Peace @ O2 Academy Oxford – 26/04/2013

Peace, the four piece band out of the Midlands are currently on their UK tour promoting their debut album In Love, released recently via Columbia Records, and did us the good grace of stopping by the O2 Academy Oxford last Friday. Upstairs at the O2 Academy is always a night that commands my attention and last Friday was no different. When offered the opportunity to go and see Peace, a little voice on my shoulder said, “A bunch of hippies singing about love and drugs and stuff…why not!”. After a conversation with a few friends who are much cooler than me, I was informed that Peace are one of the new cutting edge Indie acts that I had to go and see and I was eager to hear NME’s next “important” artists. I had heard the name, but little else and decided that it would be an interesting opportunity to go in totally blind. Before Friday, I had not heard a single track by the band and now I have listened to the album many times since!

The support act, JAWS, showed glimmers of a well put together band but lacked conviction and any sort of presence on stage. The drummer, Eddy Geach, deserves a special mention though as he really brought the music alive and pushed their sound relentlessly into the crowd. The band still has a long way to go on the live performance side of things and is in desperate need of a front man to grab it by the horns and bring the whole thing together.

When Peace took to the stage, the atmosphere stepped up a few gears to say the least. The sense of urgency to their music was infectious and lead singer and guitarist, Harrison Koisser had the entire room captivated in a matter of moments. The thing that really stuck with me was the variety throughout the set. After each song, I caught myself thinking “what is going to happen next?” which, in my opinion is an integral part of the enjoyment of live music.

I was reminded of The Cure, Foals and Fleet Foxes throughout the set with their own stamp on every track and some massive choruses that were duly amplified by the willing crowd. Perhaps one of my favourite moments was towards the very end of the gig when, what started out to be an upbeat indie tune evolved into a psychedelic mash of intense guitar solos and swirl of noise resonating throughout my brain for a good five minutes. Completely unexpected, but totally wonderful to listen to.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and it was clear that the whole band was having a great time. Peace create and play their music not to be alternative, different or as hipster as possible, (despite what the awkward, rather grubby hipster kids in the crowd might have argued) but because they love what they are doing, and so do I. There have been very few occasions where I have gone to see a band that I know absolutely nothing about and I highly recommend that people take the opportunity should it arise. You might just discover something remarkable.