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Pallas Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     May 31, 2011    
 
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Pallas - The Peel, Kingston (UK) - 5th of February 2011.

This was my first visit to The Peel and I was impressed by the intimacy of the venue, but also the facilities and the sound, the latter of which was spot on. Unfortunately, due to so called punters deciding that rather than listen to the band they'd rather chat amongst themselves, I ended up moving after a couple of songs and watching the gig in the Back Bar where fortunately there was a TV feed on a big screen and a small but perfectly adequate PA.

So, the big question was whether new vocalist, Paul Mackie, could cut the mustard on the songs we have come to associate with the ubiquitous Alan Reed (who was in attendance). For me the answer was that mostly he carried the tunes better than I expected but I did miss Reed's tones in places, particularly on 'Midas Touch' which I didn't feel flowed as well as it might have. However, he did a fine job with 'For The Greater Glory', 'Rat Racing' and in particular the compelling 'The Ghostdancers'. Any number of bands have been playing an album in its entirety of late and it seemed that Pallas were going to do the same with their excellent new release 'XXV', however whilst playing all the tracks they decided to insert the previously mentioned back catalogue songs into the set half way through.

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A wonderful piece of intro music set the scene for the melodic and memorable 'Falling Down', which immediately set the benchmark. I'm still not convinced by the Dream Theater-esque section of 'Crash And Burn' an otherwise fine song. The pace is slowed considerably for the superb 'Something In The Deep' where Ronnie Brown's orchestral keyboards are quite superb. 'Monster' is just that with its fine chorus and Niall Mathewson's guitar solo. Colin Fraser is a terrific drummer and excels throughout the set but his work on '…… Glory' is worthy of special mention. I had always loved Graeme Murray's bass which drives songs along in recognisable fashion but there was a nervy moment before 'Rat Racing' as to whether his ancient bass pedals would work. Apparently, earlier in the day they had developed a mind of their own. They behaved and with danger averted the rendition turned out to be terrific.

After 'Midas Touch' they returned to 'XXV' and played the remainder of the songs from that, which merely served to reinforce the quality of the material, with the plaintive and evocative 'Violet Skies' being particularly impressive in both structure and execution.

With that the band left the stage but there was no doubt that an encore would be demanded and delivered, however I didn't think 'Sanctuary' worked all that well but 'Cut And Run' finished the evening on a high.

If the new album hasn't convinced you that Pallas are still a viable entity then their live incarnation certainly should.

Gary Marshall

Pallas Live Review

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