Review by Charlie Tennant with Photography by Nikki Rodgers

Birmingham welcomes indie rock quartet Peace back for their small, yet mighty ‘world tour’ in their hometown with open arms. Ready for an eclectic mix of nostalgia and a modicum of their latest guitar-driven anthems.

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To announce their triumphant retreat to live performing, the quartet up the ante from the off, and open with a short rendition of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’. Accompanied with a massive wash of colour and impressive sonics, the ‘boys’ took no time in getting their two hour show on the road.

Roaring through the building hears the call-to-arms indie rock anthem, ‘Power’. Marking the group’s return to the art of putting on energy-induced performances. Peace know that they’re on top of the world right now, bringing their guitar-driven masterpiece to a packed O2 Institute. It was a true out and out winner – the hype was booming throughout the venue within minutes, amongst a ground-shaking mosh pit.

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Adding in a never-before-played song pretty early in the set, ‘Flirting USA’ had a sea of phones out and arms waving to capture this iconic moment in the band’s setlist history.

Introducing a slice of their new material, the group play the progressive but relaxed, ‘Silverlined’, which had everyone’s hands waving and bodies moving along to this catchy and memorable tune – combined with a killer guitar solo from Doug Castle that left lasting impressions and hype for the new album.

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Taking a brief interlude from the swaggering rock anthems, Kossier takes centre stage with a smattering trio of solo performances – each song being more upbeat than the last, creating a true sense of anticipation. By this point, Peace had the audience under reigns and start slowly introducing the biblical fan favourite, ‘1998’, from their 2012 EP, ‘Delicious’. Without much time at all, the whole venue burst into action, the energy filling every space, wall to wall.

Although Harrison’s swaggering style and choice of outfit, coupled with some trendy specs, suggest this is a band whose front man can work a crowd – it was unfortunately quite the opposite. There was very little in the way of stagemanship between Harry and his crowd, with the exception of the odd song title and asking how everyone is. For a hometown gig, I would’ve expected to hear more from the band about how they feel when they play at home – however, I suspect being the first instalment of their world tour, the group were keeping to a regimented time plan. In lieu of this we received a truly crammed 2 hour setlist – getting highlights and hidden gems from every album, and the EPs in between.

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‘California Daze’ created a different type of vibe that transported every fan out of rainy and winter-cold Birmingham. Every hand was in the air and every single person screamed the lyrics to the track that reminds everybody why they love Peace. A sea of orange flooded from the lighting to create a warm, sunny evocation of true ‘California days’. It was a beautiful and memorable part of the set.

Bringing the show to a near-end, 2017 single, ‘From Under Liquid Glass’, graces the crowd. The four-piece clearly show that they are capable of creating melancholic tunes as well as those steeped in summery optimism, and the use of a loop also makes for an interesting sound here.

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Rounding the set off with ‘Lovesick’ at the last minute, Koisser notes that he wants Peace to “create a reputation for a band that refuses to get off stage” – combined with the two hour long set that was put on, Koisser is serious – he wants to leave a lasting impression through music and presence alone – which is what, for me, stands out the most about Peace.

Peace certainly know how to put on a rocking performance, though more could have been done to make their stage presence more interesting and memorable. What stands out when listening to Peace is not so much the lyrics or even the vocals, but the music itself, which is fun and energetic, leaving all who listen with a warm, feel-good vibe. From the very start, Peace owned the stage and showed everybody why they remain a great live band in the British indie guitar music scene. The audience were seamlessly united under the roof of Birmingham’s iconic O2 Institute, enjoying the considerate two hour long setlist in high spirits.

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One Response to “Peace at O2 Institute, Birmingham, UK – 24th November 2018”

  1. Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » The Japanese House + Art School Girlfriend at O2 Institute 2, Birmingham, UK – 24th November 2018 Says:

    […] most of Birmingham were either crammed into the German Market, or upstairs downing Red Stripe for Peace’s homecoming gig, deep down below, in the underbelly of the O2 Institute 2, a future star was […]

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