Live Review: Peace @ Bristol Exchange 22/01/15

With Peace returning to the South-West as part of the promotion for their new album ‘Happy People,’ James Beeson headed to The Exchange to see if Birmingham’s favourite alternative band could continue to live up to the hype…

Dungaree’s and glitter were order of the day as B-Town glam-rockers Peace made a spectacular return to Bristol in the intimate surroundings of The Exchange. The midlands-based quartet were on fine form as they rattled through a set including hits from their 2013 debut ‘In Love’, as well as a string of new material from their upcoming album ‘Happy People’ in front of a sold out and adoring crowd.

Arriving to rapturous applause as they swagger onto the cramped stage around fifteen minutes late, Harrison Koisser and co. launch straight into the closing number of their debut album ‘Bloodshake’ with the kind of verve and confidence that has gained them such a cult-following amongst Britain’s hippest youngsters. “We split blood at the sun, we split blood in the ocean!” drawls Harrison into his mic, doing his best to look unfazed by the passionate frenzy unfolding in front of him.

Wasting little time with pleasantries, the band commence the set strongly, with ‘Higher Than the Sun’ and hit single ‘Follow Baby’ unleashed in quick succession, almost deafening the watching audience with a cascade of ear-splitting rifts and ethereal syths.

This is a band at the peak of their powers, comfortable in their ability to win over an audience. So much so, in fact, that they follow up the hit spangled opening of their set with no fewer than six new tracks. Admittedly, the likes of ‘Gen Strange’, ‘Lost on Me’ and ‘Money’ have already had extensive radio play and are hence received by the audience like old favourites, but what was more impressive was the depth and quality of the band’s previously unheard material. A particular highlight was ‘Someday’ – a quieter and more stripped back number that hinted at a new direction the psychedelic-pop band should seek to explore more in the future.

Treating their hardcore following even more, Peace return to their roots with a majestically beautiful rendition of ten-minute epic ‘1998 Delicious’ from their debut EP. Showcasing their full range of guitar and vocal prowess, ‘1998’ is a fan-boys wet dream, although to some of the more casual audience members it may have appeared marginally self indulgent.

These punters needed have worried, however, as this was followed by back-to-back hits ‘Float Forever’ and ‘Wraith.’ The four-piece finish the main body of their set with ‘Sugarstone’ – a slow-paced and nostalgic ode that leaves the audience somewhat wanting.

After a short break, the band return for an extended instrumental before blitzing into 4th single and personal favourite ‘Lovesick,’ a track of reckless abandon that epitomizes the carefree and upbeat vibe which has made Peace so popular amongst the youth generation. ‘I just wanna be a fool and get lovesick with you…’ coos Harrison, a cry that is gleefully returned by the gaggle of trouble-free, floppy haired and sweaty adolescents practically bowing at his knees by this point in proceedings.

Next up is new track ‘I’m A Girl,’ quickly followed by the intricately crafted ‘California Daze,’ a lullaby of epic proportions that would bring a tear to even the hardiest of eyes. You can almost smell the passion as Harrison whispers of a girl who ‘tastes of sunlight’ and ‘who’s always going to be there in the back of your mind.’ Capping the evening off perfectly is ‘World Pleasure’ – a Pet Shop Boys-esque, life-affirming elegy to everything that Peace stand for: a life lived in the pursuit of hedonism and the intoxication of youth, completely at odds with the constant rhetoric of doom-and-gloom that seeks to engulf 21st century Britain.

With lyrical ambition that seemingly knows no bounds, and the ability to captivate an audience and caress thethrough a performance overflowing with hits, this is a band that cannot afford to be ignored. To put it quite simply: Peace absolutely fucking killed it.

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