01 April 2014 (gig)
07 April 2014
The Parlotones may not [yet] be a household name here but their show at the swanky Kensington Roof Gardens drew a capacity crowd. Whilst many present had seen them play arenas back in South Africa there were new converts too and the set, with some drawn from the forthcoming album ‘Stand Like Giants’ would surely have convinced any doubters.
With frontman Kahn Morbee, bedecked in his trademark bowler hate and eye make-up, leading the line with a mixture of cheerful bonhomie and true rock star verve, the band charged through a twenty three song set. ‘Sleepwalker’ the main song from the new album fits right in, but the tone was set right from the off with a lusty rendition of ‘Push Me To The Floor’. Whilst Kahn is very much the focal point, guitarist Paul Hodgson, bassist Glen Hodgson, and drummer Neil Pauw are a real powerhouse behind him. A glorious racket.
Despite the opulent surroundings, this show was very much a gig rather than a showcase and although the band included around eight tracks from the new record, their back catalogue got a proper airing too. Whilst it must be a little strange for a band used to the big time to tread the boards in small venues like this – the capacity crowd was no more than 400 – they exuded the class that comes from playing in the big leagues and seemed to relish the chance to look the fans in the eye. In fact the band were mingling with the fans before taking the stage.
Highlights of the show were ‘Sleepwalker’ but also ‘Only Human’ and ‘Fly To The Moon’ but the set raced past ahead of the band drawing a final curtain after ‘We Call This Dancing’ from the Stardust Galaxies album. This was a confident, assertive performance from a band often dubbed ‘South Africa’s Coldplay’ – though with their keen commercial edge and Kahn’s vocals, for me , they have more in common with The Killers. Either way, good company to keep, and perhaps ‘Stand Like Giants’ will see The Parlotones see their career in the UK head in the same direction.
Photo credit: Noel Buckley