Review of The Maccabees with Trailer Trash Tracys live at Hmv Institute Birmingham, UK
Artist: The Maccabees/Trailer Trash Tracys
Venue: HMV Institute, Birmingham, UK
Date: 27th January 2012
These are glorious days for The Maccabees. Having just released their critically acclaimed third album, Given To The Wild, they are embarking on a victory lap tour around the UK playing modest sized venues to sold out crowds night after night. It is something of a revelation knowing that this will be the last time we will able to see the five piece in such intimate surroundings like the HMV Institute, as come the summer, they are booked to play the 7000 capacity Alexandra Palace in London. With all this considered tonight’s show has a certain air of celebration about it and The Maccabees are absorbing every minute of it.
Before the Brighton band take to the stage, London based four piece, Trailer Trash Tracys, warm up the crowd with disappointing results. The band having just released their debut LP, Ester, struggled to bring this multi layered album to life on stage. The waves of glacial guitars creates a blanket dirge that swamps Susanne Aztoria’s celestial vocal, so much that her voice is indiscernible. Equally the throbbing bass only compounds the murky noise TTT make. It comes as a frustration that the band’s studio sound doesn’t translate well in the live arena as their debut album is a delightfully produced body of work.
With the Maccabees assembled in attack formation, guitarist brothers White, flank lead singer Orlando Weeks as the trio stand with their backs to the audience as they chime out the opening chords to ‘Child’. The five piece stand before this feverous audience with a new reassured confidence which replaces the band’s earlier shows that were fuelled by a nervous, jittering energy. As ‘Child’ gathers pace and reaches its thrilling conclusion, said crowd transform from a static mass to a surging wave of bodies, which as the show progresses doesn’t let up. ‘Child’ makes way for ‘Feel To Follow’ which induces one of many sing-a-longs and justifies that this is The Maccabees time to take the next step into the mainstream.
What is obvious about tonight’s performance is how well the bands new material slots in faultlessly with their earlier work, ‘Precious Time’ marvelously compliments ‘Forever I’ve Known’, while ‘No Kind Words’ could happily sit on the quintet’s latest album with it’s controlled sonic assault.
The band have grown in confidence and this has permeated into the first two albums worth of material, what were once songs that sounded like huge firecrackers, have been upgraded into megaton explosions of sound. ‘Lego’ and ‘X-Ray’ were key examples of how the band have developed and grown as a collective.
‘Grew Up At Midnight’ brings this triumphant gig to a close and is a breathtaking full stop in the story of The Maccabees. The next chapter is due to begin very soon for the quintet and 2012 is just getting started. By the end of this year, The Maccabees will reminisce about how 2012 was the year they matured into the world conquering band we’ve always wanted them to be.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams
Photography by Naomi Abbs