Parcels pack a disco-ready Palladium

Australian five-piece disco-rock band Parcels turned the Hollywood Palladium into a nightclub from the 70s on Friday. While the visuals were not at all over-the-top (they didn’t need to be), the packed venue was grooving to the five-part harmonies, the bass lines and the addicting rhythms. 

Parcels were joined by fellow Aussies, the four-piece psychedelic jazz-rock band Mildlife, kicking off with their “Rare Air” feel-good, that resembled Steely Jam slightly. Their harmony and flute-led funk track “Vapour” was next, followed by the hi-hat, bassline-heavy “Zwango Zop”. The band left revelers wanting more, with the psychedelic “The Magnificent Moon”, showcasing a lot of wild finger plucking, standout bass and other moments from the synthesizer and drums on the seriously alluring tune.

Photo by Todd Westphal

The headlining Australians, Parcels hit the stage silhouetted against a cobalt blue backdrop, playing a number of tracks from their 2021 album Day/Night as well as their 2018 self-titled debut. Parcels set the scene with the piano-led “Reflex”, gradually picking up the intensity, transitioning flawlessly as the strobe lights flashed over the guys on the more danceable “Lightenup”, with the crowd cheering and moving along to the rhythm.

Following the cinematic beauty and guitar magic of “LIGHT”, Parcels kicked it up a notch on the feel-good piano jam “Free”, with an incredible five-part harmony. It was like a combo of Queen, ABBA, the Bee Gees and Daft Punk all in one, with guitarist Jules Crommelin getting on the riser with drummer Anatole Serret at one point.

The equally-harmonious, lively “Comingback” was next, highlighted by rhythm guitar, bass and drums, while keyboardist/guitarist Patrick Hetherington stepped away from the keys and busted moves while encouraging fans to clap. The down-tempo, bluesy funk tune “Theworstthing” resembled Daft Punk and Bee Gees in moments, especially with the melancholy bassline and vocal harmonies. The mood was up again for “Overnight”, one of the most danceable new songs, finding the band jumping in place with their guitars or at the keys, Louie Swain included.

Parcels’ minimalist visuals and lighting were especially cool with a blank backdrop shuffling silhouettes of the band playing in every which way with some clever lighting techs on hand. The organic, piano ballad “Outside” had vocal moments of Crosby Stills Nash and Young or even Pink Floyd, and the voices of were accompanied by a beautiful piano melody.

Photo by Todd Westphal

Pure disco cut “Famous” was next followed by the drama of “Neverloved” and later the cinematic down-tempo “Shadow” with a choir of voices from Parcels.

The guys showed off their shift in sound with the 80s-leaning “LordHenry” with more insane harmonies, a hip-hop beat, some Duran Duran-like synth moments, and the only thing missing was Whitney Houston or Steve Winwood joining in on the vocals. A monstrous jam session took over, while the silhouetted shadows danced on screen with a dizzying effect. The beat on disco track “Gamesofluck” had 90s elements of Dido or Portishead and then the band played their massive “Tieduprightnow”, with the entire crowd dancing, arms up and singing along. It was a shining moment on the guitars.

Drummer Serret took a moment to tell the fans, “Here’s a fun fact, this is the biggest show we’ve ever done”. And the place erupted in cheers. Parcels went on to play their 2021 hit “Somethinggreater”, with fans singing “hey” in unison. It started off with its slow, harmonious tribal verses and then picked up into a thunderous funk-rock banger, with cowbell at the end. It was both subtle and sexy, if that’s even possible. 

Bass guitarist and vocalist Noah Hill shined on “EDM” and Parcels concluded under a red stage wash with their own version of Scottish house producer Mylo’s early 2000s electronic hit “Drop the Pressure”.

Editor’s Note: This has absolutely nothing to do with the talent, showmanship or entertainment value of Parcels or Mildlife. It must be stated that Hollywood Palladium and Live Nation need to do something about the heat in the venue. Warm and even sweaty temperatures come with the territory of live music and large crowds, however the heat is unbearable to the point of exhaustion and it wouldn’t be shocking if fans passed out or worse. If the Palladium and Live Nation are serious enough about metal detectors and security and the safety of its patrons, they should be equally concerned with their health and comfort. Perhaps its an issue with the historical nature of the 1940s art deco building, but one would think doors could be opened or AC could be pumped. It’s bordering on a Board of Health problem and if temperatures must continue to be tropical in this venue, then a ticket should come with a server and a frozen drink.