Indie rock band The Maccabees have just kicked off their UK tour at the fitting venue of Rock City, setting the bar high for their next gigs. The support act playing before them was English alternative rock band Drenge, making for a great evening of music from two top class groups.
While not everyone had heard Drenge‘s music before, there were still a lot of people around the front that did and were singing back the lyrics at the top of their lungs. With the heavy guitar riffs making everyone jump around like rag dolls, it wasn’t long before mosh pits opened up as they played through their set of both old and new songs. Popular classics like ’Backwaters’ and ‘Bloodsports’ brought more people towards the front to get involved, and they made a strong finish to their set with some of the best songs saved to last. ‘We Can Do What We Want’, ‘Nothing’ and ‘Running Wild’ played one after the other made it feel like the place was shaking with the music, hundreds of people around to listen to the three guys that released their latest album ‘Undertow’ earlier this year.
After they had finished, energy was regained with a break as anticipation started to build for the main act of The Maccabees, ready to play some new ones from their latest album as well as some of the best that they’ve been playing for years. Boasting a 19 song set list that ranged from the soft, feel good sound of ‘Grew Up At Midnight‘ to some more upbeat favourites like ‘Pelican‘ and ‘Marks To Prove It’, they had the crowd singing along the lyrics and waving their arms during most of the set. Pauses between songs were short, few and far between, meaning that the whole building was buzzing with life almost non stop, all areas anywhere near the stage packed out with people. The euphoric atmosphere and energy in the heaving crowd as they played through several of both old and new songs was similar to that of performances from bands like Foals and Peace, and left me shouting for more along with everyone around me.
Even after just a few minutes at the beginning the real talent of the band was clear, something that must be heard in person to truly appreciate to its full. Most people did anticipate a good show from them, but they definitely lived up to expectations and more. Every pair of eyes was glued to the stage, and there was a wave of cheers from everyone as soon as each song was played, the first few seconds of each one enough for half of the room to recognise what was coming. Frontman Orlando Weeks on the guitar and vocals was near-perfect the whole way through, effortlessly hitting even the highest notes. The four song encore ending with ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ and finally ‘Pelican’ was probably one of the best combinations of their songs that they could have chosen, although leaving out some of the good old ones like ‘All In Your Rows’ and ‘X-Ray’ was questionable.
The noise shot up as soon as the first chords of ‘Toothpaste Kisses‘ rang out, and almost every voice under the roof joined in as Orlando started singing. He then went on to whistle the tune into the microphone, with the crowd falling silent to hear. After having left some in a trance from just that few minutes of playing such a heartfelt song, they brought everyone back to their senses and energetic again by playing Pelican to round off what was a top performance from a top band. People around the country with tickets to any of their upcoming tour dates can definitely expect to enjoy the music.
All photographs featured courtesy of Shaun Gordon (http://www.shaungordon.photography)
by Pierre Ostercamp