gigs: The Maccabees, Albert Hall, Manchester

The Maccabees Live @ Albert Hall

An ambient setting, carefully paired with a cluster of passionate, professional musicians, allows a good gig to transform into an euphoric celebration. The Manchester venue of choice – where this rare feeling of elation is surprisingly brought about – is The Albert Hall. The date is Monday January 18th. And the band, who have shattered through all previous expectation? The Maccabees.

The first of their two-night residency at The Albert Hall finds the London quintet appearing older, slicker and far more sophisticated than ever imaginable. The wonky indie-rock edge and playful attitudes of The Maccabees have been replaced with a hardened worldliness and a solid sense of pure style. They’ve grown up, and it’s not just their look that’s changed. One live listen to new material, including ‘Something Like Happiness’ or forthcoming single, ‘Kamakura’, tells you it’s true in a heartbeat. The Maccabees have remade and remodeled. And luckily, it works.

While the band air tracks from the latest edition to their discography, Marks To Prove It, including title-track and ‘Silence’, the highlights really come from the classics. A sparkling rendition of The Maccabee’s first single, ‘X-Ray’ follows the innovative ‘Latchemere’, sending the crowd into a fevered frenzy. ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ and ‘Pelican’ take up rightful place in the encore, while Wall Of Arms‘ ‘Love You Better’ and Given To The Wild‘s ‘Feel To Follow’, leaves us swimming in a cocktail of emotions. While The Maccabees are expanding, ageing and changing – there’s something sweetly nostalgic about hearing the words of the past ringing from Orlando Weeks’ mouth.

The Maccabees matched themselves to their venue. They exploded, and they rose above and created a show of re-invention. Sometimes however, it’s nice to see the roots of this tree. Wonderful to experience where it all began.

Ella Scott

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