IoS pop review: Palma Violents, The Dome, Tufnell Park, London
Caravan, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

If this is the band of 2013, take me back to 1973

Anyone waiting for 2013 to hurry up and start happening – in the sense of being divebombed by the unexpected – will have to wait a little longer. The music industry's calendar being the regimented thing that it is, we're still in the open-up-and-say-aaah phase, in which we're spoonfed the same foregone conclusions.

Among this year's chosen ones are Palma Violets (yes, that misspelt name is how they style themselves), a rudimentary guitar group from Lambeth whom I last saw in August, supporting British Sea Power in Brighton. At that time, they were just another hapless indie-schmindie band. Since then, they've rowdied up their act and cranked up the volume. They've also made the BBC Sound of 2013 list and the cover of the NME, so no one is ignoring them any more.

The Dome is as rammed as the band are ramshackle. "The Clash without the politics" would be a five-word first impression. There's smoke and, yes, violet light, but no art or artfulness. What we have here is a tried and tested formula: four vaguely presentable boys playing melodic rock'n'roll with big singalong bits, and playing them loud. Frontmen Sam Fryer and Chilli Jesson do the face-to-face Pete'n'Carl thing, with choruses shouted in out-of-tune unison, while Pete Mayhew's somewhat superfluous garage rock organ tries to make itself heard. With the Libertines reunion apparently having fizzled out, you can see why Rough Trade signed them up. It will probably pay off, too: it's not much of a stretch to imagine Palma Violets becoming Vaccines-sized.

Bassist Jesson is the resident deranged wild man, throwing drinks at the crowd and acting the loose cannon. The songs? They've nothing much to say. The Rihanna-borrowed refrain "You make me feel like I'm the only one" is fairly typical. "This song is about a girl," Fryer tells us at one point, before having a sudden moment of self-awareness. "Another one."

There's a time and a place for Caravan. For many people here tonight, it might have involved reclining on the grass at a free festival on some idyllic summer afternoon circa 1973, spliff in one hand, scrumpy in the other. For me, it was one late night around 10 years ago, seeing off a bottle of Scotch with my dad while he tried, yet again, to musically brainwash me with hippy nonsense.

Unusually, it worked. The album we were listening to was Blind Dog at St Dunstan's, a record with at least one outstanding track. Namely, the nine-minute long "All the Way (with John Wayne's single-handed liberation of Paris)", a piece of warm, blissful space-pop.

Blind Dog was released in 1976, a year in which Caravan, like most of the other old heads on the vaguely charming Canterbury scene, were noodling away in happy ignorance of the world outside, still following their psych-folk-prog path oblivious to glam rock, pub rock, punk and disco. They thought their world would never end.

And, in a sense, it hasn't. Grey of hair, black of attire, the Caravan of 2013 no longer look like the astral voyagers of yesteryear. The founding Sinclair brothers are gone, but lanky lead singer Pye Hastings, violinist and flautist Geoff Richardson and long-serving keyboardist Jan Schelhaas are still on board.

Some of their post-1980 material has an unfortunate Dire Straits feel, but the old stuff, dominated by excerpts from For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night (for which this tour is nominally a 40th anniversary celebration), is frequently impressive. There are tricky rhythms with 5, 7, or 11 beats to the bar (I lose count), false endings which fool the unwary into clapping early, lyrics about trysts on the golf course, and sudden skiffle interludes complete with spoons and washboards. They end with a 20-minute epic called "Nine Feet Underground". They don't, however, find room for "All the Way". Another time, another place.

Critic's Choice

Sinéad O'Connor plays intimate acoustic versions of her latest album at LSO St Luke's in London (Thu). Peter Hook & The Light, ignoring the fact that New Order still exist, perform New Order's Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (Wed); Koko, London (Thu); and Manchester Cathedral (Fri).

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)


Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own