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Norfolk Tourism Awards

Peace review: The band were in rampant form and played a fantastic set

PUBLISHED: 13:43 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:43 16 May 2018

Peace. Photo: Courtesy of UEA Box Office

Peace. Photo: Courtesy of UEA Box Office

Courtesy of UEA Box Office

Peace, with support from Whenyoung and Zuzu, put on a great show last night at The Waterfront in Norwich.

Last night [May 15] was the second time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Peace perform live since the release of their third studio album ‘Kindness is the New Rock and Roll’ on May 4 this year. Last time was at the Live @ Leeds Festival where they played the O2 Academy to a packed and raucous crowd of 2,300. Tonight was a far smaller, but no less raucous crowd of around 500 so it was interesting to see the difference in the two gigs.

First up let’s get one thing straight. Peace are a fantastic band, and it was disappointing to see them disappear the last couple of years after barnstorming their way to the Reading & Leeds main stage, amongst other huge gigs. It seemed like they were going to be huge, but then they weren’t. Everything was in place for the next quantum leap in their upward trajectory.

So it was great to see them back in Leeds last week, playing to a huge room at absolute capacity. However the band seemed unanimated on stage, slightly nervous, with the lead singer Harry Koisser particularly low key. Were Peace back? I wasn’t sure. The crowd were loving the show, but I wasn’t convinced.

In contrast, this Tuesday night in Norwich the band were in rampant form and played a fantastic set to an extremely receptive and rowdy Waterfront crowd. I’ll tell you now it was perhaps the best gig I’ve been to in Norwich since Palma Violets absolutely obliterated the very same stage back in 2013. And I go to a lot of gigs.

But before I speak too much about Peace I need to mention the two exceptional support acts. First up for the 7.45 slot was Zuzu and her band. They have a very catchy sound, full of powerful vocals and infectious harmonies. Zuzu is a very good front woman with a great voice, confident on stage with a magnetic persona.

She was followed shortly afterwards by Whenyoung. An Irish indie-pop trio fronted by the superb, and fantastically named Aoife Power. She has a great voice which I particularly enjoyed as she sang in her own Irish accent, which when you think about it isn’t actually that common a thing.

Most seem to revert to a standard American accented singing voice as they try to parody what they have heard before. But not Aofie. She is proud of her voice and reminded me of the late, great Dolores O’Riordan, former lead singer of the Cranberries. To be honest it was a comparison I didn’t want to make because it was too easy, until of course five songs in they brilliantly dropped a Cranberries cover.

I have every confidence they will make the big time given Power’s strong presence and obvious talent, their dominant drummer (who I liked to see placed at the front right of the stage, rather than at the back as standard) and the spotlight seeking guitarist striding confidently across the stage and interacting regularly with Power. Of course they are backed up by a strong set of good, super-catchy tunes too.

But then came the main act, and an enormous buzz had built up to for the 9.30 slot, as the lights dipped and the stage was cast in an eerie green light. Peace were in the City and ready to deliver an epic set.

From the very start Koisser owned the stage and showed everybody why he was so highly rated when Peace burst onto the scene back in 2012/13. He has a great voice, he looks the part, and has absolute confidence in himself and his band, (one of which is his brother - Sam Koisser on bass).

I was going to criticise the lack of movement by Sam and his fellow guitarist on the other side of the stage hiding beneath his hair, but I won’t because that’s not what they are about. They both played immaculately tonight. In fact they were fantastic, and not all guitarists and bassists need to be animated. Just look at John Squire from The Stone Roses; great guitarist but he prefers to stay hidden and everyone is focused on Ian Brown.

The full one and a half hour set covered all their huge anthems from the first two albums, sprinkled with several from their new album, all of which were met with enthusiasm from the crowd.

They dropped their big sing-a-long indie anthems which most knew the words to and sang along with loudly. And they took it down a couple of times too, with one ballad before the encore sung alone majestically by Koisser as the rest of the band exited the stage.

All through the set the band seemed in good spirits and clearly enjoyed themselves. Koisser gave great between song banter too which was good to see. This was by far a better performance than Leeds. They seemed completely at home on the stage and in their element.

Peace are back. They are very good indeed and you absolutely need to see them live. British guitar music remains strong, vibrant and in superb health, and hopefully Peace will be amongst the front runners for years to come.

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