I love going to a gig, there’s something very special about seeing a band perform live, but the last gig I went to was not only really special it was also really sad as it was the last gig I will see of theirs (unless they reform – fingers crossed). The gig was at Alexandra Palace and the band was The Maccabees.
The Maccabees have been part of my life since I was at university, I have pictures of their gigs going back to 2004 and I know that I saw them before those pictures were taken.
I remember going to see them (with Madeleine – who I saw them with this time round) in Southampton, they played at Lennons with Six Nation State and Jack Penate and the tickets were £2 (I know shocking amounts even back then!!) It was such an amazing gig, we spent the entire time right at the front jumping around. Afterwards the bands them came out and danced with the audience, I met them both the Maccabees and Six Nation State and were all so lovely.
Back in the day I was a bit of a…well lets go with dedicated fan/ stalker. We would go to various gigs in various places around the UK. We turned up in Norwich and Glasgow, each time some of the band (usually Orlando and Felix Rob (when he was in the band) and occasionally Hugo) would come out into the crowd and chat. I have met them on numerous occasions and each time they were so friendly, they would all remember my name, give me hug and we would have a chat. Even when they got hugely successful they were always the same genuinely lovely people. I remember after the Café de Paris gig in London we all went back to Orlando’s house and stayed there chatting till 6 in the morning….oh the hey days of having no responsibility…well actually I went to work straight after but I was not particularly productive!!
The Maccabees at Concorde 2
It’s fair to say the Maccabees have a special place in my heart and I was genuinely sad about them finishing, I think behind Blur they are my favourite band, so I was excited about the show especially as I had not seen them since for at least 15 months (a long time for me!!)
Unfortunately we missed the support act, which I found out was Mystery Jets, it really was a gig from my youth!! However we were there with plenty of time to see the main act, my other friend Kelcy was also there and she had made her way to the front, we soon weaved our way to the front too and had a prime spot for their entire set….and what a set it was. With four albums they have some truly epic tracks, I really loved Colour It In and Wall of Arms, the songs were pacier, very fun and easy to listen to, the next two, Given to the Wild and Marks to Prove It were for me growers, the first few listens I liked them, and the more I listened the more I loved. The songs were slower and had more depth, they were grown up songs for an older band.
I will not list every song I loved, I would pretty much be reeling off the setlist, but there were some that really stood out WW1 Portraits, Kamakura and Ribbon Road all sent shivers down my spine, Orlando’s voice sounded so perfect and the production was so well put together.
They obviously played their early stuff too, favourites like Lego, and X-ray, one of the few times Orlando spoke was to introduce a classic, saying “hello…this went down well last night so I’ll use it again…We are in North London, but in South London….” The crowd straight away knew to expect the sound of a pool and frantic intro of Latchmere. It was great to hear again and while it was unmistakeable even that sounded like it had been improved, there were more layers, a maturity too it.
Song after song it was simply superb, I do not want to sound too OTT, but I really could not fault their performance. Every single member was brilliant. Orlando modestly says a few things, even after all this time he still maintains an air of slight awkwardness on stage, like he is enjoying it but still surprised by the whole thing. Felix and Hugo are evidently loving it, walking around stage, singing and having a laugh, the ever steady Rupert also seems to be enjoying himself and Sam is on the drums, sorry can’t say much more than that really. The band have perfected their live shows…that’s for sure.
As their set comes to the inevitable end, they say they are going to invite some friends on stage, the Mystery Jets come on as do the other support act, there are also some other people – the most recognisable is Marcus Mumford.
Mumford and Sons and The Maccabees are evidently very old friends, they started at around the same time and despite M&S’s meteoric rise to fame and their popularity the two bands remain friends, I actually saw The Maccabees in New York supporting Mumford and Sons and Marcus came on stage then too. I was merrily jumping along shouting out the words surrounded by confused New Yorkers who had no idea who this obscure English band were, or why there was a crazy woman bouncing around happily in front of them (me!!) That was the last time I actually saw the band in person, they came out into the crowd and saw me, looked surprised to see me so far from home, but then we had a quick chat about how they were hoping to sign a deal in the US.
Anyway I digress, the gig, well after that little added bonus they went off and then came out for the final few songs. They finished the show with a blinding rendition ‘Marks to Prove it, the entire crowd sang along and the flashing lights over the audience made it one hell of a finish. See my Facebook page here for a video.
As the band walk off to rapturous applause I feel really quite sad – that’s it, ‘no more, finished, goodnight and goodbye. I also feel slightly annoyed, how can they stop when they are this good, why are they doing this? But they have their reasons and it’s (obviously) up to them at the end of the day, but one things for sure I will miss them, they have given me hours and hours and hours of fun and tunes that I ill always dance to, so to Orlando, Felix, Hugo, Rupert, Sam and from back in the day Rob, thank you.