It’s unusual for a band not to preface their gig with a taster of their new material. The only new track released before this tour was the driving rocker‘Marks to Prove it’ so there is an air of uncertainty as well as excitement to see how the new material goes down live.
Prior to the Maccabees long overdue return to Manchester its time for the warm-up band Gengahr pre-listens to a few of their tracks on Soundcloud suggests that they could be a good listen. It is disappointing that the band don't live up to that promise as they fail to ignite a crowd who are awaiting something special.
Gengahr resemble a lost puppy in a mincer. There’s clearly something missing here the backing is muscular but the vocals are too twee which leads to a clear disconnection with the audience its all a bit all over the place and bar their half decent single at the end their 30 minute set is a shambles which is a shame because underneath all the mess they could have some good songs.Thankfully they are not the main event because the Maccabees herald their arrival to the stage with all their big hitters from their excellent ‘Wall of Arms’ album each one a mass singalong blowing their warm-up act out of the water.
What’s great about the band is they are all about the music and people joining in for a shared experience that’s what makes the Maccabees connect with their audience. In a previous that I attended on the ‘Wall of Arms’ tour they stopped the music due to a scuffle in the front and wouldn’t restart until it was resolved.
The new stuff is decent too with the Maccabees taking a more heavier and experimental approach but they have never sounded better ’Marks to Prove it’ is given a new urgency live, even the old stuff sounds fresh most bands could only dream of having this many hits and still maintain that tangible connection with their audience . It is noticeable that they have moved on from their laddish ways and seem to be appealing to a new audience.
Their old songs see them let loose as we are all reminded of those heady days when the Maccabees were first introduced. 'Latchmere' is a highlight with its call and response and precious time while new track something like happiness is a tad starsailorish and although has a good chorus lacks a bit of personality.
They end with ‘Pelican’ which shows how far the band have come. They are no longer little tykes they have all grown up but it seems they have not forgot their roots.