In the middle of what seems like Nowhere, New Jersey, sits a music venue called Starland Ballroom. It attracts local bands and radio names alike. It is a dream venue for some and a gateway to the local music scene for others. The venue is extremely well organized and functioning with perks like a thorough security check, clean eating areas, and a simple layout. I for one am always keeping up with the shows being announced there and trying to work as many as I can into my schedule. At the beginning of this year, a show was announced for March 24, 2018. The main act was scheduled to be Pop Evil, crusaders of the rock genre. The first opener was to be announced as a local band. What really pulled me out to this show, however, was the second opener, Palaye Royale. Labeling themselves as a fashion art-rock band, brothers Sebastian Danzig, Emerson Barrett, and Remington Leith (all sharing the last name Kropp) create an intriguing and mysterious trio. It’s not unlike them to wear bold clothing, call themselves pirates and vampires, and have daring lyrics. After hearing their first album, “Boom Boom Room Side A” (a mixture of indie punk and alternative with My Chemical Romance influences), seeing them live has been on my list of things to do for quite some time. The news of them playing at Starland Ballroom gave me that extra push I needed. It’s safe to say I was not disappointed with the outcome. I was lucky enough to snag barricade at this show after waiting in line for about four hours in the cold of New Jersey (Seriously, isn’t it spring yet?).
I found that all three bands on the bill created quite the strange mix of concert goers. Ages ranged from fifteen to forty, leaving half the pit section empty and the bars crowded. I got a good view of the behind the scenes action as I watched band members load and unload the stage for their sets. Emerson, Palaye’s drummer, came out to set up his drum set, saying hello to a few fans in the process. He stuck an incense stick on the front of his set which seemed very characteristic of his elegant, modern Renaissance style. The band’s set began with heavy guitars and an exciting hook. The horns at the beginning of their song “Don’t Feel Quite Right” built up the anticipation of the frontman, Remington, entering the stage. The energy was so strong from the get-go, I feared they might wear themselves down before the end of the set. But there never seemed to be a dull moment.
They played unreleased songs as teasers to Boom Boom Room Side B,” which is currently in the works. They also played their most popular songs, like “Mr. Doctor Man,” which was so high energy I could almost feel the barricade buzzing. During “Get Higher,” Remington made his way over to my side of the stage, jumped onto the security ledge of the barricade, and put his foot right on the barricade itself, directly beside my friend and I. From there, he jumped into the crowd and pushed his way over to one of the free-standing bars that Starland offers. He sang the rest of the song from up there. Security was unaware of this little stunt and the guard in front of me looked like he was going to give himself a heart attack. This isn’t new to Palaye, of course, as Remington usually finds something to climb on or hang from every night. They’re always joking around on their social media accounts about not knowing why they get in trouble at shows. They may be still on the rise in the music scene, but they sure as hell know how to grab the attention of an entire crowd, no matter what band the majority were there to see.
The crowd at Starland Ballroom was definitely taken by their set; I could hear it in the applause after each song. I would imagine that being in a band with your brothers and traveling nonstop in a tight tour bus for the majority of the year can be very exhausting and monotonous- but these boys seem like the best of friends and bounce off of each other the way great bands do. Palaye Royale gives it their all when they step out onto that stage, most likely because they realize they are living their dreams, loving their jobs, and getting to do it all along with their family.
At the end of their electrifying set, Palaye announced that they’d be happy to meet anyone who wanted to say hello at their merch stand. Knowing I couldn’t pass up the chance, I quickly made my way to the back of Starland to find there was already a mob of their fans (which they call ‘Soldiers of the Royal Council’) waiting to take pictures with them. The band tried to find that balance of meeting as many people as possible without rushing through pictures and conversations. Which, as far as I’m concerned, they seem to have accomplished. To be respectful of the main act of the concert, they would not meet fans during Pop Evil’s set, yet promised to come back after the show was over. I was lucky enough to have been one of the fans they met before that. Once I got to the front of the cluster of fans in front of the merch stand, I still hesitated to greet them. I did not wish to upset any fan who might have wanted to go next nor greet the band before giving them a break to breathe. Luckily, the guitar player, Sebastian, put his arm out to me to guide me towards him and to greet me. He asked me how I was and pulled me in for a hug. The other boys did the same before we stopped for a picture together. Remington then took the time to chat with me about our matching bracelets, which he designed through the company ‘Never Take It Off.’ That was the moment I saw how genuinely interested in their fans Palaye were. He spoke calmly and as if I was just an old friend. Even with all the fans he’d met that night (and still had left to meet), he found excitement in our conversation and took the time for it.
I entered that concert as a listener of Palaye Royale. But I left as a fan. I have a lot of appreciation and respect for the brothers, both musically and personally. They are a unique, genuine group, talented in more ways than one. How common is it to find a fashion art-rock band on the rise? Their music is some you definitely want to give a listen to before it takes off even more. “Boom Boom Room Side B” is just around the corner now; it won’t be long before they announce a release date. This summer, they play on the final cross-country Warped Tour as well as the Rock Sound main stage and Slam Dunk Festival in the UK. Aside from that, these boys are nearly always on tour, so catch them if you can. The Boom Boom Room may very well end up being one place you never want to leave.
Connect with them on Spotify, Twitter, and Instagram. All tour dates can be found on their website or Bandsintown!