The Maccabees

The Maccabees


Finding beauty amongst the daily grind is no easy task, yet Southern London’s guys Maccabees have managed to do so. Their brand new album, Marks To Prove It, seems an urban ode to their beloved London’s area Elephant and Castle. Some kind of crazy London’s B Side, I guess.

They’ve chosen to introduce their latest album –the fourth one following the acclaimed ‘Given To The Wild’, with a batch of in-store concerts. One of those takes place in this flooded Fopp store in Manchester. A “stripped back” performance, as it’s been announced.

I feel so privileged, as I’ve never been so close to the musicians before. It’s quite curious actually: the band, the fans, the photographers and the security guards, all of us are line up, sharing the same tiny space that’s left amongst all these loads of CD’s, DVD’s and books. Maccabees burst out with the ‘Something Like Happiness’, whose all-together harmonic choruses bring an idyllic music video scene. Suddenly it feels like summer, there’s no rain, nor pain outside.

After this promising start, lead singer Orlando Weeks looks around, “It’s weird…”, mumbles. “Hello!”, greets the mostly very young audience. They continue this weird and cosy –very cosy – evening show with the already-hit ‘Marks To Prove It’. The band’s live performance of this tune, which stands out for its different tempos and the final spooky melody, is simply flawless, yet fresh and fierce.

I can’t see what’s so funny, but Maccabees continue exchanging knowing looks and giggling. The poor fans at the back use their smartphones to ‘watch live’ the performance through their ridiculously big screens. After discussing whether to play ‘Kamakura’ or ‘Spit It Out’, the band chooses the first one, a pop-ballad-like song with subtly disturbing lyrics: “Drinking when you’re drunken (…) /No one says a word/Because it breaks a heart…”.

Then comes the overwhelming ‘Spit It Out’, whose somewhat restrained cry “Spit-It-Out! Out! Out!” and the quite existentialist “What do we do now?” stick into your mind the same way a vivid, profound memory does.

Funnily enough, as soon as they finish performing ‘Spit It Out’, Weeks spills his bottle of water. “Yeah, I know…”, he mutters. Felix White asks the audience to sing along with them ‘Pelican’, from the previous album ‘Given To The Wild’. If you feel that you’re too old to hang out at certain pubs but too young to join the ‘Newly Parents’ Club’, then this is your song.

This brief gig it also includes an encore song, which is an ‘old one’ as well: the breathtaking ‘Toothpaste Kisses’. Weeks’ final whistling, accompanied by Sam Doyle’s sizzling cymbals, gets a silenced wow from the audience as an answer.

This fleeting live sample is enough to understand why Maccabees are claimed as “the band who buried landfill indie” (NME, 2010). Got the marks to prove it.

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Amaia Santana

Good karma brought me here to Manchester, my second home, where you can stay healthy (despite the weather) and young forever, as you can breathe live music in every corner of the city. I do believe in the healing power of music (rock is my life vest) and I'd be so glad to share my passion with you rockers of the world!