Words by Lauren Hague
The Worcester indie outfit Peace have finally returned from their hiatus. Their current tour followed shortly after the band’s shock announcement to fans that the previously established four-piece was now a two-piece due to the departure of drummer Dominic Boyce, as well as guitarist Douglas Castle. Remaining members (and brothers) Sam Koisser (bass) and Harry Koisser (vocals) triumphed at Manchester’s New Century Hall despite being impaired by the absence of previous members, bringing old fan favourites and new tunes alike to the stage.
Peace kicked things off with the 2013 indie sleaze single ‘Follow Baby’, drawing queues away from the bars and getting vocal cords warmed up ready to belt their old-favourite songs. The tour, which was deemed by the group’s marketing team to be “a celebration of the band’s very meaningful step into their new era”, appeared to miss this intention. The “new era” was overshadowed by the nostalgia associated with the group’s back catalogue. This being said, the new single ‘Happy Cars’, favouring toned-down, electro-pop production, certainly stood out against older classics but, unfortunately, failed to engage the audience in the way that hits like ‘California Daze’ did.
The rowdiness of the crowd was what truly made the gig what it was: a nostalgic celebration of live music and a reflection on the music many of Peace’s audience went through their teenage years listening to. Crowd participation didn’t end at the roaring echoes of every lyric, or the movement of mosh-pits amongst the crowd, as the band opted to include a fan onstage to cover none other than, fittingly, nostalgic-pop classic ‘Teenage Dream’ by Katy Perry. Coincidentally, it happened to be super-fan Katie who was pulled up onto the stage from her space on the barricade to offer a karaoke-style performance.
Peace’s most favoured mainstream hit, ‘Lovesick’, was saved for the show’s encore, delivering by far the largest reception of the night. The 2013 upbeat love song saw an additional spike in success following its feature in the popular coming-of-age Netflix series Heartstopper, drawing the attention of younger audiences to Peace who potentially weren’t fortunate enough to discover them in their prime almost a decade earlier.
There was an evident contrast of gig-goers gathered in New Century Hall – consisting of those in their early-to-mid 20’s, re-living their dark-fruits-soaked teenager years, and those currently living out their mid-teens, eager to hear the songs that have soundtracked their favourite storylines on the TV.
Overall, Peace offered an energetic set which cemented their return to touring. However, the group missed out on extending their artistry beyond nostalgia-provoking hits. Peace is a band best enjoyed with a beer in hand.