The Maccabees / Drenge
Norwich, 20.11.15

The Maccabees highly-anticipated fourth studio album Marks To Prove It reached a well-deserved number 1 in the UK Album chart in August this year, proving a triumphant return for the band. Their South London surroundings act as the protagonist for a lot of their incredible record, showcasing their more tangible, cohesive sound.

Support act Drenge certainly had their younger fans out in force, moshing and chanting throughout their 40 minute set. Bloodsports and We Can Do What We Want proving particular favourites. Drenge' second album Undertow released earlier this year provides a great listen, ;however live, the droning vocals from Eoin Loveless merged each song into one another, which was surprising for a band who embark on the NME Awards Tour in 2016, alongside headliners Bloc Party.

The sold out crowd buzz in earnest, eagerly awaiting the return of The Maccabees to Norwich. The band stride onto the stage, their beaming energy reciprocated by the deafening crowd. Blasting things off with the defining Marks To Prove It, The Maccabees certainly prove that their time spent curating their new record was worth while, as their chemistry on stage is undeniable from the onset.

The delicate, stripped back vocals from Orlando Weeks, accompanied by
soft keys and melodic guitars, enchant the crowd as Feel To Follow
proves a keen favourite from the bands previous record, Given To The
Wild. Electric blue and red cascading lights flood the stage, amidst
fast-paced, energetic guitar riffs with added brass and percussion,
building for the signature Maccabees' instrumental crescendo.

As the emphatic opening chords of Wall of Arms strike, adding to the
bands brilliant eclectic setlist, the crowds energy increases. The
atmospheric Kamakura follows with soft, enchanting sounds before the
violent chorus erupts. Ribbon Road provides a calming respite for both
the band and crowd, before the chanting of Love You Better and Precious
Time echo around the LCR. Can You Give It from the bands second album
Wall Of Arms, creates a sea of brilliantly timed crowd jumping.

The sudden burst of energy of Spit It Out, showcases the bands
confrontation towards their new record, as the lyrics ‘What are we doing
now?’ reverberate into the harsh piano. The Maccabees have certainly
gauged which songs are exciting to play live, as their more self assured, honest record translates live beautifully, creating arguably
their most impressive, juxtaposed setlist to date.

Orlando Weeks and Hugo White’s harmonising vocals on Silence bring a
calming contrast before the crowd are treated to First Love; another
favourite from the bands first album Colour It In; creating a sense of
embraced nostalgia. The welcome edition of X-Ray replaces Went Away,
providing the crowd with yet another upbeat favourite to mosh to, before
leading into No Kind Words. Catching Felix after the gig, he explains
the band replaced Went Away as it didn’t go down too well in Nottingham,
and that as it has been ten years since the release of their first ever single X-Ray, it seems only fitting to add it into the set.

Something Like Happiness is certainly the mutual feeling of the crowd as
the main set draws to a close. The grand, orchestral Grew Up At Midnight
echoes beautifully, creating an overwhelming atmosphere, connecting the
band and the audience as one. The abrupt end stuns everyone into a dazed
silence, creating the most dramatic conclusion to a main set I have ever

An impressive four song encore is welcomed with roaring cheers. The
enchanting, delicate Toothpaste Kisses; creates an overwhelming sense of
unity between the band and the swaying crowd. As the distinct riffs of
Pelican blast out, the crowds energy reaches the pinnacle of euphoria,
with a sea of frenzied dancing creating the perfect ending to any
Maccabees gig.

The stage plunges into darkness and the band exit the stage to
thundering applause, leaving the crowd mesmerised by what certainly was
one incredible, memorable gig to end this year's gig season. There are
still a handful of tickets left for The Maccabees three consecutive
shows at London 02 Academy Brixton in January. Definitely a gig not to
be missed, especially as the band have recently been shortlisted for
Best British Band, Best Album and Best Live Band for the NME Awards

Jess Benstead

Pix Jess Benstead / Ali Benstead