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Peace - O2 Academy, Birmingham - 27th April 2013 (Live Review)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013 Written by Emma Dodds

Most bands I really like have already released an album (or a few) and had a few tours. There’s not been very many occasions where I’ve been able to say “yeah, I was there at the beginning”. It grates on me a bit, because there are those annoying people in the world that think, just because they discovered the band before they were famous, they are a bigger fan than you. It’s very silly and childish. But it must be a nice feeling to see something you care a lot about grow into something big.

That’s how I felt when I saw Peace on Saturday in Birmingham.

I first heard of them after one of the Radio 1 presenters (I think Huw Stevens) played 'Follow Baby' on their show about a year ago. And now look at them! A debut album (read Stereoboard's review here) and a tour in full swing.

Peace are supported by Superfood on this tour. They were surprisingly proficient players. That’s not offence to them, I just mean that I haven’t often seen many support acts that I would actually listen to again, so I will definitely check them out and would advise anyone to do the same.

Peace started off with 'Delicious', which I was quite surprised about as I thought they might start with one of their lighter tracks, like maybe 'Higher Than The Sun'. 'Delicious' was absolutely amazing and full of energy, and I love that cowbell-type, knocking noise played throughout the song, it’s great.

They then played 'Follow Baby', which, for me, is kind of like the figurehead track. Like I said before, it’s the first song I ever heard by them and is the one that got me really into them. I often wonder whether the songs that get me interested in bands are the same ones as everyone else. This sounded absolutely amazing live, especially the chorus.

In the generation of Dubstep and Drum and Bass, it’s quite refreshing to hear such mature songwriting and playing of instruments for people that are still quite young. Again, no offence intended whatsoever, I simply mean that this isn’t as commonly known to come quite so easily and early on for bands.

'Lovesick' was next. A really light-hearted song to break things up after the heaviness of 'Follow Baby'. I will admit, it was not one of my favourites on the album, but it did fit in really well at this point. You could hear everyone singing along in the verses where the music isn’t so heavy, which was great as well.

Peace give off this feel of being awesome and absolutely knowing it. Not in a pig-headed way, but in a good arrogant way. They totally deserve to feel like that anyway. They convey this kind of nonchalant confidence which I really enjoy. They didn’t stop and chat with the audience after every single song like some bands, which can get annoying after a while, but it definitely felt as though they were performing for us, and not for themselves. They kept us in the loop.

They then played 'Waste of Paint', which was fantastic live, and a little bit Oasis-y, which I loved. A nice surprise! They then slowed things down with 'Float Forever', which was beautiful. Again, everyone sang along with this one. It must be a great feeling to have people sing along to songs from your debut album at a sold out gig, in your hometown no less. It sounded beautiful, a definite highlight of the night.

It seemed that I really quite wrongly judged Peace’s fans. I was expecting the venue to be full of people my age, roughly early 20’s, but actually there were more younger and older people than there were people my age. 

'Higher Than The Sun' always gets me really pumped and excited, it’s just a perfect track and will definitely be a big summer song this year. 'Toxic' I again didn’t love when I heard it on the album, but live it was pretty good. It’s got one bit in it that I do really like, and I was happy to hear that live; the bit just before the chorus with the lyrics: “People tell me things about you/Like you're toxic, it's no good/I'd never wanna break that daze/So cut loose and blow away”. There’s just something about it that I really like.

They then played a song that I had never heard before. I somehow missed 'Scumbag'. In all honesty, I don’t think I was really missing out. Peace, if you’re reading this, know that I love you. I just don’t love this song. For me, it was repetitive and a bit boring, and I was just waiting for the next song really.

Throughout the gig, there were a couple of occasions where the drummer, Dominic Boyce, started the song off before the others had started. It is often the case that guitarists will lead everyone in by playing a bit of the riff that is recognisable to everyone, to get you excited about the upcoming song, but I don’t think drummers do it that much. So it was nice to hear, as he is a very proficient drummer, and very talented. As they all are.

The next song was another of the stand-out tracks for me on the album, and it did not disappoint! The opening riff and atmospheric drumming of 'Wraith' kicked off and the place exploded. The moshers at the front went crazy, and at the chorus everyone was jumping. As they should. Just fantastic.

The track they played next I knew I had vaguely listened to, as it was announced as being from the 'Delicious' EP, which I have played a few times. However, I didn’t immediately recognise '1998 (Delicious)'. It was absolutely insane. I don’t know how I missed it! My mate and I both turned to each other and compared it to Pink Floyd, with the long intro and long instrumental parts. There’s also something that the Floyd drummer does; they kind of build each 4 bars or so up, and then there’s a big crash of drums (think the last minute or so of 'Comfortably Numb'). It was captivating.

They then left the stage for a couple of minutes, and came back on for an encore which started off with 'California Daze', which was just absolutely lovely. There’s no other word for it. Everyone was singing along again, and there was just this great sense of unity that I feel you can only get from being at a gig. The harmonies in the song are just beautiful, but they’re a bit high so I was worried how Peace would fare when performing them live, but they did a stellar job and sounded perfect.

They ended the show with “an old one”, as Harry described it, and since they hadn’t played 'Bloodshake' yet, my mate and I thought this could be the one. They then started playing 'Ain’t No Mountain' which was confusing and disappointing… And then launched straight into the familiar Two Door Cinema Club-esque opening riff of 'Bloodshake'. Great song, great performance, great way to finish things off. It got everyone jumping again. I just love that “We spit blood at the sun” line, and it sounded fantastic live. That breakdown at the end was just brilliant, everyone was moving and just absolutely loving it.

Peace may not have the biggest repertoire at the moment, although I’m sure this will change very soon, but I actually liked it that they didn’t have as many songs to choose from, as it means that you’re not disappointed if they don’t play one of your favourites that’s not as popular, which tends to happen quite a lot. At the end of the show, there was a definite sense of history in the making. There are big and exciting things on the way for Peace, and I can’t wait to see them.


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