There’s a lot to be said about a polite and good mannered crowd at a rock gig. It can often mean the difference between having a shit-hot night and a shit night. On a school night at the Hi-Fi, the crowd was an especially well mannered one, with punters making way for one another and a distinct lack of “elbowing” so one could say a good karmic vibe pervaded the confines of the room, with fans huddled closely towards the front of the stage; the positive atmosphere is a prediction of the night that unfolds.
Local guitar fiends Them Swoops manage to prime the throng with their frenetic guitar based pop, ending their set with upbeat Work Around It. Their infectious ditties, and energetic live performance make them an act to look out for. Since their inception in 2004, and three album releases on, it’s the Maccabees first ever time to Australia, and their loyal fans are eager with anticipation. Vocalist/guitarist Orlando Weeks and his cohorts launch into the haunting and evocative “Child” off latest critically acclaimed release Given To The Wild, showcasing their guitar laden soundscapes and Orlando’s moving falsetto vocals. Orlando is flanked by brothers Hugo and Felix White on guitar and backing vocals, bassist Rupert Jarvis, drummer Sam Doyle, and on keys Will White.
The opener reaches a crescendo of frenetic, mind blowing drumming, nimble guitar licks and some soaring vocals, setting the bar high for the remainder of the set. Followed by new song “Feel To Follow,” their set draws material from all three albums but it’s Pelican off their latest album and Precious Time played during the encore off first album Colour It In that incites the loudest crowd response. Painfully shy Orlando addresses the crowd stating it’s their first ever time in Australia amidst loud cheers from the punters, but much of his between song banter is quiet and undecipherable. In contrast guitarist Hugo, has the rock posturing moves, and hair flailing about down pat, wearing his sensuality on his sleeve, whilst Orlando keeps his in check.
Apart from their musical prowess, it’s the stark contrast between these two rock personas that make these British Indie darlings interesting to watch. Tonight The Maccabees showed Melbourne why the critics are creaming themselves. Lets hope they don’t take another 8 years to visit our shores.
First published in The Music, 20th May 2012