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).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor