The Maccabees / Good Books - 53 Degrees Preston - 12.2.07
Good Books are an unlikely mix of the Delays (great synth pop) and The Ordinary Boys (cockney vocals courtesy of Max Cooke). "The Illness" is a song about music and terrorists while "Passchendaele" is a moving tale of a young mans tragic demise in World War One. Commercial yet credible, anthemic but also able to have on occasion a touch of groovy 70s funk and if the impressive "Alice" is anything to go by then their forthcoming album in June will be an essential summer purchase.
South london quintet The Maccabees have one energetic, lively, chirpy guitarist (a dead ringer for Mika), while the other chap on guitar hides behind his hoodie, sulks and skulks, grimaces and hardly looks up from his instrument throughout the gig. What a contrasting pair they are. This date in Preston is one of the few remaining gigs that haven't sold out on this tour with people travelling from Manchester just to be here tonight. Pint sized frontman Orlando Weaks is a relaxed performer hardly breaking into a sweat but he still delivers the goods as various crowd surfers are bundled to safety. His vocals is one quarter Robert Smith and three quarters Jamie T, that kind of exaggerated, affected London twang which many singers today are enamoured by, but Designer Magazine are finding it a little stale and tired now though.
The Maccabees are punky, with spiky guitars, elements of ska, played at break neck speed. New single "About Your Dress" sees the crowd erupt with rumbustious vigour as fans sing the song word for word, moshing, dancing and pushing as far to the front as they can. A cover of Richard Hawley's "Just Like The Rain" is given a brand new lease of life with "Precious Time" a chance for everyone to sing the chorus as the bequest of Orlando himself.
After about half an hour though the bands limitations become all too clear with little variation or sense of adventure, with many tracks sounding very similar but the Maccabees have plenty of energy, style and charisma but still guys, with all the hollering and commotion an encore would have been appreciated by your admirers. That said, The Maccabees did end with the amazing "First Love" which was much appreciated by the Preston posse.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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