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There’s something in the water in Birmingham at the moment and no it’s not E.coli. For a city whose last big musical export was Ocean Colour Scene in the nineties, the scene is positively thriving with bands like Swim Deep and Troumaca leading the charge into mainstream consciousness. It’s even been given its own nickname, ‘B-town’, and if a hammy moniker doesn’t spell success then what does? The first of the ‘B-town’ bands to embark on a headline tour are Peace, fresh off the back of NME calling them the ‘best new band in Britain’.
First up however are Carousels, a Cambridge-based foursome specialising in the kind of lo-fi shoegaze that transports you back to the early nineties for four minutes. Due to certain guestlist issues Impact only manages to catch the last song but it does nothing to dissuade us from the feeling that Carousels could well be on their own headline tour in the near future. They’ve been referred to as “dronegaze” and “Yuck with balls” and it’s hard to disagree with either – they’re loud, hazy and utterly enthralling.
There’s a noticeable buzz in the room before Peace take to the stage, and crowd reaction is neatly summarised by the speaker stacks almost toppling onto the stage in the first song ‘Ocean’s Eye’, nearly ending the career of bassist Sam Koisser, who seems strangely uninterested in his impending doom. The set draws heavily on their only EP release to date, EP Delicious, and would have been over within 20 minutes if the crowd’s chants of “1998” hadn’t led the band to hastily try and remember their parts to the ten-minute Binary Finary trance classic. In actual fact it’s the highlight of the set, giving the band space and time to show their musicianship to fine effect. Debut single ‘Follow Baby’ is a slice of Nirvana-meets-Madchester pop and instigates crowdsurfers as early as the third song, whilst set closer and latest single ‘Bloodshake’ is met by a full-scale stage invasion.
So are Peace the best new band in Britain? As with any such claim, there’s an element of hyperbole to be ignored, but what is clear from the reaction of a (mostly young) audience is that this is a band that people are excited about. They’ve got songs in abundance, a stage presence to match and a fanatical fan-base acquired after one EP. The future’s bright for B-town.