Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
The Maccabees at The Mod Club in Toronto
Frank YangIt was an odd thing to realize about a third of the way through The Maccabees’ debut Canadian performance at The Mod Club on Monday night, but it dawned on me that I wasn’t so much a fan of the band than their excellent latest album, last year’s Mercury-shortlisted Given To The Wild. Not that this points to any enmity towards the Brighton-based Brits, but I tend to form longish-term – or at least in-depth – relationships with the bands I like and go and see, but no such bond had been formed with The Maccabees and their almost decade-long history, perhaps because of their until-now reluctance to actively cultivate a North American fanbase.
This was not to say that they didn’t already have one. Though the show wasn’t sold out, the years of pent-up demand ensured that there was a strong showing of those who did have long-term relationships with the band. And while the set did feature an abundance of Wild material, fan service was very much in effect with their first two records Colour It In and Wall Of Arms very well-represented, with the mission statement being less about being a recital of Wild‘s carefully-crafted arc than just putting on a powerful show.
Observations on this new (to me) material from their catalog was that the elegant, atmospheric anthemicism of Wild seemed a bit of a left turn for the band, as the older material felt more straight-ahead with their roots in the Bloc Party-led post-punk scene of some years back clearly evident. It may have been less sophisticated, but it definitely helped make for an energized show with the band’s three-guitar attack helpfully turned up in the mix, though often to the point of obscuring vocalist Orlando Weeks’ powerfully delicate tenor.
Another new dimension to the band that I hadn’t picked up on from the record was that they were quite a charismatic rock band, particularly the shaggy hair and leather jacket-clad, guitar hero-posing White brothers. I don’t know why I had thought they’d be more conservative, art-rock aesthetes but I did and they certainly weren’t. They were unabashedly pleased to finally be playing in this country and the Toronto faction of their fanclub – or Facebook likers, I guess – were most pleased to have them. That said, I would have expected the show to go longer than the hour and change that it did but couldn’t complain about “Grew Up At Midnight” as a main set finale – almost as grandiose live as on record, even with Weeks taking a mulligan on it after botching the opening, nor about the “Heave”/”Pelican” double-header to wrap the encore. A solid show and plenty of incentive to have properly done my homework on the band by the time they return.
Photos: The Maccabees @ The Mod Club – February 11, 2013
MP3: The Maccabees – “Go”
Video: The Maccabees – “Ayla”
Video: The Maccabees – “Went Away”
Video: The Maccabees – “Feel To Follow”
Video: The Maccabees – “Feel To Follow” (alternate)
Video: The Maccabees – “Pelican”
Video: The Maccabees – “Empty Vessels”
Video: The Maccabees – “Can You Give It”
Video: The Maccabees – “Love You Better”
Video: The Maccabees – “No Kind Words”
Video: The Maccabees – “Toothpaste Kisses”
Video: The Maccabees – “Precious Time”
Video: The Maccabees – “About Your Dress”
Video: The Maccabees – “First Love”
Video: The Maccabees – “Latchmere”
Video: The Maccabees – “X-Ray”
Stream: The Maccabees / Given To The Wild
British Sea Power have posted a stream of the title track of their next album Machineries Of Joy, due out April 1.
Cool Hunting interviews the directors of Foals’ video for “My Number”, off their just-released Holy Fire; they’ve gone super lo-tech – CCTV-style – for a new rehearsal space clip they’ve shared and are interviewed by BBC. Foals are at The Kool Haus on May 11.
And it hardly answers all the questions raised a couple week back, but the Toronto Urban Roots Fest now has a website and more information for the curious. Like how the already-announced She & Him and Camera Obscura bill of July 4 is only the first of four days – two evenings and two full days – taking place largely at Fort York’s Garrison Commons, though with some club-level overflow. New acts will be announced every week for the new couple months, but if you’re doing some digging then checking out who’s playing Montreal’s Jazz Festival and Ottawa’s Bluesfest are probably good starting points. Think about it.