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Peace at Brixton Academy

JAMES DUTTON reviews Birmingham outfit Peace, playing at the Brixton Academy on the 9th of October.

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7.45PM arrives, marking three quarters of an hour since the doors of Brixton Academy were opened. The throngs of eager teens are still queuing for what Peace frontman Harrison Koisser claims to be ‘the biggest show we’ve ever done.’ This London date is part of their second UK tour this year, following a near sold out run that spanned from January to March in celebration of their latest release, sophomore album Happy People. Inside, support acts Yak and Splashh tear at a bare stage above a bubbling swamp of already sweaty crowd members; outside circles of excited 16-year-olds gather around plastic water bottles of vodka, anxious to get inside and join the festering crowd before Peace begin their set at 9.15.

Appearing on stage among silhouettes on a silk screen, Peace begin their set with the chimes of ‘O You’, the opening track from their latest album Happy People. A collage of phone screens obscure the stage as the band pace through their hit-fuelled set; refracted images of brothers Harrison and Sam reach the anxious crowd as they twist and turn before a yellow backdrop bearing the band’s famous logo. Singles both new and old fill Peace’s setlist: upcoming ‘Perfect Skin’ climaxes to the shouts of the crowd whilst ‘Follow Baby’, the band’s first official single released in 2012, still continues to prompt three straight minutes of mayhem.

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Claiming not to be one for mid-set chat, Harrison Koisser concisely addresses the growing issue of sexual harassment at busy shows as ‘completely unacceptable’ before the chaotic single ‘I’m A Girl’, forcing his audience to once again jump along to fuzzy guitars and catchy, yet serious, choruses of ‘Do you feel like a man, cause you got blood on your hands?’ Clearly prepped with prefabricated opening lines, Peace break their silence between songs infrequently but perfectly: ‘Who’s brought a map? Cause this one’s “Lost On Me’’. The song slides the set into a dance-like feel as the band continue to merge heavy hitting and disjunct solos with uplifting motifs.

Characteristic of their live shows, Peace bombard their audience with an expertly gratuitous performance; solos on acoustic guitar and overextended songs keep the crowd alive as the set nears its end, whilst frontman Harrison interrupts the drop of crowd favourite ‘1998with a rendition of the classical piece ‘Romance Anónimo.’ Peace shine brighter than the flashes of iPhone cameras throughout their set as they end with ‘World Pleasure’, a six-minute long mix of synths, driving guitars and repeating bass lines that leave Brixton Academy broken as the band leave the stage in triumph.

Photo credits: Zak Macro via the photographer’s Facebook profile.