Peace, Splashh, YAK at QMU, 26/9/15

Peace have set a new gauge for frenzied fan-girls at live shows – gone are the days of bra-tossing, enter a new era of chucking a (far more precious) Doc Martens onto the stage as the benchmark of a bewilderingly good gig.

YAK set the night off to a good start with a dark, ferocious performance, the standout being ‘Hungry Heart,’ a psych-rock masterpiece that, energy-wise, could have easily been recorded in the 70s, but belongs decidedly in the modern day.

Splashh come in stark contrast to YAK’s raw and untamed vibe.

The band’s overall sound is very easy on the ears with electronic shoegaze tunes that incorporate some interesting tropical undertones in the riffs and synth lines, although unfortunately, the group’s almost-too-cool casual attitude (with the exception of drummer Angus Tarnawsky), leaves their songs feeling distant and seems to fail to resonate with the overwhelmingly teenage audience.

As soon as Peace walks on stage, there is an undeniable change of atmosphere in the room.

The band open with the rather moderately paced ‘O You’ and the undeniable catchy light-hearted tune proves to be an excellent sing-along number.

With its punchier instrumental sections and a few irony-drenched references to nostalgia the song is, in hindsight, a microcosm of the entire set – fiery, lyrically and instrumentally captivating diverse pop delivered with an attitudinally odd, but very successful mix of passion and sardonicism.

Every single song seems to be a hit with the audience, with no chorus left un-sung, from the obvious crowd-pleaser ‘Lovesick’ to the more niche ‘Saturday Girl’.

‘California Daze’, a slushy indie love-song, is, despite being perhaps the most sugary and sentimental in their repertoire, one of the highlights of the night, offering a welcome moment of calm before closing with a tour de force, the electrifying ‘Bloodshake’.

Their easy attitude towards a frantic crowd and omnipresent allusions to different corners of pop and cult rock do, however, clearly show that for Peace, pop is a sensibility, rather than a confinement to run of the mill.

There is no boring moment – even the stretched out shoegazey instrumental in their cover of Binary Finary’s ‘1998 (Delicious)’ only verges on becoming too self-indulgent, but not crossing the line – and it is probably the first time I’ve seen multiple (albeit, failed) attempts at moshpits at an indie-pop gig.

Here’s to Lily getting her Doc back.

Words: Silja Slepnjov

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