The Maccabees hit Glasgow in the next stop on their tour in support of new album, Given To The Wild.
A large proportion of those in the queue for the show itself seem barely pubescent. The age profile normalises to around the mid-twenties as the gig goes on, but there’s no doubt that the Maccabees have attracted new fans with the success of Given to the Wild.
The very enjoyable, but appallingly named, Trailer Trash Tracys are the support act. Their eighties influenced sound is well-received by the crowd steadily filling the QM. Think the Jesus and Mary Chain with a touch of Twin Peaks. Lead singer Susanne Aztoria looks like Scary Monsters-era David Bowie’s sister.
The crowd’s excitement at the arrival of the Maccabees on stage is undercut slightly by their decision to kick off with Given To The Wild’s opening songs, Child and Feel To Follow. These songs are apparently intended to ease listeners into sitting down and listening through the whole of the album. They seem an odd, low key choice for the start of a live set.
It takes until the fourth song, William Powers, before the gig fully explodes into life. The band’s thrilling high energy rendition causes a wave of joyful moshing at the front. Even jaded pop reviewers are left with broad grins on their faces.
From then on the only dips in the energy of the crowd are caused by songs from Given To The Wild. The more constructed, introspective approach of most of this material doesn’t sit easily amongst the frenetic songs from the first two Maccabees albums.
Notable exceptions include new single, Pelican, which is met with hands in the air and much pogoing from the crowd, and Unknow. The latter’s chainsaw riff works well in a live setting and keeps the crowd moving in spite of it being less familiar than the older songs.
Lead singer, Orlando Weeks, has spoken of the fact that the band are still working out how to play the new material live. Personally, I’d like to see them ditch any attempt to reproduce the sound of the album and punk the songs up as much as they can. That seems to me to be the best way to avoid the occasional lulls they’re experiencing at the moment.
Eighty per cent of the show is great fun. In addition to William Powers and Pelican, highlights include X-Ray, Can You Give It and About Your Dress. Love You Better absolutely storms the place. The older material reveals a band who are at the very top of their game as a live act.
The three song encore closes with Grew Up At Midnight from the new album. This is the most blandly anthemic song the band have recorded to date. It creates the jarring, but thankfully temporary, impression that you’ve slid through time and space to a Coldplay gig.
As the crowd shuffles out into the night, the sense of well-being from having been in the presence of the Maccabees’ energetic romanticism reasserts itself. Skinny jean-clad teens bound homewards. Jaded pop reviewers take a brief smiling respite from their bitter, twisted lives.