Live Review | Peaness @ The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham – 24/4/2018

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Peaness give a delightful performance at The Sunflower Lounge

“Hi. We’re Pea-ness. Penis. Whatever.” announces Jess as they take to the small Sunflower Lounge stage. Well at least the elephant in the room has been addressed early on. It’s not easy telling people you don’t know well about this band. But tell them, you must. In the best last minute decision I ever made, I arranged only the day before to attend when a friend excitedly told me they’d won two tickets and did I want to come. Previously, I’d only heard talk around the playful name but not actually the music so this was a perfect opportunity to put right my oversight. And they don’t disappoint; what follows is sheer joy.

“We’re from Chester, but Rach is from Birmingham” [crowd cheers]. “Dudley, actually”, Rachel protests [crowd boos]. The local tribe feeling is obviously strong tonight but, double entendres aside, there’s a lot of love in the room for these girls. One part punk drums, one part Orange Juice guitars and one part super-sweet Miki and Emma Lush harmonies; Peaness are pure and unadulterated pop. Shiny shiny pop with an infectious energy and tunes as sharp as their fringes.

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‘Seafoam Islands’ is a perfect example of the above, sugary vocals with a catchy post-punk riff. And there are so many other highlights of the set. The wonderfully wonky ‘Skin Surfing’ gives me goosebumps of desire (“You’re so perfect. I’m getting restless to say yes”). The beguiling ‘Oh George’ (not quite the love song you might imagine it to be, it’s actually about George Osborne) is played with a dedication to Morph, the Sunflower Lounge promoter currently to be found sitting on the door with the cashbox and a big grin on his face. But it’s ‘I’m Not Your Problem’ where they shine brightest. Perfect stop-start interweaving guitar and bass melodies underpin the sweetest chorus imaginable. This song, this band, is radio ready. Well, if they can get past the correct pronunciation of the name anyhow.

It’s no surprise to learn part way through the set that the CDs on heavy rotation in the Peaness tour van are Abba, Avril Lavigne and Green Day. They’re an intriguing blend of all of these and more. Songs about love, heartbreak, life and even war are given the same breezy, bouncy treatment that’s impossible to resist.20180424_220126.jpg

A new song with the working name “Breakfast” that’s really about Brexit is introduced towards the end. An audience member shouts out “Brexit at Tiffany’s”. “Why didn’t I think of that?” Jess laughs and re-introduces the number using the newly suggested moniker. Crowdsourced song titles; it’s the way forward. And it’s obvious the only way for this band is forwards. And perhaps Upwards and Onwards.

Peas and love!

Words and Pictures by Tracey Bowen  @INeedDirection

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