Live at O2 Academy Leeds on Saturday, 10th October 2009
Peggy Sue really deserved this high-profile support slot with The Maccabees. The two female voices of Katy Klaw and Rosa Rex are just so mature, soulful and powerful for their young bodies that they seemed to stun the crowd into awed appreciation. Their folky blend of big jingly-jangly percussion, heart-stopping bass drum thuds with accordion, ukulele and guitar resounded around the dauntingly grand academy with real gusto. Their big finale piece, 'The Sea, The Sea' with its hand clapping chant along lyrics sealed the deal for the young London band who are clearly ready for a UK tour of their own.
As soon as The Maccabees came on stage, everyone was suddenly catapulted into that 'I'm 15 and I'm going to jump around and wave my arms and sing along to every lyric and not give a damn' frame of mind. There were grown men decked out in Urban Outfitters head-to-toe, who after a few songs were leaping up and down as much as the actual teenagers. Any pretension towards 'coolness' seemed to fly out the window. The pounding drum-led 'No Kind Words' was first up, a broodingly fierce song that stands out as a symbol of how much the band have matured between their indie-pop-punk first album and their heavier, meatier, more complex second album.
But this show was to be a tremendous showcase of both albums. If anything, some of the most euphoric moments came when The Maccabees offered a retrospective glimpse at the songs that had made them big enough for such a successful headline-act tour. 'X-Ray' with its rushing high energy punkiness and 'Latchmere' with its Pulp-style 90's Brit-Pop sound had everyone chanting along. The highlight in terms of the older songs that were played has to be 'Precious Time'. There's just something inescapably magical about a packed room of people shout-singing at the top of their lungs, "LETS TAKE OUR PRECIOUS TIME ABOUT IT!" Pound for pound and cheek for cheek, The Maccabees had drawn every single person into this sickeningly happy bubble of warm togetherness.
The Maccabees sounded awesomely formidable in full flow; a multi-layered guitar-heavy wall of noise - a sound that you feel they've developed to silence critics who might have thought that The Maccabees were novelty indie-cindies with little musical substance. But this tour has proved the musical prowess of the band, and songs like 'Love You Better', which formulated the encore, were belted out with heart-pounding pride and passion. Everyone, be it man, woman or child, had a massive crush on front-man Orlando Weeks by the end of the night. He even turned Headmaster at one point and told a bunch of lads-on-the-lash that starting a brawl in the middle of the crowd was completely out of order, an action that had everyone booing and pointing at the twatty-perpetrators and had everyone turning to their mate and saying "that Orlando, he's just so bloody nice isn't he?!"
The Maccabees, with their festival-anthem style of unashamed feel-good indie-pop-rock are true masters in their craft. Throw the remnants of your pint in the air, stop trying to film the whole event on your bloody iPhone, leave your pretentious inhibitions at the door, get both hands in the air and scream and shout and jump about like everyone else.