PEACE/Gabriel Bruce/New Desert Blues – Southampton Joiners

Well, it’s been a whirlwind of a year for Birmingham based band PEACE, and it’s easy to see why when their edgy, riff-filled songs filled Southampton’s Joiners last Thursday.

First band to take the stage were south coast’s own New Desert Blues. With their songs all named after people (who is this Thom? This Zachary? well, your guess is as good as mine but with lyrics such as “i’ll stare at the sun so i’ll never see your face again”, they may not be best friends…), their melodic sounds captivated the audience who had turned out early enough to see them perform. Despite only having a small following (they’ve only got 143 twitter followers, bless ’em), I would be willing to put money on them going on to achieve big things, they sound like a band who could sell out massive venues with their haunting melodies.

Next up was Gabriel Bruce. I don’t know if anything I could write would be able to accurately describe him. With a voice remarkably like Matt Berniger off of The National, which surprised all of the audience, not sure what everyone was expecting, but it wasn’t this! Joined on stage by his band, which included two backing singers/dancers, the show was a spectacle more than anything. His slicked-back hair was quickly flying around the stage with the rest of him in his suit-and-Hawaiian-shirt-combo, as he belted out songs that juxtaposed angst and fun in such a way that made him instantly likable.

Then, after a short change over, PEACE took to the stage. They’d told us before the gig that the night before this stop on their tour, they’d had a stage invasion in Norwich – we were hoping for much of the same. The set, despite only being around 40 minutes long, was something that was unforgettable. Opening with Ocean’s Eye, the crowd went instantly wild for this up-and-coming band. Lead singer Harry is a man of few words, as can be seen from his interviews, so crowd participation was kept to a minimum. Ending on first single Bloodshake, with it’s unshakable riff that stays in your head for days, there was, much to the bouncers dismay, a stage invasion, that ended up in “one big group hug”.
overall, it’s clear to see why PEACE have been given such critical acclaim over the past few months, such a brilliant band, quite unlike anything around at the moment.

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