Peace - Exchange, Bristol

It's all about Clean Bandit, Sam Smith and Calvin Harris, right? But a guitar band that want to kick up a fuss, ruffle some feathers and make a name for themselves? For a while in 2013 it seemed like Peace would be that band: their debut got decent reviews, hitting the giddy heights of number 16 - but then disappeared from the charts. It’s not easy to shift albums even over the short term. Undaunted, the Brum foursome have continued to keep a presence through their brain dumps of grammatically wayward social media updates.

Rumours of a quick-fire second LP became rife early last year, and now we’re here, a not-so-quick two years after their debut with Happy People just weeks away. The band are on the road whipping up excitement; it feels like they’re really giving it a real go and trying something different: two shows on consecutive nights in most cities, three nights in Manchester, Nottingham and Norwich. Excitingly, most dates are sold out. You feel like the boys are onto something here. There’s hope yet.

Led by the wonderfully coiffed Harry Kossier, they’re confronted by an audience of students ready to rock. The mosh pit is full, pints are being downed, there’s a sense of excitement. And then… a slow start. Three tunes come and go, there are a couple of quiet 'thank you’s' and Kossier seems more worried about the sound levels of his in-ear monitors than getting the party started. Slowly though they focus and they start to feed off the energy in the room. About a third of the way in, things really get going on new track ‘Lost On Me’, and from there on it’s thrilling stuff. Kossier attacks ‘Money’ - with its combination of 80’s guitar licks and 90’s indie melodies - with venom. ‘Waste Of Paint’ is more mature and better paced than the recorded version. ‘Wraith’ is a funky, bass-riffing delight and ‘1998 (Delicious)’ is ten minutes of wondrous prog rock that showcases how tight and fantastic they can be as a live act. Three new songs - ‘World Pleasure’, ‘Gen Strange’ and the distorted rock of ‘I’m A Girl’ - show real promise.

The reaction from the sweaty mess of crowd-surfing, arm-waving bodies that is front of the small room really gets the blood pumping; the group sing-along of ‘Float Forever’ sends a shiver down the spine. Whilst it’s true that originality isn’t their thing, that would be to miss the point. Peace have plenty in their arsenal: catchy melodies, room-rocking riffs, singable choruses. Time was that’d take you far enough.

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Category Gig Review

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