Out of all the gigs i have booked this year, it was Peace @ Manchester Academy I was most looking forward to. After seeing them support Bombay Bicycle Club last December I could not wait to see them once again and knew I would not be disappointed. In fact, in the 10 month gap since seeing them last the band has only gotten better and better.
Following excellent support from YAK and Splashh (which I sadly missed most of), Peace took to the stage and launched into the opener of their 2nd album ‘O You’ and followed this with crowd pleaser and their well known older track ‘Wraith’. Every song they played the crowd responded perfectly, the whole venue was dancing and singing along to every lyric that exited Harry Koisser’s mouth. The quiet moments between songs were filled with chants of ‘Peace Peace Peace’ and ‘Manchester la la la’ keeping the entire place in a constant buzz. Around five tracks in Harry swapped his electric guitar for an acoustic and gave the flood of people a moment to breath in the humid and sweaty venue as he sang slower tracks Someday, Under the Moon and a striped back version of Float Forever. For me this was one of my highlights of the gig as the whole venue swayed with their arms in the air. I’m pretty sure I saw a few lighters too.
As always with Peace, their cover of Binary Finary’s 1998 was a huge success. The constant changes and juxtapositions of tempo threw the crowd from one end of the spectrum to the other: loosing their shit in a giant mosh pit at one point to standing still and swaying as the guitars slowed into a Pink Floyd-esque guitar solo. To a surprise the well known drop in the music was cunningly replaced with the famous guitar riff from Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple which everyone instantly recognised and sang along to.
Peace then changed their game as the intro of Bloodshake was unrecognisable to fans and sounded more like it could have been featured on Foals’ album Antidotes. However as soon as the main opening chords were played the audience screamed in anticipation and shouted the chords in response. You see one of the reasons Peace fans are my favourite is due to their habit of singing along to the guitar chords and not just the lyrics.
Showing he cared about the audience Harry asked if everyone was hydrated and threw his water bottle into the crowd as an attempt of trying to find some water. Saturday Girl was the only track which received mixed signals from the fans as it is known to be not everyone's favourite B Side from Happy People- I would have preferred to see Imaginary or Flirting USA to be honest. However this controversial issue didn't stop most the crowd from singing along and having a good time.
During Lost on Me the mosh pit in the centre seemed to take over more and more space as a circle pit was formed in the venue. Here I was dragged along with the current of people and everyone jumped in as the chorus kicked in. However the space closed in afterwards causing California Daze to feel more like a near death experience than an enjoyable one. Still, with half the crowd on shoulders and swaying it was still a memorable experience and a great way to end the main part of Peace’s set.
As the crowd screamed for more, the band returned with an extended intro to Lovesick, which was then followed by Higher than the Sun, both causing the crowd to mosh as if their lives depended on it. World Pleasure brought the night to a truly perfect end as Harry introduced his brother Sam and the unforgettable Bass Solo kicked in- thus confirming that Peace are one of the best guitar pop bands around today.