Live: Peace @ Northcote Social Club – 14/09/13

Peace, the quartet from Worcester, dribbled onto the famous Northcote Social Club band room stage for their first Australian show on Saturday evening. Many of those in the crowd had heard whispers throughout 2012 of this up-and-coming British indie rock outfit, and their intrigue had been vindicated with their electric debut album In Love, which followed their EP release Delicious just over 12 months ago. Their rapid rise to prominence comes on the back of an eclectic mix of feisty, high-impact rock songs such as “Lovesick” and “Wraith”, and the dreamy ocean vibes of “California Daze”, one of my favourite tracks of 2012.The delay of Peace’s set allowed me to take in much of Queensland outfit Millions’ performance. While lacking the stage presence that made Peace so compelling, their set showed why they are growing in stature in the Australian garage rock scene. Musically, they have produced a discography that is diverse and interesting for the listener. Tracks such as “Slow Burner” and “Champagne” were the highlights of my first live experience of the band. Their musical style allows similarities to be drawn with Weezer and Arctic Monkeys, particularly when considering Dominic Haddad’s vocals, which invite comparisons to Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner. His voice initially grated on me, but throughout their set I became intrigued by it. He, like the band, has a unique sound that sets them apart from other bands that are built in a similar mould. They’re also a handsome group of lads who will win the hearts of many throughout their travels.However, it was Peace who most of the crowd had come along to witness. They opened the set with “1998 (Delicious)”, a cover of the huge Binary Finary banger which certainly did wash away any doubts of their ability to produce a huge sound. The beauty of the Northcote is the consistently good sound quality and that ridiculous scent that has been stagnating in the joint for years, which is kind of inviting. Peace’s set reminded me of endearing memories, with songs from their recent album release including “Float Forever”, reminiscent of Oasis’ “Stand by Me”, and of course the brilliant “California Daze”—it allowed those watching to simply drift along with vocalist Harry Koisser’s sentimental musings about “the diamonds in the dark” and those girls “who taste like sunlight”.Their music grasps at varied influences, which is what makes them an interesting band to listen to. The lyrical content of the music is not overly stimulating, but it works for them. “Follow Baby” is an infectious jam that combines brooding guitars with the hopeful call to “live forever baby/we’ll go deep, deep, deep”. The content isn’t challenging but the sound is rich and Koisser’s delivery is sincere and meaningful. The guitar arrangements varied from calypso to zany psychedelia and Dominic Boyce’s drumming was outstanding. Other highlights included smash hits “Lovesick” and “Wraith”. Peace didn’t adhere to the encore protocol (the dying art of the 21st century) and their set was relatively brief; however, it was punchy enough to illustrate the potential of this young band. The group have approached their music in a way that is both brash and innovative, and with time I’d expect the lyrical content of their music to further broaden their sound.by William Balme

September 19th 2013
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