Review: Peach Pit delivers indie-pop spectacle to Cornell

Review: Peach Pit delivers indie-pop spectacle to Cornell

The band delivers a '90s birthday party-style stage show to an enthusiastic crowd.
Published: February 17, 2020
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Peach Pit frontman Neil Smith sings his mellow vocals at Bailey Hall.

While it usually plays host to symphony orchestras and jazz ensembles, Cornell University’s Bailey Hall was the setting for a night filled with warbly guitars, driving rhythms, and stage dives.

In light of their 2020 North American Tour, Peach Pit performed a more than memorable show at the college venue, making fans sway from side to side with their eclectic brand of indie-pop. The show was organized by the Cornell Concert Commission.

On a freezing Saturday night, the floor of Bailey Hall was swarmed with eager fans, each one shoving and pushing the other to get a better view of the stage. The concertgoers were chatting amongst themselves, discussing their favorite songs and hoping that they would be included in the set.

Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, singer-songwriter Dayglow and his band proved to be a fitting opener for the headlining act. The brainchild of Sloan Struble, Dayglow has amassed more than two million monthly listeners on Spotify since his first album, Fuzzybrain, was released in September of 2018.

 

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Sloan Struble, aka Dayglow, opened the show with his catchy original tunes and tasteful covers.

Supported by a tight backing band, Dayglow’s performance featured a mix of passionate musicianship and goofy stage antics, typified by the musician’s humorous stage banter and wild cowbell solo. Fans danced and sang along to the infectious lyrics of songs such as “Listerine” and “Hot Rod.” The band’s set also consisted of some well-executed covers of Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk” and Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Out of all the songs in Dayglow’s setlist, “Can I Call You Tonight?” was the most well-received. The track is the most popular song on his Spotify page with more than 39 million streams.

Natives of Vancouver, British Columbia, Peach Pit is made up of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Neil Smith, lead guitarist Chris Vanderkooy, bassist Peter Wilton, and drummer Mikey Pascuzzi. The group formed in 2014 when high school friends Smith and Vanderkooy started writing songs together. Once Wilton and Pascuzzi filled their rhythm section, the band was able to release their debut EP, Sweet FA in 2016.

The four-track EP was produced by Smith’s former roommate, Harley Small, at Vancouver’s The Space Studios. After building a considerable following through touring, the band hired Small again to record and release their debut album, Being So Normal, the following year. As of 2020, Peach Pit has released a trio of singles, including¬†“Did I Make You Cry on Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!),” “Feelin’ Low,” and “Shampoo Bottles.”

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Peach Pit drummer Mikey Pascuzzi lays down a solid groove.

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Bassist Peter Wilton provides the low-end for Peach Pit's performance.

Once Peach Pit took the stage, the swarm of fans morphed into an excitable tidal wave, as Smith struck the opening chords of his Danelectro to launch the set. Donning their trademark “’90s birthday party” stage clothes, Peach Pit performed a well-balanced mix of older and newer material. Fans went through spells of grooving to the group’s mellow instrumentation and chanting back familiar lyrics to songs such as “Drop the Guillotine,” “Tommy’s Party,” and “Alrighty Aphrodite.”

While each band member engaged with the audience, Vanderkooy’s stage presence was a sight to behold. Complete with high jumps and Rockette kicks, the guitarist sent the crowd into a frenzy with every solo, never wasting a single note. The mustached six-stringer even went as far as to crowd surf while shredding through his lines on “Private Presley.”

Smith followed Vanderkooy’s lead, swinging his long hair like a windmill and launching himself from the stage.¬† At the end of Peach Pit’s set, the crowd clamored for an encore, as they all clapped their hands in unison. The band satisfied the audience’s request with a ripping cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Peach Pit’s explosive performance at Bailey Hall showcased all of the reasons why they are becoming a household name in the indie music scene. The band left everything out on the stage and gave the audience more than their money’s worth.

The band’s North American Tour will resume in April with a show at the Commonwealth Bar & Stage in Calgary. The band will return to America with a performance at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago.

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Peach Pit guitarist Chris Vanderkooy rips into one of many heartfelt solos at Bailey Hall.

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Vanderkooy kicks the doors down during Peach Pit's set at Bailey Hall.

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Solo or crowd surf? Why not do both? Vanderkooy proves this concept as fans watch in astonishment.
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is the entertainment lead producer for The NewsHouse.