It’s been a great start to the year for The Maccabees. Their new release Given To The Wild has received many very positive reviews and is their highest-ranking album in UK charts so far, their shows are selling out and summer festivals are battling to get them on their line-up. Tonight in Dublin, they start the second leg of their 2012 tour which already brought them from Milan to Stockholm but the question is, what’s changed since 2009’s Wall Of Arms? When they enter the Academy and begin their set with ‘Given To The Wild’, ‘Child’ and ‘Feel To Follow’, the opening three tracks from the album, there are already a few clues: they look passionate but sound professional and focused. The White brothers (Felix and Hugo on guitars) are standing at both sides of shy singer Orlando Weeks like bodyguards armed with big guns. ‘Wall Of Arms’ and ‘No Kind Words’ warm up the crowd, singing along as the band soundsbigger and tighter. The chemistry between bassist Rupert Jarvis and drummer Sam Doyle is perfect, both of them carrying the songs to exciting heights and soothing soundscapes. The set-list is well-balanced between new atmospheric songs like sweet ballad ‘Glimmer’, epic jam ‘Forever I’ve Known’ and fan favorites like the abrasive ‘William Powers’ and ‘X-ray’ ensure the gig never loses tension.
Weeks, head down, tapping on his chest as the rhythm gets faster, has a magnetic yet autistic charisma, reminiscent of Thom Yorke and Ian Curtis. His vocals strike even more powerfully live and it’s easy to get goose bumps from these heart-felt interpretations. As hit-single ‘Pelican’ ends the gig in a big uplifting blast, it only takes two minutes for the band to come back as the crowd cheers resonate around the venue. ‘Unknow’ restarts the engine nicely but ‘Precious Time’ and ‘We Grew Up At Midnight’ offer the great final fireworks everyone is waiting for. It’s the end to the kind of night that feels like something big – a rock band getting the confidence and maturity of their models, all the tools to become huge without compromising their personality.
Photos: Kieran Frost