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Live Review: The Maccabees @ Sound Control, Manchester

With new album 'Given To The Wild' due out on the 9th of January, this mini tour saw a great opportunity for The Maccabees to showcase their new material and gauge reactions...

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 4th Nov 2011

Date: 31st October 2011

Words: Michelle Lloyd

Photos: Magnus Aske Blikeng

Everyone has 'that' band. The band they turn to in times of happiness and in times of sadness. The band that somehow seem to soundtrack their life, having the ability to fill them with utter joy and euphoria and reduce them to tears in equal measure. For me that band is The Maccabees. I was first introduced to them about two years ago, and they have captivated me ever since.

I last saw them over 18 months ago and knowing they have been hauled away working on new material, I’ve been eagerly anticipating their return to the live circuit. I was overwhelmed with excitement when I saw they would be playing a handful of shows and even more so when I saw that they would be playing Sound Control. It's not often you get to see your favourite band in such intimate surroundings, especially when they are used to selling out the likes of Manchester Academy. I knew this show would be special. And that it was.

With new album 'Given To The Wild' due out on the 9th of January, this mini tour saw a great opportunity for them to showcase their new material and gauge reactions. A daunting prospect I'm sure, but one they tackled head-first, bursting onto the stage and daringly launching into new tracks ‘Child’ and ‘Feel to Follow’. Both showcased Orlando's unique, organic vocals fully and gave way to much fervid guitar playing from the White brothers.

There's always a great sense of unity amongst the crowd at a Maccabees gig; everyone singing along, creating a rousing, spirited atmosphere. The crowd feeding off the band and the band being spurred on by the crowd. This saw a mosh pit erupt as soon as old set favourites ‘Lego’ and ‘First Love’ made an early appearance, which lasted until the very end.

They effortlessly combined tracks old and new and managed to compel the crowd form start to finish. New track ‘Pelican’ slotted in faultlessly between the buoyant ‘Can You Give It?’ and ‘Precious Time’, revealing a slightly rockier edge. The stimulating and impassioned lyrics we’ve come to expect from their tracks made an appearance in the enchanting 'Forever I’ve Known', which saw a zealous audience mellow for a moment, only to be hastily roused by the bellowing opening of ‘William Powers’. ‘Love You Better’ provided an ethereal climax to a profound set, and as always evoked some tears on my part.

The encore saw the raucous ‘X-Ray’ and ‘Wall of Arms’ coupled with the melancholic ‘Grew Up at Midnight’. The latter with its emotive, gushing falsetto vocals and earth-shattering rolling drum finish served to highlight the journey made on this new record, and will undoubtedly prove to be one of the stand-out tracks.

Arguably Orlando, Felix, Hugo, Rupert and Sam haven’t been celebrated or commended as much as some of their peers, which is rather annoying given their undeniable talent and cult following. Refreshingly though, unlike other bands they don’t crave that notoriety. There’s a certain honesty about everything they do, with every performance impassioned and authentic. But as a fan of a band that have been working tirelessly for over six years, here’s hoping that with a new album and a new tour, 2012 will see The Maccabees gain the recognition they rightly deserve.

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