So what’s next for The Silver Palms?
On Friday night, the young band from the southeast corner of Georgia played The Jinx, Savannah’s premier rock club, before an appreciative, attentive, and very curious crowd.
The Silver Palms took the stage and got right to it just moments after opener Blackrune finished. There was only the briefest of sound checks before The Silver Palms launched into their upbeat set of catchy, garage-y rock.
“Georgia Boy” was the only song that any of us in the audience had heard (I’ll post the video below), and I was thrilled that the band sounded as polished live as in that recording. If anything, singer Dalton Drury’s voice is even stronger and more evocative in person.
The Silver Palms slid quickly from one track into the next, with almost no banter from the stage. I thought a couple of the songs ended too abruptly, but I was hooked pretty quickly.
And then just as the medium-sized crowd seemed ready to step forward for more, and just as the band seemed to be relaxing into their own sound and into the new space, the set ended. The Silver Palms is working with Dave Kaplan of The Agency Group (who also reps The Black Keys, Black Lips, Electric Six, and The Kills, among others) and with London-based Machine Management, but the promising young band hasn’t played a lot of club gigs, and they’ve primarily been relegated to opening slots for shows in big cities like Atlanta, New York, and Chattanooga. Short sets are fine — and often preferred — for shows like that, but not when you’re a Friday night headliner in a latenight city like Savannah, where the bars are open till 3 a.m.
Just after The Silver Palms left the stage, one of the show’s organizers ran backstage and hustled them back out. And then they played a few other songs and seemed to relax a little more. A couple of times, guitarist Adam Drury seemed poised to break loose with an extended jam, but then he pulled back. But the crowd wasn’t going anywhere, and there was none of the drunken chattiness that sometimes disrupts late shows at The Jinx. There was a sense that we were watching a potentially great band literally find their stage legs, and we wanted more. But I don’t think that the band could read that mood — I had the impression that they didn’t want to overstay their welcome or take too many chances.
The Silver Palms has a few more gigs in the coming weeks, is headed off to England in February supporting The Orwells (the full tour is on the band’s Facebook page), and will be playing Savannah Stopover in March. I don’t know what other gigs will be at the same time during Stopover, but I’ll sure try to see The Silver Palms again. It’s going to be fascinating to see how much looser and more confident they will have grown in a few short months. With so much talent, it’s going to be a fast learning curve.
And it better be a fast learning curve: The Silver Palms is almost certainly going to be headlining a string of bigger and bigger shows over the next couple of years.
The band will need to embrace the chaos, to let it go — throw some jams into their most polished songs, interact more with each other and the crowd, take risks and more risks. Sure, some nights might feel like flops if the risks don’t pay off, but other nights will be magic. I also think young bands as obviously hard-working and ambitious as The Silver Palms should have a few covers in their repertoire — and I could imagine this talented foursome with exciting takes on everything from Buddy Holly to Violent Femmes, from the Pixies to The Strokes. Yeah, yeah, I get it — young musicians tell me all the time that they want to develop their own material, that they want to forge their own sound. But looking ahead doesn’t preclude looking back. There’s no better way to electrify a new crowd unfamiliar with your work than to give them a memory to latch onto.
In addition to Dalton and Adam Drury, The Silver Palms consists of Wade Beahm on bass and Jordan Scott on drums. The band’s youth and good looks will certainly help attract fans, and the band’s industry connections will go a long way too.
But, at the end of the day, The Silver Palms’ future will hinge on the music. We got a tantalizing glimpse of that future on Friday night.
I took some photos. The opener Blackrune — more about them below — had a funky projection for their set, and The Silver Palms kept it playing during theirs. Combined with the green and red gels, the overall effect was a little crazy, but pretty satisfying nonetheless. Click for larger versions. I’ve also posted these photos to the hissing lawns Facebook page, so you can share them from there if you want. (Please take less than a second and “like” the page while you’re there.)