The Maccabees @ O2, Bristol – 13/03/12


Photo: Andrew Whitton

After rereleasing an LP that amassed deserved critical praise this UK tour is more like shameless celebration than promotion. ‘Given to the Wild’ is their most mature effort to date and the Maccabees play through a set on this blustery Bristol evening that showcases a record that has put this band in a wonderful place. On the same week they are confirmed to head up Reading’s Radio 1 NME stage they have Bristolian youngsters eating out of their pretty hands.

Opening as the album does with ‘Given To The Wild (Intro)’ the band caress the crowd with lead singer Orlando’s effortless cooing. This song weaves seamlessly in to ‘Child’ and ‘Feel to Follow’. These songs get the reception they deserve and the Maccabees most certainly do not fall victim to a fan base expecting indie- by-numbers. They get the more standardized guitar pop with pre-encore ‘Pelican’ but The Maccabees are putting on a show for fans of the album as well as the band. They have played their lifespan as a band with perfection. They are on top of their game with a record that doesn’t compromise and only polishes what they do.

Old favourites like ‘X-Ray’ and ‘First Love’ have a glint of nostalgia back to the days when Skins was good. The crowd are endlessly excited by this band. Every new song or utterance from Orlando is met with whistles and screams. Tracks like closer ‘Grew Up at Midnight’ don’t necessarily lend themselves to an excitable female crowd but The Maccabees are making it look effortless. The crowd are swaying and hypnotized by the bouncy tones of this band and especially this record.

The one danger of ‘Given to the Wild’ is that the fun and frolics that came with original Maccabees material is lost but yet again they avoid slipping up on this front. The crowd are jumping like 2009 never went away. They have built a fan base on solid guitar music and have maintained them on one of 2012’s finest studio efforts so far.

They have a string of UK and international dates facing them for the summer and if they can keep playing like this their status can only get higher. It’s hard to review this show on its own because the euphoria The Maccabees have found is mostly the result of a steady and now flourishing career. There’s been no awkward side-projects or sell-out albums they have just done what they do best which is writing subtle uplifting and memorable pop songs. It would seem The Maccabees just keep getting better.

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