Palaye Royale + Counterfeit + Charming Liars @ Shepherds Bush Empire, February 21st

February 21st 2020
Photos and Review by Rebecca Bush

I made it to the venue with minutes to spare this evening. Inside it is positively buzzing with excited energy, and probably a tinge of relief that tonight’s venue didn’t follow suit with Glasgow’s and cancel the show. Palaye Royale have faced some adversity but they dealt with it wonderfully, performing an acoustic show outside the Garage in Glasgow for the gathered fans who were let down when the show was cancelled just an hour before doors, and releasing a statement explaining the situation in detail. So onwards and upwards for them tonight at a sold out Shepherds Bush Empire!

First on the bill are Charming Liars, a four piece partly originating in London and now residing in L.A..

Their brand of rock is beautifully melodic. They have the audience’s full attention, taking hold straight from the off and throughout their set they are met with a warm response.

Front man Kiliyan Maguire sings with real passion, his vocal has great depth which was backed up by sharp harmonies and intricate guitar work.

Their songs are clearly carefully crafted, uplifting tunes often bursting into anthemic chorus’ which are well thought out with each member fully invested in the presentation of the music to the crowd before them.

Having no prior knowledge of their work, for me it was one of those wonderful moments where you discover a new band you love, as I am sure was the case for some here tonight; looking around, they certainly had a positive effect.

Dynamically there was plenty of movement and interaction between them all and that extended out to the crowd. I would definitely recommend catching them live – you wont regret it!

I took the usual moment to re organise my kit and step outside briefly before heading back to the photo pit for the next act, and a sudden increase in number of photographers meant this was going to be slightly more difficult to navigate. The crowd were much more worked up now and there was a frenzy of excited chatter behind me.

Counterfeit take to the stage to riotous applause, clearly firm favourites already of the gathered masses. There’s a comfortable ease about their presence on stage, it’s relaxed and effortless.

Aesthetically they have a laid back vibe: front man Jamie Bower wears an oversized cardigan and skinny jeans and looks the epitome of those hazy grungy days.

The reaction from the audience sparks with the band and it’s a catalyst for an energetic and emotional performance. What Jamie sings is raw and genuine and real. After the process of working through a lot of demons with first release ‘Together We Are Stronger’ there was a quiet moment for the band.

Now full of the joys of life and positivity, they bring uplifting energy, promoting mental health awareness and being a voice that’s always needed. There is a real bond between everyone on stage they are all completely switched on and watching them is a happy experience. So far it’s been a wonderful night!

The excitement and anticipation are practically at fever pitch by the time intro song ‘Blood’ by My Chemical Romance begins to play and everyone is united and singing loudly along.

Then there is a huge eruption of screams as the moment comes for Palaye Royale to bring their fashion-rock to the gathered army. The Soldiers of the Royal Council, the name for their devotees, are out tonight in their droves, selling out the 2,000 capacity historic Shepherds Bush Empire.

Framed by an elaborate back drop illustrated by drummer Emerson Barrett depicting vintage city streets and the word BASTARDS (the name of the tour) emblazoned in lights, they appear all flare and charisma. The combination of their extravagant rich imagery and catchy anthemic songs is a heady cocktail that goes down a storm.

They look like a rich tapestry pulling together such a wide range of elements, these rock and roll dandies bring pure punk attitude, downright dirty rock and roll vibes and a sprinkling of glam rock glamour. Singer Remington Leith has some seriously impressive, powerful pipes and is pure showman through and through. This is a no holds barred full volume all out show!

The suave five piece kick into action with their 2019 single ‘Fucking With My Head’. The first track exploded, reciprocated in force by those screaming in adoration. Without missing a beat, the headliners of tonight’s event smashed through ‘You’ll Be Fine’ (Boom Boom Room (Side B) 2018) and brought down the chaos with ‘Death Dance’ – Yet another track the fans had eagerly been waiting to hear live.

The momentum never gives; Palaye Royale smash through tonight’s set with studio quality, through fan favourites such as ‘Don’t Feel Quite Right – whose music video is a strong favourite within the bands community – and ‘Teenage Heartbreak Queen’, until finally they slow things down as frontman Remington Leith encourages the happy crowd to take out their phones and turn on their lights, to mimic the swaying of flame.

Palaye Royale perform their sixth track of the night, ‘Dying in a Hot Tub’, which seems to bring the connection between performer and audience just that little bit closer.

Another three songs fly by, not once allowing their forceful expression to waver, including ‘Hang On To Yourself’, ‘Massacre The New American Dream’ and ‘Warhol.’ Palaye Royale are refined, polished and know how to keep the crowd salivating for more of their well-received catalogue.

Finally, as the night comes to an end and the final drops of sweat begin to fall, ‘Ma Cherie’ brings us to the end of the evening, and the final song of the night, ‘How Do You Do?’ ends the evening on a monumental high. The flamboyant glam-rock five piece exit the stage.

But the crowds want more.

The band reappear through the chanting and screaming of an audience not yet ready to give up their time with Palaye Royale. After an uplifting and striking encore of the track ‘Mr .Doctor Man’ the band end on ‘Get Higher’, ending the night in euphoria and a downpour of confetti, blasted through the mouth of cannons.

Palaye Royale continue their UK Tour, complete with more confetti and upside down antics, with Birmingham and Bristol dates.