As I trotted down the stairs to Leeds Met’s basement music venue, the double doors flung open and spewed out a throng of sweaty, gasping adolescents, many lacking shirts, but bringing with them that warm smell of bodies in close proximity that have been doused with a plastic pint of lager sailing through the air.
Before I was entirely subsumed by the crowd, they divided in equal parts towards the bar, the toilets and the merch stand. A glance at the latter revealed that Peace’s support was Drenge, a glance inward told myself I was foolish for not reading the stage times properly, and a glance at the cheering gaggle of people confirmed that they’d put on a rather good show. Not an official review, but rather likely.
Nonetheless, Peace put on a fine show too. A band that earnt their stripes from playing gigs across Birmingham, and now beyond, their songs are far more energetic, larger and consuming in a live setting. They’re helped by a crowd that know the words to every song, and are brave enough to start their jumping-up-and-down enthusiasm in the first verse of opener ‘Waste of Paint’ and maintain it through to the encore, ‘Bloodshake’. They’re also helped by kind venue staff who don’t feel the need to drag people on shoulders to the floor by their earlobes.
Lead singer-guitarist Harry Koisser doesn’t say much, instead filling the time with woozy sing-a-long numbers from their debut album In Love, and some guitar fun that verges between Battles, Tame Impala and almost Unknown Mortal Orchestra. At times, his voice strays in to a nineties Noel Gallagher-esque enunciation and swagger – but it soon returns to being sweeter, more laid back, more suited to the psychedelic songs and lights that have got the crowd swaying, arm in arm. ‘Lovesick’ and ‘Float Forever’ are particularly anthemic, but without being boisterous. It’s all much more infectious and fun than one would expect from the album.
Between two songs, the crowd either started chanting ‘you’re shit’ or ‘Yorkshire’, but I’m not sure which. ‘Yorkshire’ doesn’t make much sense to shout at a band who are very much assimilated with their West Midlands hometown and its scene. Then again, ‘you’re shit’ doesn’t make much sense to shout at a band who, quite clearly, are not.By Alice Lawrence