Peach Pit – Terminal 5 12/15/22 Review
Written by wmscweb on January 8, 2023
Review by Aidan Smith
Hundreds of excited fans rushed through the rain to New York City venue Terminal 5 on December 15th to see Vancouver, Canada-based band Peach Pit. The haphazard nature of the squeaks on the floor caused by soggy shoes made it clear that people were rushing around excitedly, preparing for Peach Pit to come on – their songs winding with complex melody a la contemporaries “Oso Oso” or “Hippo Campus.”
Shuffling through venue security in the cold December rain further emphasized that restless fans were eager and excited. Peach Pit released their most recent album From 2 to 3 in March of 2022, which departed from their usual upbeat cadence and lingered in the more melancholy. A highlight from this album is “Give Up Baby Go,” a twangy indie pop song where lead singer Neil Smith reflects on the times he may have overindulged or wrestled with substance issues. Their darker tone is juxtaposed with the addition of lively additions from more obscure instruments like the steel guitar or a harmonica. Seemingly, an emphasis for the album was simplicity and translating that energy live proved to be no challenge for the Vancouver quartet.
While buzzing with anticipation, the crowded room turned their attention to the stage as the opening act Sunflower Bean began their performance. Hailing from New York themselves, it was exciting to watch a band perform a hometown show at such a well-known and well-respected venue. While there was no “movement” in the crowd, they were receptive to Sunflower Bean and their distinct meshing of power pop and grunge – reminiscent of Pixies or even that of Sonic Youth, a slightly more punk-influenced tone than that of Peach Pit.
Such a tone was definitely welcomed by the audience, with lead singer and guitarist Julia Cumming excitedly amping up the audience – displaying this connection with the audience that most opening acts generally have a harder time with. The group’s thirty-minute set included highlights like “Roll The Dice” and “I Was A Fool.” Something both noticeable and notable about Sunflower Bean was the absolutely stellar guitar work from lead guitarist Nick Kilven, crunchy riffs with exciting and catchy hooks that sounded as if they were bouncing off of the walls of the venue. Sometimes, openers are a slog – but “Sunflower Bean” made it enjoyable to stop by early and forget about the cold wind and rain outdoors!
After a brief intermission, the lights began to dim, and the chant from the balcony above – “Peach Pit! Peach Pit..!” signaled that the band was seconds from beginning the set. Upon coming out on stage, the band did something unexpected… Fast, loud heavy metal began to bounce off of the walls of the room. Lead singer Neil Smith, not seconds later, had run from backstage, jumping into the crowd and we all strenuously lifted him as he belted out a rendition of Slayer’s “Raining Blood.”
Interesting start to the night, sadly the crowd did not respond overwhelmingly to this – but it didn’t make it any less unexpected and was totally awesome and inventive for the indie pop group. The rest of the group, composed of sensational lead guitarist Chris Vanderkooy, bassist Peter Wilton and drummer Mikey Pascuzzi all stood on the stage as the lead singer made his way across the crowd; it was such a fun start to the night – I doubt much of the crowd was expecting it.
Peach Pit really knows how to put on a good show – and what’s more, is that they look like they are having so much fun doing it. I got lucky and was able to get a really good position in the crowd where my girlfriend and I could not only see the entire band but were next to a few more avid fans of the band.
The crowd was receptive, but many people in the audience either seemed not to know or not want to display the fact that they did know much of the material. Meanwhile, we remained up front enjoying a stellar setlist including classic Peach Pit songs from their 2017 self-titled EP like “Seventeen,” and “Chagu’s Sideturn” from 2018’s Being So Normal.
These fan favorites didn’t only sound great live, but were honestly even better than their studio recordings – Vanderkooy on guitar was not only hitting every note, but he made it look easy! This is not only impressive, but for a band like Peach Pit, a true “classic rock” influenced band in many ways, it adds to their already impressive repertoire of talents.
Some other highlights of the night included tracks from their 2022 album From 2 to 3, Vanderkooy and Palcuzzi chimed in during “Look Out” with the addition of a steel guitar, and a harmonica. “Give Up Baby Go,” “Up Granville,” and my personal favorite Peach Pit song, “Psychics in L.A.” were some of the highlights of the night. These were the songs that I noticed had the widest fan response as well – not only did everything sound really good, but the band has this undeniable energy and remains one of the reasons I love this band as much as I do.
One thing that I personally was a little disappointed by was the fan response and reaction, but that’s alright! They remain a highlight for me in my concert history. When they come back there is no doubt that I am gonna be right there up close again – it’s pure joy watching Peach Pit play!