I have to say, Portsmouth really is a lovely town, I was pleasantly surprised at how picturesque it looked, basking in the evening sun. This scene appeared particularly appropriate for seeing a band like Peace play live: soothing, occasionally feeling some intense heat on the back of your neck, but for the most part genuinely pleasant. However, it turned out to be everything but ‘peace’ful.
Even now, I still can’t quite fathom out how anybody would think that moshing was a suitable thing to do when listening to the indie rock/pop music Peace play. Perhaps the ‘wildest’ it gets is during ‘1998’, and yet the feverish jumping and bumping was almost consistent throughout the entire set. It’s possible the answer was that the primary age group appeared to be 14 to 15 year olds, perhaps going to their first ever gig, who believed that every live music act must be accompanied by a mosh-pit and ‘Ring of Death’. Don’t get me wrong, they seemed passionate enough about the band; with the only ticket-holders lining up being of that fan-group. But, when I expected the audience to be dancing and swaying in collective harmony, it was a shock that it became possibly the craziest gig I’ve ever been to. This may make me sound rather old, but I just don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I would have if the atmosphere had suited the music more.
The venue, on the other hand, suited the band nicely, it was spacious enough to allow songs such as ‘Delicious’ to bounce rhythmically off the walls, yet intimate enough for ‘Float Forever’ to be as soul tugging as usual. The quality of Peace’s performance was Impressive, making it difficult to find any musical fault, although their interaction with the manic crowd was limited to the occasional generic questions from vocalist Harry. Aside from that, the group appeared almost completely oblivious to the chaos taking place below them. However, I especially enjoyed ‘Wraith’, as it’s one of my favourite tracks from their album: it had a seductive, energetic vibe. But it was ‘California Daze’ that eventually achieved that high-point, as it concluded what had seemed like a full on battle-scene with a gentle, calming haze, possibly because the crowd had finally seemed to wear themselves out.
I didn’t necessarily have a bad time when watching Peace play; on the contrary they are a talented band, with the ability to execute their recorded material perfectly in a live performance. But, it was just a shame that the mood was marred so much by the overly-aggressive crowd, when really I would have preferred to feel ‘In-Love’, rather than in pain.
Check out the video for ‘Bloodshake’ below. You can also read an interview with Peace before their gig at The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, here.