The hype surrounding Birmingham’s Peace over the last 6 months has undoubtedly led to a sold out audience at The Fleece in Bristol. Filled with a vast mix of ages, I find standing with the more mature ale drinkers a little more comfortable than the large portion of young girls, who were always to be expected at tonight’s show. I turn to my friend and ask him where Big Jeff is; a staple to any Bristol gig and a marker to a show worth seeing. He rightly informs me Big Jeff has ‘done his bit for Peace’ and the band is now too big to warrant his attendance. Heading to the gig tonight I shared a similar feeling and was full of both intrigue and skepticism as to whether the band could live up to the large NME pedestal they’ve been hoisted on.
Peace enter side of stage from their tour bus with Harrison Koisser sporting a very ‘friendly’ looking sailor’s top, clearly identifying himself as the frontman and detracting focus away from his Snape-like head of hair. The percussive backing sample of ‘Delicious’ kicks in and as the band begin to filter in their instruments it’s easy to feel excited about this act.
Pop-sickening ‘Lovesick’ sucks the student section of the crowd in early on with those at the front trying every attempt to be captured on the phone that has been fitted to Harrison’s guitar. The serene ‘Float Forever’ is full of youth and passion, inducing one of the biggest sing-alongs of the night whilst ‘Higher’ and ‘Toxic’ has the melody hungry crowd hanging on for those vocal hooks, warm chord changes and big choruses before raising a hand and forming the mosh pit. As the set unfolds I find myself shouting out 90’s rock and Brit-pop acts as Koisser brothers and Douglas Castle move through various familiar guitar tones and pre-sets. Noticeably ‘Scumbag’ verges on being a tribute to Nirvana whilst other parts of the set nod heavily toward bands such as Suede and Kula Shaker.
Highlights of the evening come in the form of ‘Wraith’ and ‘1998’ with the latter affirming for me that Peace are able to explore music as well as compose slightly formatted and predictable pop-indie songs. I have to admit though that my scepticism died early on in tonight’s gig. Peace not only soared through their debut album In Love, performing each track with energy and natural ease but they did it with real charm. Their persona on stage matched their loveable pop melodies and heading home after the encore of ‘Californian Haze’ and ‘Bloodshake’, I found myself singing along to what felt like my new guilty pleasure. I can honestly say I had a really enjoyable evening.