Concert Review | Despite a dearth of older tunes, The Maccabees deliver

**** (4 stars out of 6); February 19 at Lille Vega

Another band on their way up, The Maccabees have gradually progressed from being a mediocre indie-rock group to becoming one of Britain’s proudest offspring. The band made a welcome return to Copenhagen with an intimate show at Lille Vega on Sunday.

With a welcoming cheer, they took their places on stage and opened with the one-two punch of new album Given to the Wild’s opening pair ‘Child’ and ‘Feel To Follow’. Given the strength of the band’s back catalogue, the decision to start with two new tracks was surprising – the audience seemed slightly disappointed as their anticipation was met by lyrics they didn’t know. Suddenly the thrashing guitars of ‘Wall of Arms’ filled the venue and the audience exploded with satisfaction, prompting some lively sing-along moments. Lead singer Orlando Week’s intriguing habit of singing into two microphones marks the band’s sound, giving it an ethereal quality.

Week kept chat to a minimum, but told fans it was good to be back in Copenhagen after three years away. Week’s usual understated and almost awkward performance was perfectly offset by guitarist Felix White, who radiated enthusiasm from start to finish.

While their newest songs were technically fascinating, it was the older ones – particularly those from 2007’s Colour It In – that really captured the crowd’s attention. That is not to say that the new songs weren’t enjoyable. They had a sophistication that contrasted favourably with the more straightforward earlier work.

The energetic ‘Pelican’ closed the set and the band left the stage to endless applause. As they returned for the encore, they teased with the quiet and ethereal ‘Unknow’. Unconventionally, the closing song was another new track, ‘Grew Up At Midnight’, which sadly failed to hold the crowd’s attention and several people took the opportunity to reach the cloakroom before the queue started forming.

Overall, The Maccabees were truly astonishing and the band certainly haven’t lost their live talent during the year they’ve spent in the studio. They could have played a few more upbeat classics, allowing the crowd to fully let go – but they can be forgiven for wanting to play a good mix of old and new.