Ahead of their debut festival headline slot, Getintothis’ Tom Konstantynowicz sees a band finally ready and primed to take centre stage.
Over the past ten years or so, The Maccabees have gone from a jangly, post-Libertines, understated mid-noughties live band, cherished by a few, to a widely acclaimed institution of the British indie landscape, with a number one album now on their résumé.
This dress rehearsal, a day prior to their debut festival headline show, handed to them by Latitude, feels like it’s arrived at the right time. For fans there from the beginning, who remember those early gigs with Good Shoes and support slots with The Fratellis, there is no band more deserving of the limelight.
Tonight, the crowd at the O2 Academy are treated to stellar support in GIT Award 2016 winner Bill Ryder-Jones, which meant the walls of this notoriously sweltering venue were perspiring earlier than usual as a couple of hundred get themselves inside to hear tracks from 2015’s outstanding West Kirby County Primary.
The former Coral man is a talented guitarist and the high points of his set come via the grungier, lo-fi instrumentals which reverberate off the low ceiling and echo around the room. Two To Birkenhead is still the standout that gets everyone nodding their heads.
With no tricks or gimmicks other than a natural connection with the audience, each other and the songs, Orlando, Felix and co draw equally from their four studio albums. Raw debut single X-Ray somehow fuses perfectly with more designful new material such as Kamakura and Ribbon Road, all forming chapters of a story which will reach perhaps its uppermost peak to date on the Latitude main stage.
In a room now unbearably hot, where water is selling at twice the rate of beer, nobody leaves early, instead revelling in an encore which includes one of the finest alternative love songs of recent times, Toothpaste Kisses, and their most radio friendly single, Pelican. The most remarkable facet of this band is their ability to find the perfect blend between charmful intimacy and seismic, stadium-ready junctures.
Not an act who got lucky on a couple of decent songs, rather one who have consistently produced intelligent, forward-thinking and thought-provoking music, The Maccabees have everything in their armory to ensure topping those summer festival bills becomes the norm.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Keith Ainsworth