Live Review: The Maccabees – Manchester

The Maccabees

Photo: Popped Music

Photo: Popped Music

Manchester, Ritz, 13th May 2015

The Maccabees have been kind to the North West lately. We’ve had two gigs – a special one off show in Liverpool toward the end of 2014 and now this show, as part of their pre-album release tour. I’m so pleased to have been able to make it to both shows, though so off my face on painkillers for the Liverpool show I could barely understand what was going on, other than it was sweaty.  If I’d thought that Maccabees show was sweaty though I was in for a wake up call at The Ritz. Standing still just waiting for them to take to the stand myself, and everyone around me began to get their sweat on, even standing still.

For those at the front in the pit it must have been a thick oily throng, with fans of The Maccabees seeming to be pushed up as close to each other as they could get without sexual harassment claims flying. All of this before the band even took to the stage. Once they did though, wow did the place erupt as the band stepped straight into the melodious Wall Of Arms.

The band seemed as hungry for the show as the crowd did and performed with real gusto, that of a band who are genuinely excited to connect with their fans, genuinely happy to pull out all the stops and more than anything excited about playing new material. Marks To Prove It has only been around for a few weeks, yet when it was played later in the set the crowd took it on, shouting words they must have spent hours pouring over.

It wasn’t all about the new material though, a mistake so many bands make, by boring their adoring fans to sleep with sets made up of 70% new tracks they want to “try out”, to a crowd who mainly want to get involved and just can’t react the same to songs they don’t know. The Maccabees know this. They’re a smart bunch. Us lucky Manchester show were treated to the beautiful rousing sounds of Feel To Follow, which was played so early on in the set that I thought we were all going to explode and miss the rest of the show. We held on, made it through Young Lions and Love You Better, amongst others until something magical happened.

maccabees live manc may 15Trying to talk over an absolutely crazed crowd, Orlando talks about the new album and then how they’ve been reminiscing too and that they should never forget what came before. One word. Latchmere. I danced so hard I almost threw myself off the balcony. I’ve no idea what anyone else was doing. I played the demo of this on my radio show early 2006. It was the first song I heard from them; all rough n ready, young and greedy. Now, all grown up and making magically intelligent indie rock, the band aren’t ashamed to step way back and pull out a track they know is a fan’s favourite. A favourite for it’s fun and frivolity. It has a message buried deep but on the surface, ultimately, it’s just a mad song about swimming to a crazy upbeat tune.

The Maccabees are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen, I’ve seen them grow in so many ways. It’s so nice to be able to go and see them again, to revel in a little annoying smugness, knowing that I knew all along how great they were going to be. Even from that Latchmere demo. The Maccabees are winners, I feel like a winner and well the crowd in Manchester, who turned out ready to grab at life on a Wednesday night, they were winners too, new fans and old, we were all there together, sweating it out.

The new album Marks To Prove It will be out on July 31st on Fiction.



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