The Fleece in Bristol is an intimate venue that has achieved somewhat of a legendary status, with the likes of Oasis, Muse, and Amy Winehouse gracing it with their presence. Upon arrival it seemed very suited to an evening that fans have come to expect from Peace; it’s small and dark, but there’s a high energy and room to move around. It’s one room, with one bar. It’s more old school than many venues I’ve been to recently, and it was exciting to get back to basics.
Getting back to basics was definitely what I feel was provided by the evening; back to basics of course without any loss of talent or enjoyment. The only way for the boys to get to the stage was through the crowd itself - there was no backstage grand appearance. Wearing his now iconic furry jacket, Harry jumped up on stage, followed by his three band mates, all equally cool in the face of a screaming reception from the crowd.
In my opinion, the opening three songs from the setlist were so good it was almost dangerous. Opening with three classics, three crowd pleasers, three of the most well-known and loved Peace songs, was a bold and excellent move that seemed to cause a chemical reaction in the crowd. The energy that appeared out of nowhere was remarkable. Higher Than The Sun, Lovesick, and Follow Baby came out one after the other in full force, and the crowd jumped in time for all three songs - it was enough to put The Fleece somewhere on the Richter Scale. Is that too corny a reference? Are geography jokes too niche? Whatever. It was mildly-earthquake worthy, and seeing so many teens jumping and screaming their favourite lyrics in a sweaty room along to grunge-y guitars and high energy Brit-pop is live music in Britain at its most organic.
O You, Gen Strange, and Lost on Me followed, and while the somewhat ridiculous energy of the opening tracks didn’t accompany these newer songs with the same fervour, the crowd was most definitely on the band’s side. New tracks appeared less grunge and perhaps lean in a more pop style direction, but it’s no bad thing, and it’s still quite clearly Peace; signature, youthful aspiration in the lyrics accompanied by old school guitars. It’s not a drastic change, but it is an evolution, a move forward. The crowd were eager to hear the songs from the new album, Happy People, and the boys seemed keen to play them. The energy remained fairly constant throughout, from the very front of the room all the way to the back.
Bloodshake and Wraith were received with the same cheering ecstasy as the gig openers; it was ridiculous fun and genuinely a high level performance from every band member. There wasn’t a lull or a pause or a boring moment, and if there were any bum notes or missed introductions then they went entirely unnoticed. While they did exceptionally well supporting Bombay Bicycle Club on their most recent tour, it’s definitely clear that when Peace play as a headline act, they are doing what they do best; that is, exhausting everyone as brilliantly as they possibly can, all on their own. Their upcoming sophomore album is definitely one to keep an eye on.