the Palma Violets’ upcoming second LP.

The title of this upcoming release by one of Britain’s most sensational live acts at the moment is Danger in the Club – a name taken from one of the songs on the record.

“It suits the record,” explains the band’s singer and bass player, Alexander ‘Chilli’ Jesson. “I think that particular song kind of incorporates the whole album. We didn’t really want to self-title it, it’s a bit of a cliché on a second record. If there’s a song that could sum it up, I think that would be it.”

Even before they released their first album, 180, in 2013, the Palma Violets have had a sizeable following and plenty of critical acclaim. One of their biggest champions is the revered British music magazine NME, who have awarded the garage rock quartet with both their Best New Band Award and the Best Track of 2012.

Cementing their belief in this band, the Palma Violets will headline the prestigious NME Awards Tour, which will call in at Leeds’s O2 Academy on Friday night.

Being selected to headline this year’s tour is particularly prestigious, as it is the twentieth anniversary of the NME Awards Tour, which started in 1995 when Veruca Salt headlined. “I didn’t realise it was the 20th anniversary!” exclaims Chilli. “It’s great, I love those kind of package tours, I’ve been doing them since the fifties,” he laughs.

It’s great, and I think it’s a really strong bill, you get your money’s worth. They’re really hard working bands, they’re not bands that kind of prance around, so yeah, I’m honoured.”

180 received high praise for its raw sound and energetic tracks. This year will see the release of their sophomore album, which was completed the day before we spoke. “It’s finished now, literally yesterday. You’re the first person to know that it’s finished!” Chilli says. “I’m over the moon, man; we spent time on it, you know? We needed to because the first one was such a rush, but it needed to be, I think everyone should make a first album like that. But with this, I spent time mixing it and it’s exactly what I wanted.”

Fellow NME tour mates Slaves have come a long way since their coming together three years ago. Their debut album will be released in May.

Drummer and vocalist Isaac Holman says: “With our album, it only really took two weeks because if we play and like something, we will just lay it down. Whatever material we have, if we are happy with it, we just kind of lay it down and down look at it again, especially if it feels right and is relevant.

“There are bands that take loads of time recording, but we aren’t really that fussy about that one little hi hat sound if you will, and to be honest, we only have a few instruments to work with, so getting it to sound the way we like it isn’t too hard. I do think it is nicer that way as well, I think it is nice just to get things down.”

Holman adds: “I don’t think this album will be as raw as our first EP though. Back then we were more angry and coming of age, although saying that, this release still has the anger and energy but it is just delivered in a bit of a different way, but it is still us.”

The NME Awards Tour 2015 with Austin Texas is at O2 Academy Leeds on Friday February 20. Also on the bill are Fat White Family and The Amazing Snakeheads. For tickets visit