The Maccabees: O2 Academy, Leeds

Some gigs have an uncanny ability to answer age old questions for you, tonight’s is about the crowd criteria at Leeds 02 Academy – what’s worse than couples at a gig? Drunk couples! It might not be a surprise that couples have flocked to see the Brighton band perform their numerous songs all about luurve, but you might not have expected them to be falling on you.

The Maccabees sound isn’t anything too extraordinary or different, but their advantage is that it is a struggle to compare them to any other act in the music scene at the moment.  They straddle the lines of folk and indie, but live their genre edges on rock.  Their sound is exaggerated, and the soft electric guitar notes ever present in the background of their songs are catapulted to the front and lead the tracks.

The pieces picked from the first album, “Colour it in”, were predictably the most appreciated, the songs are strong and kick started the bands career.   The Maccabees were made for festivals, the soft catchy sound and unique vocals make you want to sit down on crumbly terrain in the sunshine with the rest of the unwashed. ‘first love’ bought on a hyperbolic reaction, the crowd looked at each other, groups of girls squealed at one another and couples used this as an invitation to continue the PDAs.

It wasn’t just the punters who were tasting the excitement, but the guitarist Will White, also inhaled it and the wide eyes and perma-smile were present throughout the whole set.  His reaction showed that the band had not been jaded by the process and still thrived on the live set – which added to the enjoyment.

Orlando Weeks’ voice ebbed, flowed, rose and dug deep. Because of the range of vocals in songs, there may have been some measure of doubt to his live ability.  He managed to reach all the notes and then some.  His hollow voice was bought to life by the synth sounds that the band have introduced to their music.

You wouldn’t question the impact that the song ‘Pelican’ would have on a room, with the sharp thought provoke lyrics and punchy melody, the crowd wouldn’t have done anything but react manically. But, live the song was so vibrant the reaction was verging on euphoric.

The one gripe that the fans may have had was that ‘Toothpaste kisses’ didn’t rear it’s head,  Will White’s defence was “we haven’t played it in a while”, a less reasonable person might say that excuse wasn’t good enough.