Live Reviews

The Maccabees @ Fez, Reading

18 February 2007


The Home Office should take note of the next sentence. Gangs of blitzed, bored shitless, kids are not the downfall of modern society but, in fact, the saviours of our cultural heritage. It is simply a matter of approach.

Fuck ASBOs, stun guns and rhetoric. Simply dispatch guitars and a stack load of vintage punk albums on the corner of every off licence. These days, in the time it takes to burn The Daily Mail, there is another group of hyper alert and frighteningly talented teens, bouncing against the walls of our decaying nation with a riot vans worth of tunes. Tonight, it happens to be The Maccabees in the Fez.

Fresh from the Arctic Monkeys’ school of nonchalance, they plough through their set with the odd murmur of thanks and shrug of the shoulder to a rabid crowd, worked up to howling point by,incredibly , a song about a Battersea leisure centre (Latchmere).

First Love and soon to be single, About Your Dress, are like coiled springs of nervous guitar melodies that bound down the stairs with such joy that you have to have to nail feet to the floor, just to stop yourself leaping after them. With every stop start riff and wry Jamie T-a like lyric, they seem to simultaneously break hearts and ribs.

Like all good, rising stars with die-hard myspace followings, every word of tomorrow’s hits are sung back at the band. They have clearly seeped into the anthem forming core of our collective brains. Orlando Weeks clambers onto a monitor to crane a look at his new disciples, barely raising his tiny frame above head level. And everyone surges forward, knowing full well that the next time they spot this band it will probably be through binoculars at a festival main stage.

The others keep their heads down, hoods up, as they work up another bristling shock wave from their downloadable delights. Call it bite-sized Libertines, South London Arctic-baboon-rock, or just jaw-dropping class. Whatever it is, this is home grown talent and there is more to come.

So turn schools into forced labour camps, force feed sprouts to the pupils and confiscate their iPods. The angrier our youth, the better our music. Fact.


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