Before the bands even arrive on stage, there is 50 – 100 people in the room and the front few rows are jam-packed with girls; it could easily be mistaken for a secret One Direction gig, especially considering the words “Peace” and “Smile” are everywhere.
Half of Smile step out on stage right on time and awkwardly stand around fiddling with their guitars until the other two members join them about five minutes later. “Hi everybody, we’re Smile, thanks for coming down tonight,” lead singer Pete Baxter says, before pausing and adding, “We’re not from England”, which makes the crowd laugh. The majority of us are just chatting as they kick into their set and, while they chug through it, that doesn’t really change (apart from when a few of us recognise Born Again). We watch with interest and they’re definitely a decent band; they’re just not that great at keeping our attention.
Peace are greeted by a chorus of cheers. The English four-piece start off with current single Money – which some might call a risky move – but it pays off, setting the tone for the rest of their set. A few songs in, we get to Happy People and Gen Strange from their most recent album and, as the set moves along, we start to notice that they’re playing a lot of new material. A few songs later, we arrive at Bloodshake and the mood is electrifying. Everyone’s dancing with everyone and, after playing Lost On Me, lead singer Harry Koisser, slips in a little album plug, raising one eyebrow to say, “Well, I hope you’ve all downloaded our new record…” Peace then play Perfect Skin before throwing back to epic sing-along California Daze. Lovesick and I’m A Girl follow, and then what comes next is a surprise: Koisser casually sings a cover of Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney’s FourFiveSeconds (which audibly shocks us, but we roll with it), before getting into Wraith and exiting the stage.
When Peace reappear, Koisser has donned a white beret and immediately asks us our opinion of it, before playing Someday – another sing-along. Some of us get out actual lighters to wave around and Koisser winces when he notices. Next comes Higher Than The Sun and the band stop in the middle of the song when Koisser announces, “Let me show you something cool”. They then play a rather long instrumental, before switching back and ending on World Pleasure.
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