PLAYING DETROIT: Palm Brings East Coast Experimental Rock to Marble Bar

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Palm photo by Dylan Pearce

Thanks to Detroit-based booking company, Party Store Productions, Marble Bar – a venue generally known for hosting electronic and house DJs – has been bringing in a steady roster of local and visiting rock bands. This week, Philadelphia-based prog rockers Palm were joined by Spirit of the Beehive and local Detroit band Double Winter for a delightfully disorienting show. Palm’s outré time signatures, erratic vocals, and incandescent synths make for a refreshingly novel sound arriving at what can be described as “mathy-Beach Boy-grunge-jazz.”

Although the complex tempo changes and musical layers sound like a bunch of technically trained musicians blissfully nerding out, none of the band’s members – Kasra Kurt (guitar/vocals), Eve Alpert (guitar/vocals), Gerasimos Livitsanos (bass), and Hugo Stanley (drums) – are classically trained. They formed Palm as more or less novices after meeting at Bard College in 2011. However, the band has more than made up for their lack of conventional training by rehearsing for hours on end, resulting in virtuosic experimental playing. If anything, the band’s lack of classic training adds to their novel sound by freeing them from adhering to any set of musical parameters.

Performing songs from recently-released sophomore album Rock Island as well as last year’s short-but-sweet Shadow Expert EP, Palm completely captivated the audience with their transcendent sound. The band shows their full musical palette with songs like “Composite,” where Kurt’s Brian Wilson-esque vocals are fragmented by puttering guitar patterns and syncopated drum beats. Instead of attempting to keep up with Palm’s insane changes in tone and time signature, the audience seemed content with falling into a euphoric trance.

In a world where it’s hard to capture someone’s attention for more than 15 seconds, much less an entire concert, Palm had most in the room hanging on to every last distorted guitar jab.

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