Photos and Review by: Allyssa Arens
Lineup: Starbenders, Mod Sun, Palaye Royale
Date: September 25, 2022
Location: Webster Hall, NYC, NY
Palaye Royale have been a force to be reckoned with on the live scene ever since about 2016 when their debut album Boom Boom Room – Side A was released, and this has only continued and expanded as their career has progressed. Last Sunday was no exception, as Palaye brought their high energy show to New York City’s Webster Hall on their Fever Dream world tour, named for their upcoming album set for release on October 28 via Sumerian Records.
The show kicked off promptly at 7:30 with a set from label-mates Starbenders, who started things off with a bang. The band, consisting of vocalist Kimi Shelter, drummer Emily Moon, guitarist Kriss Tokaji and bassist Aaron Lecesne, have a sound that combines 70s aesthetics with elements of grunge and other rock subgenres and put on an amazing show! Their short-but-strong setlist primarily consisted of songs from their 2020 album Love Potions such as “Cover Me”, “Holy Mother”, and “Precious” as well as their newest single “Blood Moon”. The only possible missed opportunity would have been to have Palaye’s vocalist Remington come out during “Precious” since the studio version is a duet with the two, but especially seeing as Remington revealed on stage later that he was actually sick with strep throat that night, I don’t blame him for not wanting to overextend himself further. In all, Starbenders put on a phenomenal show and I highly recommend catching a show if they tour near you.
Next to take the stage was Mod Sun. I will admit that when the tour lineup was first announced back in June, I was a bit skeptical of this pairing, especially since Mod Sun’s music is a lot more akin to that of artists like Machine Gun Kelly than the harder alt-rock of most of Palaye’s catalog; Mod also started out doing rap before transitioning to more of a pop-punk influenced sound on last year’s Internet Killed the Rockstar. However, any fears of Mod not fitting in on the bill were quickly dissuaded as he took the stage and put on one of the most energetic performances I have seen this year, opening with his song “Karma”. Other highlights of the set included “Perfectly Imperfect”, “Rich Kids Ruin Everything”, and newest single “Battle Scars”, as well as setlist closer “Flames”, which also featured recorded vocals from fiancee Avril Lavigne. At one point in the set, Mod even stopped his set after an unidentifiable commotion broke out in the crowd to ensure everyone was safe; though I am still not completely sure what happened, it was handled in a timely manner and I appreciate his willingness to make sure everyone was having a safe night.
Finally, Palaye Royale hit the stage, and immediately the crowd went wild. The set opened with “Nightmares” from 2020’s The Bastards, and during that song as well as its follow-up “You’ll Be Fine”, the crowd was moving so much that I could feel the floor and the metal barricade shaking around me. This energy did not stop during the night as the band went through a career-spanning setlist including “Mr. Doctor Man”, “Dying in a Hot Tub”, “Fucking With My Head”, Hang On to Yourself”, and all five singles from their upcoming album Fever Dream including the official live debut of “Lifeless Stars”, which was released on September 21. Their set ended on a bit of a somber note as they closed with “Lonely”, a song that Remington wrote about his own mental health struggles and one that has resonated with many of their fans who have had similar struggles. Despite the slower nature and somber lyrics, however, I observed crowd members moshing during this (and other) songs, showing the catharsis that many concert-goers experience by being surrounded by fellow fans hearing the songs that helped save them.
With this having been my fourth time seeing Palaye Royale live, I can say with confidence that there are no bands quite like them out there, and that’s why I love them so much. Between their extreme showmanship and their dedication to their fanbase, dubbed the “Soldiers of the Royal Council”, Palaye Royale are poised to become a strong presence in the current alt-rock scene and will hopefully continue inspiring others for years to come.
The North American leg of the Fever Dream tour continues through November, barring any additional illnesses or other hangups; the band has had multiple tour busses break down already among other hiccups yet have continued to give their all on-stage every night. Tour dates can be found here.