The Maccabees @ Koko 24th January 2012

What was set to be one fantastic gig ended up in major disappointment for many. I had been anticipating this gig when it was announced in December. The combination of Lana and Charli on the same bill was something I was really relishing. This night turned out to be a complete sell out but my thoughts were did it sell out on Lana’s name alone. I like The Maccabees music but I wouldn’t consider myself a major fan. I arrived at 2pm which resulted in myself being the first there. I had a feeling that the majority ticket holders would be there for Lana as she is hot property. Just before doors opened the security came out and broke the news that Lana had pulled out due to illness. This was a great shame as half of my evening had gone. Why didn’t I just get a refund? The answer to that being I had already queued for 5 hours and even though I am not a massive fan of the headline act but I would of liked to have seen them live. Once the gig was over it looked like people did decide to get a refund as the box office inside the venue had an electronic display showing 15.00. Now tickets for this event were £15 face value. Once 7pm came people started to trickle in. With Lana pulling out it resulted in the first act being on at 8.20pm. That was a whole 80 minutes standing at the front barrier until Charli XCX came on. I am seeing her play at The Lexington for the series of NME Awards gigs. So this was the perfect preview of what to expect later on in February. Charli in fact was my saviour as I loved the material that she sung. Approaching 8.20pm the projection screen went up to reveal lots of video tape on the stage. What I was about to witness was goth pop at its best. “Hi I’m Charli XCX” Charli said to the audience taking to the stage wearing platforms and carrying a boom box. The song which opened up this short but sweet support slot was Stay Away. I found this song to be extremely smooth and there were also some short raps. The vocals were superb and there were slight comparisons with Marina Diamandis. “Thanks for having me MTV this song is called Nuclear Seasons” she then said before launching into the song. I found Nuclear Seasons to be a huge pop tune with an extremely powerful drum beat. This song was extremely infectious as well. Straight after it was onto a brand new song You’re The One. This and the songs that followed after were brand new. The only decent recordings you can find on the internet were both Stay Away and Nuclear Seasons. You’re The One is actually the forthcoming single and I was captivated from beginning to end. This was an infectious love song which had a rather slushy chorus. I am intrigued to hear the studio version of this song because it was a real cracker. “I’m wearing really silly Spice Girls shoes. They kinda make me fall over” Charli said before introducing the next song You. This was an upbeat song with lyrics that were delivered powerfully. There was in fact an electro vibe to this song. “Everybody’s got to move a little bit to this one” she then said before launching into the fast paced Mess. This was like a full force which hits you like a ton of bricks. Mess oozed plenty of energy. “Thankyou very much. This is my last song it’s called End Of The World. I hope you have an amazing night”. The song itself had a dub step vibe. Actually End Of The World is an Alex Metric song which featured Charli XCX on vocals.

SET LIST

Stay Away
Nuclear Seasons
You’re The One
You
Mess
End Of The World

Taking to the stage around 9.20pm The Maccabees kicked off their 17 song set with Child which features on the new album Given To The Wild. I found this song to be rather smooth and Orlando’s vocals were gentle on the ear. Sticking with the new album it was then onto Feel To Follow. This song was gentle to begin with then towards the end it began to get more powerful plus there was a furious pace. Straight after the band launched into Lego which featured as the B side to X Ray in 2005. “Good evening, we’re The Maccabees” Orlando Weeks said to the packed out crowd. It was then onto Wall Of Arms which was taken from the bands 2nd album. Vocally this song was superb. Wall Of Arms was so mellowing and Orlando’s vocals were extremely sweet. It was back to a track from Given To The Wild and this being Went Away. There was a rapturous response for this song. Oldie Precious Time followed straight away. This song got everyone whipped into a frenzy and plenty of people were screaming to the line “Let’s Take Our Precious Time About It”. This song was packed with bundles of energy and the atmosphere was simply electric. The début Maccabees single was the next to feature on the night and this being X-Ray. It’s always nice when artists don’t discount old material. There wasn’t time for banter after as the band launched into Wall Of Arms track Can You Give It. This song opened with a powerful bass line and like Precious Time people are singing along to this steady paced song. After plenty of cheers and applause Given To The Wild track Forever I’ve Known followed straight on. It started with a heavy drum beat which slowly gathered momentum. “Are you feeling OK? It’s a treat for us to be here so thanks for coming” Orlando said before Wall Of Arms track William Powers. This song was a real crowd pleaser and people were singing along. “So I just wanted to say it’s a shame Lana Del Rey is not well enough to play tonight” Weeks said which resulted in boos. It was then onto No Kind Words. Ending the trio of Wall Of Arms tracks was the upbeat Love You Better. People were going crazy to this song. The penultimate song Slowly One followed straight after. This was a steady paced song which gained a rapturous response. The forthcoming tour single Pelican then ended what was a terrific set. I really liked the upbeat lyrics and fast pace of this song. As the song ends the band left the stage to a huge triumphant response. After lots of chanting for more The Maccabees made their entrance and launched into Unknown. This song is probably one of the hidden gems on Give In To The Wild. “This is a love song” Weeks said before singing Colour It In track First Love. This steady paced smooth song had plenty of people singing along. “This is our last song for tonight. It’s been great, thanks for coming” Orlando said before bringing the night to a close with Grew Up At Midnight.

SET LIST

Child
Feel To Follow
Lego
Wall Of Arms
Went Away
Precious Time
X-Ray
Can You Give It
Forever I’ve Known
William Powers
No Kind Words
Love You Better
Slowly One
Pelican

ENCORE

Unknown
First Love
Grew Up At Midnight

OVERALL: The set played by The Maccabees was superb. I liked the fact that it was a full 17 song set. Originally I had thought maybe it would have been a short headline slot and they would only sing a couple from the album Given To The Wild. But I was wrong and the material which featured definitely hit the right spot with the sold out crowd. Even though the set was enjoyable The Maccabees weren’t my cup of tea. What they have produced is amazing but I like my music more pop than indie.

I won’t lie but the fact Lana pulled out was a bitter blow considering she was one of the main reason I attended. In fact I wasn’t the only one disappointed. Fair enough she was ill but I have a gut feeling she pulled out due to nerves. This makes me look forward to the gig at the Jazz Cafe even more.

As for Charli her set captivated me from the very start. Prior to the gig I had only heard Nuclear Seasons and was worried what if I didn’t like. I had already booked to see her play at The Lexington later on in February. Everyone of her songs was an infectious pop number which suited my musical taste down to a T. I definitely look forward to hearing more from Charli and getting hold of that début album when released.

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