The Maccabees

The Maccabees

This band go from strength to strength. At the time of this gig, few knew that what we were hearing would be the majestic material which would eventually make up the Mercury Prize-nominated masterpiece that is their Given To The Wild album.

Date: October 29

Venue: Rescue Rooms

For The Maccabees, this tour was something of a road test for their new material, which doesn’t become available until the New Year.

In their time away, it appears they’ve been paying attention to Wild Beasts’ atmospheric, star-gazing melodies. ‘Child’ takes its time to grip the expectant sell-out crowd. It’s an ominous, heavy opener, and things aren’t about to get chirpier just yet. Another newie, ‘Feel To Follow’, is a murky slow-burner which builds dramatically into a sonic maelstrom akin to the work of Ride at their finest.

The same notorious chiming riffs exist, but they’re smothered in a rich, voluptuous texture, suggesting that the new record will be a heady amalgam of influences and styles.

Swathed in a blue hue throughout the set, the band are a million miles away from the nervous-looking oiks that have played in the city’s smaller venues during their formative years.

Gone is front man Orlando Weeks’ once inherent awkwardness. His almost child-like demeanour remains, but there’s a cocksure swagger to him and his band these days.

Old favourites are fleshed out to reveal their muscular prowess, each song now sounding empowered when once they were perhaps, well, shall we say, a little ‘tinny’.

Their evocative powers remain forceful, too. ‘First Love’ reminds everyone of exactly what the song suggests. ‘Lego’ does the same, taking everyone back to their childhood

There are sing-along anthems, too. ‘Precious Time’ is lovingly sung right back at them, as is ‘Love You Better’, proving that they’re a band that have made a strong connection with their audience.

The only criticism is that we don’t get to see more of them. Their set lasts just over an hour, leaving everyone heading for the exit at 9.45.

Yet in such a short time, they manage to show off their arch diversity so well.

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