Gig review: The Maccabees @ Manchester Ritz

Maccabees fans have been eagerly anticipating this UK tour to get a flavour of their upcoming fourth album, but based on last night’s evidence from their Ritz show, it’s hard to gauge whether the record will match their previous efforts.

It’s been almost two years since the band released their Mercury-nominated 2013 album Given to the Wild, which spawned a handful of strong singles including PelicanFeel to Follow and Went Away.

The Londoners announced themselves back on the music scene this week with the release of energetic new single Marks to Prove It, which got a selection of crowd members bouncing up and down mid-set.

But the remainder of new songs fell flat and left most fans stood around waiting for the band to play their old favourites – strange considering guitarist Felix White told MM that the new album has a ‘live’ edge prior to the gig.

Still, the rest of the gig appeared to appease a sold-out audience who got heavily involved with singalong classics such as Love You BetterPrecious Time and Latchmere from the band’s 2009 debut album Colour It In.

The band got the crowd geared up by opening with Wall of Arms – the title track from their second album – before launching into Feel to Follow which provided my highlight of the night with its crescendo lifting the hairs on the back of my neck.

Can You Give It also drew a great reception with its catchy hooks and XRay kept the crowd on their toes with its sharp riffs and fast-paced tempo.

Frontman Orlando Weeks continually thanked the audience for their support throughout the night, proving that he’s grateful to be playing to a fully dedicated fanbase.

The slow and haunting No Kind Words followed before the closing encore, where the band unfortunately encountered some technical difficulties which temporarily drew a negative reaction.

But the band reappeared to a cheering audience and closed with two new songs, before launching into the anthemic Pelican that brought the gig to a triumphant climax.  

This was the first time I’ve seen The Maccabees live, but I have to admit I wasn’t as captivated as I was expecting to be.

They appear to be a band with a handful of strong songs, but who’ve never really conquered mainstream audiences.

It will be interesting to see how they can progress from here.

Image courtesy of PaulMcNultyFilm via Instagram, with thanks

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