It’s been three years since The Maccabees released their last album. The five piece indie rock band make a comeback with their fourth studio album ‘Marks To Prove It.’ Orlando Weeks (Vocals / Guitar or on this occasion Keyboard), Hugo White (Guitar), Felix White (Guitar), Rupert Jarvis (Bass) and Sam Doyle (Drummer) are all on the road promoting their new masterpiece, the album is very close to reaching number one in this week’s official charts.
100 wristbands for the event were allocated to lucky fans who purchased ‘Marks To Prove It’ from Fopp store, with a fair part of the ‘first come first served’. All the enthusiastic Mancunians queuing, anxious to get inside Fopp to get up close and personal to the band. Doors open, we move our way down into the basement of the store, the ‘stage area’ is set up at the end of a record aisle, ready for the band. The fans form the crowd anywhere they can in amongst the shop fixtures, as we all have a flick through the stores DVD collection waiting for the band to arrive.
The band appear, and we are greeted with an abashed “Hello. Well this is weird” referring to the intimacy of the venue. Frontman Weeks “I’m going to say hello now because I will be seated throughout the set and won’t see most of you” as he takes his place on the keyboard “does anyone have a keyboard pedal? we somehow lost ours on our way here”
Opening to an applause, the lads from London kick things off with ‘Something like Happiness’ Then playing hit track ‘Marks to Prove It’ (The keyboard pedal is found) the stripped back version is interesting, every characteristic and sound stands out. Fopp could have gone to the effort of setting up a small platform for the band, we can’t see much but its ok because the sound is perfect.
A couple more from the new album, ‘Kamakura’ followed by ‘Spit It Out’ this is where Weeks vocals flood the record store. There is an intimate atmosphere, the crowd are really into it. The new songs work well in such a small venue. It was the bands focus to create an album that played well live, which they have proven to the Manchester fans this evening.
Felix thanks the crowd “We have one more for you Manchester, this is ‘Pelican’” at this point a couple of the enthusiastic fans (including myself) climb up onto friends shoulders to catch a glimpse of the band huddled in the corner of the store. From above, looking around I see 100 individual happy faces.
As the band take off their guitars, a shoulder fan shouts from above to the band “Toothpaste Kisses, please, please, please, Toothpaste Kisses” The band convene, decision is made to play one more. Love song ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ is intense and so beautiful, even though Weeks cuts it slightly short. His whistle croons out over the silence of the 100 happy faces.
Despite the great set and sense of occasion, the usual louder Maccabees crowd is quieter more reserved tonight, taking it all in, it all felt a bit magic. After performing, the band hang around to meet fans and sign copies of their new album, before catching the train back down to London. To say this was a special gig is putting it rather lightly, the London stores are in for a treat.
The Maccabees played:
‘Something like Happiness’
‘Marks to Prove It’
‘Spit It Out’