Die Shellsuit, Die!

An Alternative Music Magazine

Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (24th April 2007)

The Maccabees

Unfortunately due to allegiances, a Champions League Semi Final takes precedent over the support acts.

I make no bones about, and although at half time I’m starting to wonder whether perhaps watching the much vaunted Jack Peñate might be more worth while (And Derek Meins, although the name means less to me at the moment), alcohol and a ninety second minute winner does much to change this. So with feelings of elation and more than a little ‘protection’ from the rain and which has descended on Nottingham, I arrive at the small but well proportioned Rescue Rooms.

It’s been too long since I last saw the Maccabees, even though they seem to be a band who struggle not to be on tour, I blame the recent absence from Birmingham due to Hugo’s tonsils for this. In fact you have to go back almost a year and a half when they had the unenviable job of support Ben Folds at a half empty NIA. For a young band it was hardly ideal, a cavernous space and opening for a highly talented musician and entertainer. They captivated me in the sense that they didn’t seem over awed by the task and produced music which both familiar but unique. And sung a song about a leisure centre having a wave machine.

That being said I did little to chart the band afterwards, until last autumn and a song called ‘First Love’ ended up in my hands. This along with another set of chart bothering singles has propelled the band into the queue for the limelight. It all seems a little strange for the leader singer, Orlando Weeks who jokes about the last time they were in Nottingham at the Social, playing to a crowd considerably less than sold out. But to go back to an earlier point about coping on the big stage, if they can convey the electric atmosphere that they create in smaller venues like this then stardom awaits.

Although my usual pose is to stand and watch (Especially as I’ve committed a cardinal sin and brought a bag to the gig, more for the benefit of those who will be sitting next to me on the train home the next day than myself), it’s hard not to get caught up in the moment. O2 and H molecules seem to mix and turn the indoors very much like outdoors. The singles go down a proverbial storm, but the other tracks which in their own right could quite happily sit as singles to receive equally boisterous enthusiasm. ‘Happy Faces’ and ‘Lego’ sound quite simply superb. While the album isn’t out yet proper, there are ways to hear it and you feel that there is a bit of a dedication from the audience here.

They also manage to avoid to simply trot out ‘Colour It In’ in full, b-sides like ‘Bicycles’ sit comfortably with tracks like ‘All In Your Rows’ and although perhaps don’t get quite the same response it brings a nice moment of respite. As the band ease in and blast through their set, it’s hard not to feel that the enthusiasm in the room is going in a circle, the band produce it but also rely on it for the crowd who similarly reciprocate. It’s nights like these when for once music can just be enjoyed for what it should be, a pleasure. One thing is certain; they probably don’t need to worry about not having to sell places out anymore.

Listen: www.myspace.com/themaccabees