Finely tuned
The Maccabees - Live At Brixton Academy, London

Growing up is an inevitable aspect of life, but not all of choose to do it. I first caught The Maccabees in 2006 supporting The Fratellis, and at this point they were portrayed as the UK’s newest indie princesses with their recent release of ‘X-Ray’. A label like this is hard to shake off, and a lot of bands end up being remembered as The Fratellis are: a drunken football chant. But through some divine miracle, The Maccabees broke the curse of being just a teenage soundtrack band for the Skins generation, and became a grown-up force that appeals to all walks of life.

Sadly, this has not rubbed off on support band Trailer Trash Tracys. They start their set with an incessant feedback that makes Sonic Youth sound like Mozart. Combining that with wailing and Lana Del Rey-esque crooning throughout, they fail abysmally in the creative department. The band walks off stage to little applause and a lot of confused faces.

The Maccabees can’t come sooner, opening up with ‘Child’, easing the crowd into their newest material with velvety vocals and melodic guitars.

Some of the band’s songs now sound so mature that they should be in a home getting their arses wiped by emotionally void nurses. Well, compared to their old ones, and this is a strictly complimentary comment. This change is evident by the variety of people in the crowd too. From youngsters who still think it’s alright to wear sunglasses inside, to the older generation whose favorite part of the week is reading The Observer on a Sunday morning and taking their vitamin supplements, The Maccabees have vastly extended their fan base.

New song ‘Ayla’ proves to be the highlight of the night, and with the whole crowd shouting every word back at Orlando, it’s the only evidence you need to prove that the old songs won’t be missed from the set list too much.

Still, The Maccabees would never be that cruel. They drop in their earliest achievement ‘X-Ray’ and ‘Can You Give It’ (or “that song from The Inbetweeners”), a show that had the potential to ruin them if they hadn’t been successful on this album. In an alternate universe someone is saying “Anyone remember that band who done that Inbetweeners song?”

Another reason they make the night such a success is their stage presence. Orlando Weeks comes across as shy and modest when speaking to the crowd, but still manages to swing his guitar behind his back and wander the stage mid-song. Guitarist Felix White just makes it even better, he jumps around like an excited Dalmatian, gazing lovingly into the audience. It’s nice to see bands appreciating where they are and not just standing there, staring and pouting.

They play their first single from ‘Given To The Wild’, ‘Pelican’, near the end of the set. There is a pre-pubescent stampede from the bar to join in on the vocal harmonies (spilling my beer, thanks). This should have been the final song, but they choose to do ‘Love You Better’ instead, which falls short of the epic set-closer that people expected. But the band return to play fan-favorite ‘First Love’ in the encore, showing that they are still young at heart, but that their talent has evolved beyond anything that anyone expected.

Words by Jamie Carson

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