Peace practically emerged to critical acclaim back in early 2012, with the likes of The Guardian, The Fly and the NME immediately signalling them as a tour de force of new indie rock. This momentum has continued with the release of their debut EP EP Delicious in September 2012, and now the release of their debut full length In Love, for which this tour is supporting.
Being heralded as one of the most important bands of 2013 makes for some pretty big shoes to fill, but the sheer excitement and enthusiasm this very young, hip, and wide awake audience have for the band is palpable, and completely backs up the hype. Peace emerge to actual screams from the audience, indicative of both the audience’s age and their literal excitement at seeing this band. The crowd is further enlivened by the opening track, where the group’s 90s influenced afro-beat vibe induces dancing, hands in the air, whoops, cheers and even crowd surfing.
Visually, however, we are presented with little more than four scruffy, shaggy-looking young men, with greasy hair and a bit too much of The Stone Roses about them. They do not particularly put on a “show” either. While they are clearly perfectly competent musicians, and the music itself has plenty of energy, they are to a degree stagnant in their performance, which is punctuated only by vague mumbling addresses to the audience every third or fourth song.
Yet some how Peace really captivates this young audience, and clearly capture the zeitgeist of the current 16 – 24 year old market. The crowd are so palpably enraptured by the music, the lyrics, and generally what the band are about that there is a real, potent atmosphere created between the band and the audience that is something very special.
There is a simplicity to Peace’s music, and particularly their lyrics, which perhaps appeals to this younger mind-set. Songs are based around pretty basic concepts – happiness, love, angst and just having a good time – and the lyrical constructs are often quite basic and repetitive, allowing the audience to easily pick them up and sing along. The music itself is less simple – fusing as it does a mass of styles, genres, techniques and eras. The 90s however is perhaps the most overriding influence, no so much that it sounds throwback or pastiche, but it is the strongest vibe that floats through the way the band both looks and sounds. Looking at the audience however, with their crop tops and blenched denim hot pants, the 90s are in, especially if you cannot remember that questionable decade the first time around.
From a personal perspective, Peace have tonight given a mixed performance, with competent musicianship but a slight lack of musical conviction. They are a young band however, only performing together for little over a year. And it must be said – some tracks (typically the group’s singles) have real charisma, intrigue, and perhaps vague hints of innovation. There are even flashes of brilliance towards the end, with their final track turning into an odyssey of dramatic guitars and dry ice. But it is ultimately the way the audience has connected with this band in such as whole-hearted and complete way that is the real thing to note with this band, and is perhaps the key to their current popularity.