to top

Farewell to The Maccabees

The Maccabes Farewell Tour - Last Ever Gig - 1st July 2017

The Maccabees Last Ever Show, Alexandra Palace, Saturday 1st July 2017.

I’ve been thinking about that gig for the last few days now. In the lead up to it, I knew seeing The Maccabees for the last time would be emotional, but I hadn’t anticipated it would have quite this effect. They’re like old friends. Standing next to fellow-fans on Saturday night who have seen them upwards of 50 times, I began to feel a little fraudulent, but this is a band that mean so, so much to me.

The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017 The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017

Trying to totter up how many times I’ve seen them myself, I reckon we’re at more than 10 but less than 20 but, that’s at least once a year since I first heard about them. I’m not quite as emotionally connected as some of the other fans I’ve seen who have had the band see them through heartache and upheaval – thankfully my life hasn’t had too much of that in recent years. That said, they have always been there. Some how two or three of their songs always manage to make it on to any new playlist, and they’re still my ‘most played’ on Last FM.

The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017
The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017

The Maccabees have always been good. Better than the record, and reliable. I’ve never seen them on bad form, and Saturday night was no exception. I just felt like I needed to note down these feelings that I’m feeling for prosperity. Despite it being the final show, it still didn’t feel like the end. Maybe they’ll all go on to do cool things that I’ll enjoy too, and it’s not like I’m now banned from adding their songs to my playlists – that would be cause for true heartbreak πŸ’”.

We were only kids then…

It feels like a chapter of my life is over, and whether it’s symbolically through this final concert, or because I’m turning 28 this year, that’s weird. They’ve been a constant, it’s not that my music tastes have changed much anyway but I felt like I really invested in them; buying t-shirts and EPs, following their obscure side projects – and hanging those projects up in my living room – not to mention the fluttering at a particular way a live vocal has been arranged and making sure I catch them live even if it’s just on TV and not actually live.

The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017

I wasn’t the girl bursting any eardrums on Saturday night but I sung along as loud as I always have and got sweatier than I ever have done. It felt so bittersweet when it all finished and echos of ‘Something Like Happiness’ came in and out as we walked back to the car.

If you love them, go ahead and tell them…

I surprised myself, I cry at everything these days; cute old people, sad dogs, the weight of existence… So when no tears came during my favourite songs, as they have done a couple of times before, I thought I might have overcome this. Seeing them all well-up on stage after the final song though, I felt it. I wanted to know why they’re leaving when it makes them so sad… But then, all good things come to an end I suppose and it makes being there that night all the more special and allows my relationship with The Maccabees to continue to be as special as it always has been.

The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017
The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017
The Maccabees Farewell Show - Alexandra Palace 1st July 2017

They made 17 year old me’s dreams come true by bringing out Jamie T, because of course they did, because they’re the best! And Jack PeΓ±ate, of ‘best friend of Adele and for some reason a recluse’ fame. After seeing a snap of the previous night’s performance with Marcus Mumford on stage, I kind of just expected a repeat and kicked myself for allowing spoilers, but they surprised and they didn’t allow it to take away from it being their night.

It’s actually pretty difficult to put into words how it feels to be glad that you were somewhere. I’ve had those moments at Glastonbury and even other Maccabees gigs (Hey, 2009 rise of Mumford & Sons) but these songs, and these guys, they really, really mean something to me and I can’t quite put that part into words, but I’m still going to keep putting their stuff on my walls.

Plus, you know, I’ll be front-row-centre if they ever change their mind. πŸ’“

Fast Banjos.

Moon and I have very much been on the live music wagon in the last couple of months, but Sunday’s Trampled by Turtles gig marked our last definite ‘date in the diary’ until February.

After agreeing to come and see Eliza and the Bear with me back in September, I was slightly obligated to agree to see a band I hadn’t heard of as well.

Trampled by Turtles, to me at least, are probably a band that might not get on with the popularity of Mumford & Sons (at least ever so slightly), but they’re also a real mish-mash of guys just hanging out, playing really fast country music. They didn’t set my world on fire but they sounded really good and a gig in Bristol is always a treat, even more so when it’s on a boat.

Thekla is a boat that calls Bristol Docks its home, it doesn’t even feel like you’re on a boat once you’re inside with the only clues being the subtle interior design nods but I kind of like that. It looks so pretty when it’s lit up and to add to that, it even offers one of the cheapest most affordable parking spots in the whole city.

The support for the evening were Dirty Beggars, a bluegrass band from the centre of Scotland – yep! While I spent a lot of their set concentrating on how much their harmonicist looks a lot like ultimate frontman, Ricky Wilson, they were actually a whole lot of fun, with an array of nice folksy songs including a great one about chicken (sort of).

