REVIEW: Peace – Empire Hall, Belfast

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‘DSAS’ or more commonly known as the ‘difficult second album syndrome’ is the tongue in cheek term placed on bands who have achieved commercial or critical success with their debut release and therefore run the risk of falling short of expectations with their follow up.

Peace will be hoping to avoid this pitfall as they brought the tour of their second album ‘Happy People’ to Belfast. 

Supporting on the night were local band, ‘The Late Twos’. Too often, touring headlining acts sweep into town bringing with them the ‘recommended’ support band. Too often, these bands are bland and spot fillers or somehow have landed on the same bill despite their difference in musical styles, genres or even talents. However, not in this instance. Tonight’s support act were a obvious well thought out choice, and one that got the crowd primed and ready for the main attraction.

As I arrived, I could hear from two streets away that The Late Twos were already on stage. From the start, a two deep layer of teenage fans had lined the front of the stage in anticipation and they were not let down. The Late Twos set the scene well with their upbeat indie pop sound. With two EP’s already under their belt, they treated the crowd to some of the best tracks in their short slot. Rumbling through tracks such as ‘Sierra Leone’, ‘Lanna True’ and ‘Not Gunna Stop This Dance’ the gathering crowd were whipped up into an interim frenzy.

Led on stage by charismatic front man Matty Legge, the band are not short of confidence and they have a swagger that was backed up by catchy and anthemic sing along tracks that resonated the building. They left the crowd wanting more.

peacebandWith the young, mostly teenage crowd gathering to make a three quarters full Empire Music Hall, Peace took to the stage. The band wasted no time with pleasantries and delivered tracks ‘Waste of Paint’ and ‘Follow Baby’. Making no distinction between old and new tracks the band continued to deliver track after track to the responsive crowd who took every opportunity to rock, sway and bounce.

They continued their set with ‘Perfect Skin’, ‘California Daze’ and ‘Bloodshake‘. It was during the latter track that the talents of this foursome really came to the forefront. Playing almost a jamming musical interlude the band were able to showcase their muscianship as well as their knack of writing catchy, fun indie rock songs. It was also that this point that comparisons could be drawn to better known established bands such as The Maccabees. Indeed some of the riffs throughout extended plays of their tracks had a Foals-esque feel to them and this can only be a good thing.

Before long the encore arrived and as the band struggled to exit and return to the relatively small stage, lead man, Harry Koisser made a remark that suggested he was not enjoying playing the small intimate venue just as much as the audience enjoyed having them.

Despite this, Peace ended on a high, rounding off the night with tracks, ‘Lovesick’, ‘I’m a Girl’ and finally ‘World Pleasure’ and it was in this final song of the encore that a number of the exuberant young crowd members decided to join the band on stage to dance along and take selfies, which only added to the pageantry of the night.

As for Peace having any difficulties with second albums, there is none. Both their albums, old and new are similar in style and content and this extends to the quality of them too. Heavily supported by musical publications and other media, these guys clearly have something special. The fact that they have a young following is a symbol of their appeal and that they are current and fresh. What is also clear is that they have the potential to go on to become something even bigger. Michael Chapman, GiggingNI.com