The Maccabees, Jack Penate

James Ainsworth 27/04/2007

In a soulless, vacuous dank school-like hall in Bristol, music lovers of the indie variety are gathered, feverishly awaiting this year's hot tip to take to the stage and deliver a rip-roaring run through of their recently released album. The biblically named Maccabees have their disciples amassed, and having already witnessed the samey over-hyped dancing feet of Jack Penate, this could go either way. The Maccabees are under pressure to perform, they are looking to escape the years of turmoil and despair that has shaped many of the songs in their repertoire, but they want out, to break free.

They throw themselves straight into the bag of tunes that debut album “Colour It In” has to offer and as you might expect, the disciples down front already know every word: girls are crying, weeping sheer adulation in weak-kneed abandon at Orlando and co. The band reveal their apprehension about playing such a large venue and hearing that ticket sales hadn't gone quite as expected. “You are many. We are so few,” is the ambling mumble of a clearly bewildered Orlando.

The set highlights were a truly blistering rip through of 'Precious Time' and 'About Your Dress,' all previous releases that those in the know adore and crave. The set holds together pretty tightly, for a band so well rehearsed and well toured, this should be expected, but the transition from record to live is something that perhaps works against The Maccabees. Glorious indie-pop gems captured with aplomb on record fail to ignite such rapture in the non-committal, casual fan in the live arena. Perhaps it is the nature of the venue that sucks life, melody and spunk out of the heart of the songs, but when album closer and statutory slow song 'Toothpaste Kisses' is executed, it becomes a turgid and down tempo moment that doesn't quite fit.

For the upcoming festival season, it can be forecast that The Maccabees will play here, there and everywhere in between and amass a loyal following: it remains to be seen, however, if they will escalate into this year's Kooks.