Review: The Moldy Peaches at the Roundhouse ★★★★★
The Moldy Peaches return to a UK stage for the first time since 2002 – has a comeback gig ever felt this outrageously joyous?
The Roundhouse scored a major coup with the stupendous return of The Moldy Peaches – and the adoring crowd couldn’t have hoped for a more perfect night of lo-fi, anti-folk group therapy.
For outsiders and alt-nerd’s of a certain vintage – late 90s, early 00s – and, later, anyone won over by the hit indie film Juno (2007), The Moldy Peaches’s hiatus since 2004 has left the world a sadder place. So the announcement that they would return for a series of gigs this year has been met with something approaching giddy, uncontainable excitement.
If there was any chance of disappointment, it vanishes to a big fat zero as the band take to the stage, led by the irrepressible Adam Green and the cute-awks Kimya Dawson. The former bounces around the stage in a sailor outfit, the latter rocks a Super Mushroom hat – there’s a zebra on guitar! This is everything that any Moldy Peaches fan could ever want – and that’s before we get to the epic setlist.
Put it this way: by the time the night is over, as Green says, there’s nothing left to play. Opening with a bombastic ‘Lucky Number Nine’, launching soon after into a crowd-pleasing ‘Jorge Regula’, and then just casually throwing out the barnstorming ‘Downloading Porn With Davo’ – this is how to give a crowd everything.
The audience response is electric. The mosh pit bounces like it’s 2002, and both Green & Dawson seem genuinely shocked and moved by the intensity and enthusiasm of the reaction. The tunes keep coming – ‘These Burgers’, ‘Steak for Chicken’, ‘What Went Wrong’ and a cathartic ‘NYC’s Like a Graveyard’ sound better than ever.
There are some nice moments of awkward (of course!) chat between songs, and it’s so sweet to hear snippets of how the band got together, or even how Dawson is excited to be let loose on their mobility scooter (which they now needs due to chronic pain).
The whole gig is just like one massive warm hug, a super-inclusive celebration of feeling different, being a bit (or very) weird, and sticking two fingers up at the world. It feels right – even necessary – that The Moldy Peaches should be coming back right now, when so much feels so broken. A crowd-pleasing ‘Anyone Else But You’ feels like a giant love-in, an empowering ‘us-against-the-world’ moment.
To bring things to a close, there’s a trip on the ‘Greyhound Bus’ before the biggest, loudest singalong of the night: ‘Who’s Got the Crack?’ just tears the roof off the Roundhouse. The obligatory encore, a plaintive ‘Goodbye Song’, is a perfect end to a perfect comeback gig.
The Moldy Peaches came, they saw, they conquered – and let’s hope they don’t wait 22 years to come back to our shores!
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.