Peace at Whelan’s, that’s where Happy People were.

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What is it about the Whelan’s? How comes all the cool Indie bands are playing in this venue? No one knows, but once more, here I am standing in the queue. A queue? Here in Dublin for a small Indie band? It was quite surprising.

Happy People is the second album released by the band from Birmingham. They have been on their UK tour, been to Belfast and took some time to come down to Dublin. It is not that often that small or mid-famous bands are coming to Ireland’s capital city.

Anyway, they were here and I was queuing. Let’s analyse what is to be found as part of Peace’s audience. First of all, I am glad to see that the gig is a strictly over 18’s. It means that young groupies won’t be around the stage, screaming and throwing their bras on stage. Good point. Very good point. That’s probably a concept that I should export to Paris.

It is even more a good point since Peace is one of those cool British bands that is very popular amongst the “cool kids”. You know, those “I’m-just-being-cool-so-what-if-I-get-drunk-I’m-already-15-Mom” kind of people. Thank God they are not the only ones to like Peace.

Time to get in. Some girls were stopped at the entrance. It’s strictly over 18’s and the bouncers aren’t making any exceptions. Is that a smile on my face? Maybe.

But the smile did not stay for long. As we entered the venue with my friend, we saw what we feared. The first rows were occupied by really young women. I forgot that over 18’s meant that 18 and 19 years old were allowed to be in here. Damn it.

Some of them have already started to scream things at anyone who crosses the stage and they are taking a ridiculous amount of selfies, dropping their phone from time to time as a result of the one and only drink that they ordered. Someone please help us.

And that’s when Princess arrived. Princess is the name of the supporting band, they’re from Dublin and I must admit that they did a good job. Generally speaking, supporting bands aren’t anything special. They are doing a kind of “musique d’ascenseur” – the music which is played in some fancy elevators, it’s not bad, but no one gives a damn.

Surprisingly, it was not like this for Princess. They had catchy tunes, and even if some giggles were heard from time to time, most of the audience were captivated by the band. The sound of the drums was again too loud, but that’s part of the Whelan’s way of doing things, I guess. Nonetheless, they managed to entertain the crowd. It was a very pleasant introduction to the second part of the evening.

As they finished their set, I turned around. Teenage girls everywhere. Yes, I’m kind of obsessed by their presence. They freak me out.

I decided that I would stay a bit in the front to wait for the band, take a few pictures and then… retreat. Hurry! Before they push you against the stage. They might appear like tiny creatures, but they do have strength.

Peace’s members started to arrive on stage, I took few photos and escaped, leaving my friend on the first row alone. I found shelter in the back of the room, where I noticed that the venue was separated in two. Young girls in the front, women and men in the back. Clever adults.

Peace started their set with ‘Bloodshake’ ( From their 2012 EP – Delicious ), one of the songs that made them famous. The effect is immediate. When you’re listening to ‘Bloodshake’, you could easily imagine yourself on a Caribbean beach, with some traditional music, drinking a cocktail made out of several exotic fruit.

 

Unfortunately, the band encountered several sound problems. The drums were too loud, the guitar wasn’t well adjusted and the mic wasn’t working properly. The guys seemed quite pissed off, but kept on playing their setlist. In a different order than the one that was initially planned.

As a matter of fact, what was supposed to be a setlist aimed at reaching a musical intensity pick was a bit ruined by the sound problems. ‘California Daze’ (From their 2013 debut album – In Love), one of their softest and dreamiest tracks came in too early. I don’t deny that the song is brilliant, but the timing was not good. I won’t put the blame on them, they had to play it so that the adjustments could be made for ‘Money’ ( From their 2015 second album – Happy People).

As soon as they started ‘Money’, the audience started to jump up and down. The problems encountered by the band did not seem to have any effect on half of the audience. Good for them.

They kept on going with ‘Lovesick’ and ‘Wraith’ ( Both from In Love ), and people looked rather happy. Girls were screaming things that no one could really understand. One was pointing at the bassist, screaming that he was the one doing the show. “You’re THE boy tonight, go for it!”

Then it was the encore time, where they decided to end up with ‘World Pleasure’ (From their last album). This was a good choice, the song lasts for about 6 minutes and is pretty catchy. A young girl climbed on the side stage, pretending to rap and showing off her rapper dance moves. She was soon asked to get off the stage by a staff member, went down … and climbed up again. I told you that teenagers are strong. And strong-willed. A bouncer eventually came to bring her down and the show ended. How glad I was to be in the back of the room.

 

I turned to my neighbour, a friendly man all suited up and asked him what he was doing here, since I thought that this kind of band was only praised by teenager girls. He chuckled. “Oh, my friend had a spare ticket, so it was either being alone at home on a Friday night, or being here at Whelan’s. And I must say that I quite enjoyed the gig.”

If I had to sum up, I’d say that :

  • The concert was pleasant, but nothing amazing happened.
  • Peace managed to play despite the fact that a lot of technical problems occurred, so I salute them for that.
  • I had a good time.
  • Damn teenagers.

By Defne Cetin

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