They say that 3 is the magic number. After seeing The Maccabees last week for the third time, I’d have to agree with this ‘they’ because it was one of the best gigs I’ve been present at. Those that know me will be aware of the love I have for The Maccabees. Not only because Orlando Weeks (lead singer) is a beautiful specimen of a man but because I love every song they’ve created with their perfect blend of catchy lyrics, equally as catchy percussion and guitar riffs beautifully topped off with gospel-esque vocals.
I was really looking forward to this particular gig from my favourite band as it’d be my first chance to hear new material from their forthcoming fourth album (yet to be named). ‘Marks To Prove It’ was the first song to kick off the gig and I’m pleased to report that things are sounding incredibly promising for the aforementioned fourth album! Speaking to Felix after the show, he told me that this album is the one they’ve put the most in to in terms of time and personality. He also told me that the album was technically finished in April but they didn’t want to release it then because the band being happy with it wasn’t good enough. They wanted to be proud of it which they now are. So proud that they’re already coming up with ideas for their fifth album. (Think that might be a Mojo20 exclusive right there!!)
‘Feel To Follow’ was next and it “followed” perfectly. That’s one of the things I love about The Maccabees, you could put all of their songs in to a playlist, choose 12 at random and come up with a flawless album with each song complimenting the next with the seamless transitions we’ve become accustomed to hearing after listening to their previous three albums. I think it might be witchcraft! But, it’s probably not. It’s just talent.
‘Wall of Arms’ had the consistent, obvious and intended effect on everyone in the crowd as everyone’s arms were in the air. Thus, a wall of arms! Much to the appreciation of the band who all had beaming smiles upon their faces. They were pleased to be back, and I think I can comfortably speak for everyone there when I say we were all ecstatic about their return.
‘Young Lions’, ‘Child’, ‘Kamakura’ (new one), ‘Love You Better’, ‘Precious Time’ and ‘WW1 Portraits’ (new track) were all performed with absolute perfection. Again; the new tracks fit in really well with the old ones. Even next to fan favourites, ‘Love You Better’ & ‘Precious Time, interest never faded away when the new ones were slotted in as bookends to these anthemic tracks. The lyrics to the new songs follow the format of being catchy and easy to pick up which meant we were singing along towards the end of the new songs anyhow. Probably why my voice only came back to its full strength a few days ago because I sang the same amount of words as Orlando did! He’s used to it though. I’m just a fanboy.
Before this gig, I didn’t fully realise that I had a favourite track by The Maccabees. Turns out that I do. I should’ve realised that it was ‘First Love’ considering I have a lyric of it tattooed on my arm forever but I didn’t register this fact until myself and Felix White (guitar) shared what can only be described as “a moment”. Whilst I was singing along and playing air guitar to yet another amazing riff he smiled and nodded his head at me in with a look of appreciation on his face. You could tell that he and the rest of the band were incredibly humbled. Not only by my reaction to their music but everyone in the room. The song is relatable to everyone and is by far their catchiest in terms of musical production which as a result, offers fools like me the opportunity to showcase my air guitar skills.
*A small of amount of air guitar to warm up my fingers for the rest of this review!*
‘Can You Give It’, ‘Spit It Out’ (new track) and ‘No Kind Words’ were the three songs leading us towards the final track of the set. ‘Spit It Out’ sticks out as a highlight and I can imagine this will be the first single to be taken from the new album. It just sounds really familiar, up their with the favourites I mentioned before. Definitely one to be played at Transmission in 2015. That or ‘Marks To Prove It’.
‘Pelican’ is the song that I’d guess around 25% of the audience have to thank for getting them in to The Maccabees. The first single from last album, Given To The Wild, earned them the beginning of their well deserved breakthrough in to the mainstream. ‘Pelican’ was played on all the major radio stations, it got them interviews on shows they perhaps wouldn’t have been on before (BBC Breakfast), the single and album as a whole were critical successes and it’s fucking amazing live. The band all have an impressive amount of energy and don’t mind moving around to their own music whilst maintaining their impeccable, infamous sound. This song is always a highlight to see live and will remain so for as long as The Maccabees stay together which I hope is going to be for many more years to come.
‘Toothpaste Kisses’. There’s not many songs that can reduce a man to tears but I think this is definitely one of them*. It’s one of the most beautiful modern love songs around and has become a popular choice for many couples “song” to soundtrack their love for one another. I know that me and my girlfriend are definitely one of those couples. As always, this transitions to a beautiful live performance.
*I managed to hold it together and not cry. This time.
Oh, and never one to miss out on the opportunity to showcase my stalking skills, here’s me with Orlando on the left (who also complimented my beard. The flirt!!) and Felix on the right. I know I keep banging on about things I love about the band but another reason…they genuinely appreciate the support from their fans. They might not be incredibly well-known but it doesn’t matter because they’ll still sell out gigs and they’ll always have a loyal fan base. Long live The Maccabees!
Please note: The picture on the right is of a less than great quality due to my sister shaking at the sheer sight of Felix who she fell in love with on this night.
Words by Robert Smith (@robertmsmith)