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The Maccabees

Edinburgh Liquid Room (Thursday 27th October)

By • Nov 6th, 2011 • Category: Gig review

Brighton indie rockers The Maccabees embarked on a low-key UK tour this October in order to road-test new material from their forthcoming album ‘Given To The Wild’ scheduled for release in January next year.

Back in Edinburgh, Scotland’s lively capital city, the five-piece performed their second Scottish gig of their intimate tour at The Liquid Room. The show opened with an impressive new act called 2:54, who are currently supporting The Maccabees on all of their UK dates. The London-based band, fronted by sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow, triumphed their way through the dark atmospheric music in their set, a sound that combined heavy influences from the likes of Warpaint and The Big Pink, to a much bewildered audience. Despite the confused and mixed reaction, I have a distinct feeling that everyone will eventually catch onto this group and the band themselves may well find that there is a significant progression by the time they release their new single ‘Scarlet’, due out on 14th November.

Whilst 2:54 left the stage, several guitar techs proceeded to take over for a considerable amount of time in order to prevent any possible flaw. The Maccabees eventually emerged commencing their set with an incredibly brave introduction, performing two brand new tracks named ‘Child’ and ‘Feel To Follow’. In terms of style, the songs reflected similarities to their last record release ‘Wall Of Arms’, predominately showcasing an enigmatic image full of deep and introspective lyrics illustrated with haunting vocals from frontman Orlando Weeks. The band’s fans watched and listened in awe, however attention began to drift by their second song, and it was evident that the crowd were all eager to hear the group’s more well-known hits.


When the initial chords struck to the sound of ‘Lego’ the audience descended into chaos with the approval of an old favourite. This enthusiastic mood continued throughout the night and most evidently when ‘Can You Give It’ kicked in. The tiny room transpired into a huge festival-like atmosphere where the crowd accelerated into an energetic wave of euphoria as Weeks’ supreme vocals accompanied an effervescent guitar melody and a powerful drum beat. An impeccable performance of the song and the ability to attain such an exhilarating effect to a venue as small as The Liquid Room rendered this moment as one of the main highlights of The Maccabees live set.

Although not a talkative bunch inbetween their songs, it’s easy to see that the group really do enjoy performing shows for their fans as the constant smiles and eye-contact with the crowd reassured all that may have been lost with their restricted conversation.

The five-piece completed the night with the enchanting auditory of ‘Precious Time’ and sensational ‘No Kind Words’. However it almost seemed far too early for the band to disappear for an encore, several people including myself would have loved to hear a lot more songs, and it even felt as if everyone tried to quickly absorb the last few minutes that remained of the band’s set by acting even more erratically than previously. A crowdsurfer demonstrated this but not to the security’s enjoyment.

It was an absolute treat for The Maccabees’ dedicated fans when they found out that the band actually had three more songs in store for them, instead of the usual one or two. Weeks and co. entered back onstage with a rather ferocious version of ‘X-Ray’ brandishing an electrifying guitar line, and followed closely by a mesmerising performance of ‘Wall Of Arms’, a personal favourite of mine. For the finale, the group closed the show with another new tune called ‘Grew Up At Midnight’, which at first received a dull reaction from the crowd but after much dispute with Weeks himself, their attitude eventually changed when they gave the band a chance to actually perform the song.

All-in-all The Maccabees achieved a fantastic performance in Edinburgh, their perfected setlist made the show all that more special, and an excellent balance of new and old material made their set thoroughly enjoyable. Nevertheless, it’s now time to wait with baited breath for the album release next year.

(Photos by Nicola Sharkey – www.nicolasharkeyphotography.com)

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