Peace at Whelan’s | Review
If you’re looking for peace, you’ve come to the wrong place. Yeah, Peace are playing here, but you’ll get the opposite of it in feeling. Whelan’s is a perfect venue for this relatively juvenile band. They’re not quite there, but need their space considering puberty is hitting faster than you can say ‘NME bias’. They check all the boxes. Droopy hair falling in front of the lead singer’s face, check. A drummer who looks like he fell out of a wave somewhere, smoked a rake of weed and can just about whack a stick. Check. So NME—and they totally are, having just finished on the magazine’s UK tour with other express darlings, Palma Violets and Miles Kane.
But in the words of Lennon, give Peace a chance. The turnout is fantastic, all crafted indie types but well enthused for the band’s arrival. Clearly, tips have been garnered from their idols, as they appear to have raided every vintage show in Camden, before returning home on a slip-n-slide of pure grease.
It’s hard to describe Peace’s sound. A little bit grunge, a little bit indie, very alternative—Peace somehow mix these often bland genres and make something of their own out of it. They’re very much a band that need to be appreciated live, as songs like these tend to blur on record. But when they’re right there in the flesh, it’s clear to see why their rabid fan base tend to foam at the mouth at the mere mention of them.
Painfully hip front-man Harrison Koisser takes his music seriously. He and his fellow thrifters slouch into a set-list composed of material from their recently released debut album, ‘In Love’. Quality album tracks such as Delicious, Waste of Paint, Toxic, and Float Forever are all played in successive precision, each a highlight in itself. The band look sedately relaxed, we’re baffled as to any particular reasons why… But there’s the feeling that they’re just comfortable there, despite being a relatively new formation—it’s a key factor in their effectiveness, that nonchalant grating of their instruments.
The crowd go mad for Higher than the Sun, a lethargic beach indie pop perfect for the scorcher of a day outside. The 90s teen slasher wail of Wraith gains an even higher momentum with the audience singing along, it’s grating sleaze glorious in every sense of the word. The first single, Follow Baby drips with a skidding grunge bass and a high vocal that makes for a strangely upbeat interval.
California Daze‘s cathartic heart provides a solid encore of dreamy rock that’s scary but doesn’t want you to be scared—the goth guy who always stops to pet the kitty. The tropical thump of Bloodshake‘s addictive riffs beg to be danced to rather than the accepted hippy head nod. Support from the crowd keeps them afloat in a metaphorical crowd surf, if they were like, lame enough to do that. Oh my God.
Peace are over chances. Now they’ve just got something to prove. Laying the foundations with solid gigs like this one, they’ll justify themselves as the critics’ darlings, and become more of the crowd’s.
Photos: Aaron Corr