Peace, Splashh, YAK: O2 Academy, Liverpool

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Peace

Peace

As Peace launch into their new tour, starting off at the O2 Academy on a clammy Thursday evening, Getintothis’  Del Pike gives them the once over and finds some true gems amongst their set.

Spotting the huge queue outside the academy tonight for the first night of the Peace tour came as a surprise. While they have released a seemingly endless stream of singles with increasingly impressive promos they still appear to be somewhat under the radar, but the Liverpool student fraternity would clearly tell us different as Peace once again played to a packed house on Merseyside.

London based Yak, who impressed at Sound City this year, were already wailing as we entered, and what an incredible racket they make. Meeting at a point somewhere between Can and early Floyd, they sound so much bigger than a 3 piece. Their songs may not be so well crafted but when the psychedelic wig-outs start, shit can they play. Oliver Burslem has all the makings of a guitar legend, and drummer Elliot Rawson clearly enjoys beating the crap out of his kit to the point where the set is closed only when the drums are in pieces all over the floor. An explosive performance that gives Peace something to live up to.

Before that, Splashh appear and have an international flavour despite their Hackney home-base with vocalist Sasha Carlson hailing from New Zealand and guitarist Toto Vivian coming from Italy, but their sound is unmistakably UK indie. Rolling up with some I Wanna Be Adored shimmery guitars, that see the band languishing in pure clean 80s independence, their influences vary with Happy Mondays maracas, Ride vocals and their final flourish; a semi anthemic closer with blatant New Order synth lines. Like Girls’ Names, Splashh get away with the homage hugging approach.

After much Seven Nation Army terrace chanting Peace emerge and are immediately greeted with great enthusiasm. The feeling in the hot sweaty crowd tonight is distinctly positive and Peace open with a run of obvious hits to get their fans surging. O You kicks off with its “trying to change the world” message with Wraith and Follow Baby in hot pursuit, the latter nodding lovingly towards Nirvana. Peace are much more energetic playing live, and even the methodical Money manages to excite beyond its recorded expectations.

The band seem comfortable with their ‘just on the outside of cool’ appearance, resembling at times the band from Wayne’s World, all long hair and inappropriate shirts, but it kind of works. Indie pop needs its sideliners, much like Mansun back in the day, perfect for indie kids who like their music edgy but not too leftfield. Their stage presence is on the button too, coming across as amiable despite limited talk between songs, “How y’ doin?” wearing a bit thin after the tenth song.

Everything is going fine until Harry Koisser digs out an acoustic and slows the set down with a few too many ballads. Happy People and Sunday are acceptable mood changers, but the interminable Saturday Girl sends hordes fleeing for the bar and toilets and the momentum is gone. It takes a while to win the crowd back with the brilliant Gen Strange single and the place is hopping again. The set ends with the dreamy Lennon-like California Daze and they are gone.

A short encore satisfies more than adequately. They don’t care if Monday’s blue, Tuesday’s grey and Wednesday too they borrow The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love with no shame and present it as Lovesick, but hey, it’s a great song and everyone loves it. World Pleasure is also a brilliant song and closes the night on a high.

A little rough around the edges as they ease into the tour, but some great highlights too. Peace have some good songs under their belts after only two albums and we think their best is yet to come.

Pictures by Getintothis’ John Johnson.

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