Sunday, 11 March 2012

'Nothing's Perfect, But I'm Hoping I'll Do' - The Maccabees, Leeds 02 Academy 10/03/2012

Childhood
Childhood
London four piece Childhood are everything I would have liked Yuck to have been: heavily in debt to shoe gaze but with a more modern approach. They stand close on stage, lethargic in stage presence but strong in melody. They wear their influences well: one track’s melody sounds strangely reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club Lamplight; another borrows an intro from Dust on the Ground. I will forgive them all of this, for they gel impressively as a band, each of their four parts telepathically linked to one another to create a gorgeously dreamy set.


The Maccabees
The Maccabees
By the time The Maccabees arrived on stage, Leeds Academy was full to a level I have never witnessed before. In truth, for the majority of their set, the crowd is all I could see, the sheer mass of people who packed in in front of me obscuring the majority of the stage. It’s true testament to a band who have been going for years, quietly and unassumedly building a steady following until this year, where their third album ‘Given To The Wild’ proved to be their opus. A massive success both critically and commercially, it’s no surprise that people want to hear it’s atmospherics live, but as a long term fan I can’t help being overawed at the vigour with which people sing near on every song back at the band.

 Tonight in Leeds is The Maccabees moment in the sun. I’d defy any fan to pick a more perfect setlist, balancing the early jubilant riffs of X-Ray and Wall Of Arms with the likes of Forever I’ve Known and Glimmer, the latter suitably accompanied by a single light reflected off an enormous glitterball suspended above the stage. Knowing not to drown their music in visuals, the simple screens that flashed block colours in time with the music epitomise the sparseness of Given To The Wild’s ideals, evoking images of Radiohead or Arcade Fire. It is not difficult in the slightest to imagine this show in an arena or headlining a festival.

 As songwriters, The Maccabees have grown up beyond recognition, becoming vast and cinematic in contrast to the endearingly D.I.Y approach of yore. By the time they hit my personal new favourite Forever I’ve Known, Orlando Week’s tentative yet pleading voice inquiring ‘I know nothing stays forever/but can we still try?’, my top lip is wobbling somewhat, and continues to quiver for the rest of the set. A dewy eye that has been in place since Feel To Follow finally spills over during both Precious Time and Went Away, two potential modern classics that see the band with an intent in their eyes that could burn Leeds to the ground. I haven't seen this level of passion in a long time: since I last saw The Maccabees, to be exact. There is something about their delivery that holds an all or nothing quality, a steely determination to finish each song on a crescendo of noise that is unexplainably cathartic and comforting to hear live. I started this review by saying that I couldn’t see much of the stage, and I shall finish it by saying that it couldn’t have mattered any less. Tonight, The Maccabees made an early play for gig of the year.

Myself with Felix White

STOP PRESS! : Following the gig The Maccabees did a DJ set and we were lucky enough to have a little chat with Felix. He was nice enough to tell me a little nugget of very exciting news but I'm afraid I gave him my word that I would not pass it on until I was allowed. So, keep your eye on safetyinsound.com over the next week!

5 comments:

  1. Is it that they are playing Leeds festival??

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  2. Enjoying your site Jenessa : ) You have been to A LOT of gigs. Who's the best you've seen live recently?

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  3. Thanks very much! I have definitely been very lucky over the past few months with the amount of gigs I've been able to get to, living near Leeds has definite advantages! The Maccabees here was definitely the best thing I've seen in a long time, although I've really enjoyed sets from Wild Beasts, Fiction, Theme Park, We Were Evergreen... all bands I've written about on here and who you can expect to see more about soon! x

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  4. I used to go to Leeds. Check out the Faversham and Hi-Fi when you have a chance. Unless I'm an old codger music twas good there back in 2009. Ah yes Theme Park- I like Milk...and the song (aharhar)

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