Another barnstorming night of music at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton with Palaye Royale, who were joined by Starbenders, showing why they have a reputation as such an exciting live band. A long queue with a young demographic was outside the venue waiting to gain entry, and when they did, the rush to the barriers for a prime spot was enthralling to watch.
Palaye Royale – Starbenders
KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton – 12 February 2023
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
Palaye Royale were there as part of their Fever Dream tour, and when the lights went down, the noise from the crowd was deafening, with real excitement in the venue. The intro to the first song, Nightmares, was being played as the band they assumed the positions on the multi-level stage set with a PALAYE ROYALE displayed in bright lights behind them.
The entrance of frontman Remington Leith, dressed in a black jacket and black kilt, was greeted with a mass of screams from the crowd as he started his amazing vocals. They were then into No Love In LA from Fever Dream, followed by You’ll Be Fine, with guitarists Sebastian Danzig and Andrew Martin jumping and strutting around the massive KK stage.
Another track from Fever Dream, Broken, and Palaye Royale were now in full flow, the crowd jumping and bouncing to every song. A brilliant version of Fucking With My head followed before another new song King Of The Damned, during which an inflatable boat appeared and was pushed into the crowd. Leith jumped into it and crowd-surfed while shooting water with his mini water canon.
A spectacular sight as the boat went across the crowd before being held up by some stanchions holding the roof. Leith climbed onto it and swung around before going back into the boat, sailing across a sea of hands before re-entering the stage.
By now, the tattooed Leith was stripped to the waist and conducting the crowd with Paranoid, Line It Up, Oblivion and Punching Bag, all from Fever Dream, showing all aspects of the group’s repertoire from straight-up rock through to a piano accompaniment. Utterly brilliant.
Mr Doctor Man was next with the set, finishing with amazing versions of Off With The Head and Off With the Head (outro) before canons shot ticker tape into the crowd.
After a bout of shouting and screaming, they returned with Lonely before finishing their stunning set with Fever Dream and another round of ticker tape. Palaye Royale are a band you should experience live, as they never disappoint.
There should have been two support bands, but Yonaka pulled out due to illness, leaving up-and-coming American rock band Starbenders the chance to do an extended set. They are an eclectic-looking and sounding outfit that got the Steel Mill crowd eating out of their hands from the get-go.
Opening with a brand new song Blood Moon, they sounded great and formed a really tight band despite being stretched across the massive stage. Singer/guitarist Kimi Shelter has a wonderful voice and showed his style well in a couple of songs from their Love Potions album, Holy Mother and Bitches Be Witches.
Drummer Emily Moon is a striking figure in her bikini top, smashing the drums and the real backbeat to the band. Then into Never Lie 2 Me and Cover Me before another new song, Seven White Horses, mixing their rock groove sound with a hint of a ’60s sound.
A wonderful solo from bare-chested and slightly hench guitarist Kriss Tokaji followed, and then Starbenders were into Can’t Cheat Time before the live debut of the new song The Game. The crowd were loving this, and Starbenders showed they are on the up.
The set finished with Something Ain’t Right before another new song, If You Need It. These guys and gals are certainly a band to look out for in 2023.