To make it up to their fans after the delayed release of second LP Happy People , Peace are currently on an extensive tour of small venues ahead of larger dates later in the year, including a stop at Brixton Academy. After a break for European shows, the band returned to Newcastle’s Cluny for a three night stint in the city.
With all three shows selling out well in advance, The Cluny is heaving with fans well before support band Yak takes to the stage. A quick search online provides refreshingly little on the London three-piece, but over the course of their half hour set show they are a band to keep an eye on. Frontman Oli Burslem leads the band through a set of demented, grooving Garage Rock stormers, complete with splashes of swirling, filthy organ. Sections of the crowd, those swayed to Peace’s sometimes lush, sugary side are evidently put off, while others remain hypnotized by the band’s rhythm section and highly watchable frontman who writhes and squirms to his Stratocaster’s squall. Much has been made of the state of British rock music lately, and it is bands such as Yak who show apparent ‘saviours’ Royal Blood to be, above all else, boring. Yak are a band with real dirt under their fingernails, and a band to get truly excited about.
Stepping on stage to chants of ‘BOY-CIE! BOY-CIE!’ its clear Peace are in a celebratory mood, leaping straight into ‘Follow Baby’ and grungy Happy People track ‘I’m A Girl’. Ever the crowd pleaser, frontman Harrison Kossier wears a t shirt with ‘Brace Yourself For Perfection’ emblazoned across the chest. The phrase sets the tone for the gig- Peace are an effortless live band.
With the band up for it and the audience bouncing along from the start, the gig is a riotous and hugely entertaining affair. With ‘Gen Strange’ the band finds their groove. Kossier splashes water over the sweltering crowd, many of them clambering up onto stage for a brief moment before diving back to the audience. The crowd lap up every pose by Harrison or Bonham-esque fill by drummer Dom Boyce, whose grin gleams throughout the set. To say the audience are totally in love with Peace is an understatement, every track is punctuated by screams of ‘HARRY!’ or efforts to reach out and grab the bands long haired guitar shaman Doug. During the encore break, efforts to grab guitar picks from the stage result in the whole mic stand being dragged into the audience.
Peace are well aware of this frenzied devotion they create, and work their setlist around it. After the arms aloft sing-a-long of ‘California Daze’ the band send the audience delirious with the one-two punch of ‘1998’ and ‘Bloodshake’. Both songs could easily end the set, and Peace drop them in the middle. The band show that there is serious technical ability behind their juvenile image on the wig-outs during ‘Bloodshake’, dropping hints of Led Zeppelin into the spiralling instrumentation. As expected, the crowd completely lose their minds, the cosy venue throbbing with energy.
After highlight ‘Higher Than The Sun’, the band end their set on Happy People’s closing track, ‘World Pleasure’. Midway through, Sam Kossier steps up to the spotlight and into the crowd for his bass solo, hardly containing his smile as the crowd grab at him. What follows seems to be Peace at their purest. The outro mixes the anthemics of Loaded-era Primal Scream and the exuberant ambition of The Stone Roses ‘I Am The Resurrection’. The band drag it on for as long as they can, completely loving it. Afterwards the audience are wide-eyed, stunned and euphoric.
‘Brace Yourself For Perfection’, indeed.