This past Saturday, I headed over to Foellinger to see Vancouver band Peach Pit take the stage. I've only ever been to Foellinger to take statistics midterms, so going there on a Saturday night was kind of bizarre. Despite the unusual venue, I was ready to witness Peach Pit's heavily praised stage presence, and see what exactly makes their live shows so unique.
Like several indie artists, Peach Pit rose to internet fame after one of their tracks blew up on YouTube. The channel that posted the audio, TheLazylazyme, is one of the several "internet jukeboxes." These pages scour Spotify, Bandcamp, and the like for songs and artists with potential. Then they share them on their channel, creating a collection of underground music for people to discover. Having their self-titled track posted and shared by one of the most popular indie music channels has contributed heavily to their success. This is true for other bands, too. Tracks such as "Can I Call You Tonight?" by Dayglow is getting attention on the popular app TikTok, and "Dræm Girl" by No Vacation is gaining steam from similar sources.
After the success of Peach Pit, the group went on to play live shows and festivals everywhere, impressing audiences with their performances. Their Foellinger show was no exception. From the moment they stepped onstage, there was a shift in the room's energy. Their set kicked off with their latest release, a single off their upcoming sophomore album called Feelin' Low (F*ckboy Blues). The album is expected to be released in a few months, and Peach Pit treated the Foellinger audience to two unreleased tracks during their set.
Meandering through songs off both their first album Being so Normal and debut EP Sweet FA, the group's stage presence kept the audience completely engaged. Frontman Niel Smith stole the show as he danced through every song, and lead guitarist Christopher Vanderkooy even crowd surfed (very briefly).
Before playing their hit, Smith told an anecdote about his grandmother, who uses her Amazon Alexa primarily to listen to his band's songs. He then revealed that she had passed away recently, and heartwarmingly dedicated the song to her. The personal story made the performance of the song a bit more special, more sentimental.
One of the highlights of the performance was when the group played "Tommy's Party," a popular song of theirs that narrates the night of a party that didn't go so well. This song was, by far, the one that the audience engaged with the most. It seemed nearly everyone knew at least some of the lyrics, and the message is one that every college student can relate to.
Towards the end of their set, Peach Pit threw in a few covers of classic rock songs "for the dads" in the audience. Having recently served as a cover band for a friend's wedding, so they surprised the audience with a rendition of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "American Girl." They wrapped up the show with an encore performance of Chuck Berry's iconic hit "Johnny B. Goode."
Even if someone entered Foellinger on Saturday as a non-Peach Pit fan, they certainly left converted. Their stage presence is phenomenal, but what makes them so entrancing? I believe it's the band's chemistry: they're old high school friends having a good time, and it shows. The way they interact with each other, as well as the way they interact with the audience, is genuine and warm.
Their opening act, Chicago group Ex Okays, also delivered an excellent performance, despite several technical difficulties.