MUDKISS FANZINE

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PEACE / DRENGE @ THE RITZ, MANCHESTER 11/12/13 – REVIEW BY JAMES LOWTHER

 
Throughout this year Peace have pretty much been NME’s darlings. Their debut album scored a 9/10 and they had the coveted opening spot of NME’s awards tour. And although their live show was definitely impressive, there were a few factors keeping it from being a truly excellent live show.

The most important of which, for me, was definitely how much the support act completely outshone Peace in almost every way. Drenge are easily up there as one of the best live performances that I’ve seen all year. I’d actually seen them earlier this year headlining a tiny show. But their sound translates so much better on a bigger stage, and I’ve never seen a band get a crowd going in quite the same way. Musically, they’re as aggressive and loud as a punk band, and it’s so surprising to hear this kind of sound coming from just two people- a drummer and guitarist. If I was forced to make a comparison I’d say they sound like a cross between The White Stripes and Nirvana; obviously a huge claim to make but their sound is definitely reminiscent of that early nineties grunge. But after being completely blown away by the ferocity of Drenge, it was no surprise that I was left a little disappointed by Peace’s psychedelic indie pop offerings.

It was the crowd that really let down Peace though. It seemed packed to the rafters with 14-16 year olds that thought that ‘moshing’ was something to do at every gig. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be in the thick of a crowd at a gig, but not when they’re forming circle pits during a song like ‘Lovesick’. Peace do have a great sound and it’s clear that their fans are very passionate. I’d heard a couple of their songs before the gig and I was looking forward to hearing what a track like ‘Wraith’ would sound like on a stage, and songs like that definitely did love up to my expectations. But it was still clean, by-the-numbers indie, a pretty stark contrast to Drenge’s intense riffs.

 

I will give Peace something, though, in that I thought their last few tracks were pretty special. The band departed to an excellent song - ‘1998 (Delicious)’ which was powerful, anthemic and did leave a lasting impression. It was sprawling - almost 10 minutes long. It was probably the highlight of the entire gig for me. And for their encore they played a surprisingly impressive cover of ‘Last Christmas’ to add a bit of festive cheer to the affair before ending on arguably their most well known track, ‘Bloodshake’. Other highlights included ‘Follow Baby’, a dream-like song which fuses together the rocky and the psychedelic almost seamlessly. And this is when the band are at their best. Their sound works so much better at full volume, leaving tracks like the Vaccines-esque ‘Lovesick’ and the frankly boring ‘Float Forever’ by the wayside. I’ve got a feeling that when this band sort out their kinks, possibly after the release of their second album, they’ll be an impressive live act. They knew how to have fun on the stage and their show wasn’t terrible by any means, but due to having such a small range of songs to choose from, it seems like a couple of their slower tracks were a bit forced in.

Review by James Lowther
Photos by Melanie Smithwww.mudkissphotography.co.uk (full set)