March 2nd, 2020, Stollwerk, Cologne – Photo gallery HERE!
There’s a huge hype around Palaye Royal with python-ormous queues to their concerts circling the venue many times over. The band is currently on a world tour in support of their album The Bastards, with each show being near to sold-out. Their videos are top of the visual game, their following is the most devoted and their own attitude is bursting through their stylish pants’ seams! And it’s only Monday… What’s going on? Palaye Royal is listed as a Canadian rock band, although only one member was born in Toronto, after which the family moved and since then been residing in Las Vegas, USA. Yes, family. Essentially, three fifths of the band is formed by the brothers – singer, guitarist and drummer, who were later joined by another two members to complete the line-up. Formerly known under another name, today Palaye Royal is an established act riding the highest wave of their career to date.
Their show in Cologne was on a Monday night, which did not stop many to travel from afar, battling against the rainy weather. However appropriate, runny smudged eyeliner is just the look for Palaye Royal’s front rows!
On this tour the band is supported by a fellow rock act Charming Liars. And not that I’d say this often and blindly, but I think you’ll like them. Good vocals, catchy easy music and very followable tunes. From the general impression – not many in the audience knew this act, but from their reaction to the show, all enjoyed it a lot. All raised their lit phones to support the song, all reached their hands out to the charismatic front man and all danced along the set. The echos of some electro blew with a light nostalgic wave of the young Bono, accompanied by an entwining voice of the singer made for an enjoyable listen. Some of the younger attendees came with their parents and I could see even the parents enjoying it, whilst sipping on their Corona with lime. Going out to rock concerts with parents – a sight that’s honey to my heart. For that alone Charming Liars – well done! And what else is done professionally is their engagement with the audience, which is a good way to conquer new fans even with a shorter set.
The waiting for the Royals took a while. And not to sound like a flight attendant, but to pass the time you could enjoy the bar (light beer or lemonade only, with respect to the late millennial audience) or go shopping for merch, as this is a traditional concert. Or is it?First, I have never seen a queue to the band’s merchandise table! But these guys must be some kind of marketing geniuses, who took their accompanying product line onto next level of WOW.
Those are not merch stands but random pop up stores where fans get a chance to buy rare, limited and special editions and real collectibles, from clothes to stationary, to bed sheets and even their own line of cosmetics. And their own newspaper too, real and printed on paper in black font with red headings. Fans are invited to send their own artwork, stories and such to the band, which then will be published in The Royal Times. How amazing is that?! Fans can literally write themselves into the history of the band, forming a unique bond between the rockers and their fans. So no wonder many audience have been to multiple shows and are willing to travel the distance to attend many more. Another bit of merchandising genius is a fantastic line of various makeup palettes, also perfectly packaged in stylish red lacquered boxes with bands’ portrait on the inside for inspiring looks. And even the single black fine liner has the band’s logo in gold. These guys know their crowd and cater to them not just through the ears!
The band’s artwork alone is worth a publishing deal. All graphics and visuals (including the backdrop for the current tour) are done by the band’s drummer, who is currently working on his own graphic novel. And if you pay attention, you can connect the dots and find the references in between the names of colors in the makeup palettes to the graphic images printed on the rest of the merch, to bring it all together in one cohesive story-line. If that’s not brilliant, I don’t know what is. And the drummer is barely over 20, school drop-out, the youngest of the three brothers.
So to sum up, if you accidentally found yourself at the concert of Palaye Royal naked and without eye-liner, head straight to the merch stand, and get fully equipped with stylish clothes, matching socks, a beanie hat, some metal badges, a necktie, sunglasses, pocketwatch, super-cool stripy silk pajama for after, and a gorgeous goth-glamoure makeup set. Impressive this is. And all is by a band who dropped out of school to pursue their music. Somebody issue them an honorary degree in marketing right now!
And in between the good business hours was the show. I read somewhere that Palaye Royal are a fashion rock band. This only made sense when I saw them in action. They are a walking fashion illustrated of the rock scene through the ages. There’s Sex Pistols, there’s Queen, there’s hair metal, there’s new and old wave of Britpop, tartan and uniforms, there’s some goth and hints of new metal, all with lots of rock’n’roll attitude. As a result of this delicious fashion-music cocktail – we have a rocking emo-punker act with the most stylish look on stage from the band and off stage in the audience. And this band brings back cool hats too – so many in the crowd and some on stage too, what an awesome sight! In a few years of their active career, there’s a lot of achievement. Even Marilyn Manson acknowledged them already.
The energy tonight is through the roof! They play and dance as if it’s the last night ever and we’ve nothing to lose. Guitarists dance and jump and play as if no gravity or their skeleton have any restraints. The singer is like a spiderman, he literally flies through the entire venue. One second he is on stage, the next – he is floating above the admiring heads below, and then he is already climbing over the bar stand and beyond reaching the fans on the balcony, then he is balancing on the rails and onto the amplifiers, and up in the air he goes again. Whilst singing and waving and holding hands with his devoted listeners. Just as passionately he flies up, just as strongly he falls and now he is on the floor, as if collapsed, but breathing and singing, you just don’t know what’ll happen next! He bounces and maneuvers over the stage, band’s equipment and all other obstacles with zero regard to physics. He sings, addressing the crowd as if he knows each person by name. What an energy bomb jumping out of his own skinny jeans.
For the encore – change of outfits, and now the singer is topless in a tartan punk kilt and he cannot be any cuter. A couple more songs to wrap up an excellent night with so much creativity and energy, you cannot leave uninspired and wanting to do something creative, colorful and unique. The fashion future of the next generation glam rockers is safe and promising.
Text– Marina Minkler photos – Kira Hagen www.kirahagen.com
Stalker thanks Kinda Agency for assisting our journalists.