The Maccabees are an all too rare band in this world of chew-them-up-spit-them-out hype blogs; a band who have been allowed to breathe and develop over a number of years and four good to brilliant albums. I dare say such a band wouldn’t be able to exist if they started out now, with the expectation to bring instant success or be unsentimentally dumped after the disappointing sales of the second album. Yet here they are, survivors of the 2007 indie landfill years, and in ruder health than ever with a number one album in their back pocket (last year’s great Marks To Prove It) and a thrilling live show to a packed to the rafters Albert Hall, a venue they will play again the next night, such is the demand to see them.

As they come on to the stage to rapturous applause, it’s immediately apparent that this will be a different show from their previous performances. There are eight (eight!) members of the band on stage, three more than the standard Maccabees, with two (two!) percussionists, a piano player, trumpeter and 4 guitar wielding members all present and correct as they launch into the title track from their new album. What’s clear is this is a beefed up Maccabees, a confident, swaggering beast of a band who are playing to packed out mid-size venues but reaching for the stadiums. The sound coming from them is immense, it’s huge and not what I expected to hear; but it’s also brilliant and exciting to see how much the band have grown. What follows is a romp through most of their back catalogue, featuring plenty of crowd pleasing songs from their debut album including first ever single ‘X Ray’ from 2004, (which feels a lot more intense than I remember it being) and the wonderful ‘Latchmere’, which the assembled masses lap up alongside newer songs like ‘Silence’ and ‘Kamakura’.

The songs from their second LP Wall Of Arms sound massive, with a particular menacing ‘No Kind Words’ being a stand out of the evening, Orlando Weeks snarling his way through it as the band hammer away at their guitars, building a wall of noise around him. Marks To Prove It highlight ‘Spit It Out’ is gorgeous, it’s repeated refrain of ‘what are we doing now, what are we doing now’ sung back at them with all the passion on show during ‘X Ray’. ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ is the most enthusiastically received song of the evening, still sounding as sweet as it ever did, recalling first loves, and perhaps recalling why we all first loved the band in the first place. Their beautiful (and in my eyes, best) third album Given To The Wild is relatively under represented, with just ‘Pelican’ making the cut as the final song of the encore – the one song on that album that stands out as ‘old’ Maccabees compared to the Talk Talk wonderfulness of the rest of the album, but it’s a minor quibble on a resolutely triumphant night for the band. Tonight is a reminder that sometimes letting a band find itself over a few years can reap much larger rewards than the throwaway nature of the industry at present, and a reminder that we should treasure bands like The Maccabees as a rare, wonderful breed.

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