It was a nice way to spend the evening and funny to see Moon so excited as he’s wanted to see Trampled by Turtles for ages. All this has meant that I’ve spent most of this week catching up on sleep but it’s quite good to know Bristol isn’t that far away. Must make an effort to pop over there more often!

Welcome Back, Jamie.

This might have been the gig of my life!

I’m not sure how many people will care all that much but around 4 years ago, Jamie T was kind of a big deal. He was one of my favourite artists before his first album even dropped but then after a winning awards and critical acclaim for his second album and selling out shows everywhere, he just disappeared.

Hey, things like that happen, you move on, you find someone else to listen to, but Jamie T was always a regular among my playlists.

I think someone broke his heart terribly and it’s something you can really feel in some of the raw lyrics across his new album, Carry On the Grudge. I’d love to know where he’s been but mostly, I’m really happy that he’s back and I hope he doesn’t do a disappearing act like that, at least without an explanation, for a long while.

So that’s why Moon and I were in Norwich over the weekend, not just because we fancied visiting Norwich (more on that part later though because it’s a swell city), but because when the guy who wrote ‘your song’ makes a comeback after being quiet for practically half a decade and is sold out anywhere nearby, you’ve got to make the effort.

When in a student union, man must snakebite, and then regret it.
This is around the fourth time I’ve seen Jamie T and I must admit, as great a performer as he is and as much as I’ve enjoyed each show, he had a 1 in 3 track-record in my eyes of poor support – I did see Slow Club support him at the iTunes Festival though (before it became impossible to get tickets) – so when Moon said he recognised Saturday night’s support as Slaves, a shouty, aggressive band that ‘I’m gonna hate’, I wasn’t looking forward to waiting around for 2 hours to get to the good bit.

I think what I learnt from the above is that Moon, even after all this time, might not know me as well as he thinks he does. SLAVES WERE AWESOME!
When he said I’d hate it, I figured it might be metally – metal, I can do without – but they weren’t. Much like Jamie T, this duo from Royal Tunbridge Wells were a brilliant blend of rap with old-school punk vibes and they had the perfect amount of swagger with almost (Arctic)Monkey-esque banter. I’m a fan.

Their lyrics are clever and funny, and yes, they are loud and not necessarily what I would usually listen to but as live performances go, I’d definitely recommend that you check them out. Especially for their on-stage stories, Girl Fight’s back story was my favourite.

As for Jamie T himself, as you may gather from my opening statement, he was just as on-point as I remember. Performing with a new band, it was fairly obvious that he was a bit nervous as the crowd were crazy-buzzed but as soon as he was out from behind the guitar, he came into his own and it really felt like he’d never even been away.

He played a mixture of old and new songs and we sang along to every word and (even as far back as we were) got pushed about a bit. First time in a long while that I’ve lost my voice at a gig, but that just about did the trick.

The stand-out songs for me (Pacemaker, Operation and If You Got the Money) were oldies but the whole set was perfection. If you’re lucky enough to be catching him at all this month during this sell-out tour run then you’re in for a proper treat, he’s doing a few less whiskey chasers on stage than before and the slow songs are a bit more poignant but there’s no doubt about it that he’s still got it!

I’ve Got Friends, I’ve Got Family Here.

On Monday, Moon and I went to our first gig in ages, bit of a mistake given that it was on a school night after busy days for both of us but we powered through.

We were at the O2 Academy Oxford to see Eliza & the Bear, a band I discovered back in January when I refused to listen to anything but Xfm. I’ve mentioned them a couple of times before on here and they’ve become regulars on my Spotify playlists as time has gone on.

Without meaning to sound too mushy, they’re lyrics and sound are just really uplifting and they’re a pretty great band to turn to when I need that little lift. After listening to their recordings for the best part of a year, it was the actual best that they were even better live. Opening with ‘Friends’, I was dancing from the start of their set to the end and despite Moon’s scepticism, the fact that they’re that bit heavier live, he actually might have fallen for them. So good job, guys, you’ve won yourself a new fan.

Supported by a local guy called Jack Little and (my bargaining tool for getting Moon to come) Pixel Fix, it was a really enjoyable evening and makes me excited for the live shows we have coming up in the next couple of months, after no festivals and even longer since we’ve been to an actual gig, I don’t know why we left it so long.

Highlights for Jack Little included his song, ‘Zombie’, about putting your phone away, something I’m probably slightly of guilty of but something that definitely gets annoying when you’re at a gig and ‘that popular’ song comes on, it’s the video-takers I hate.

Moon and I also loved Jack’s little mate who clearly thought the world of him and was singing along to every word, the cutest β™₯.

He might get it a lot but as a ‘guy with a 3/4 guitar’, it’s hard not to make the comparison between him and Ed Sheeran, which I hope works in his favour and doesn’t mean that he’s missed the boat, you know, since Ed Sheeran is bigshot sellout now.

I knew next to nothing about Pixel Fix other than recognising the name. They’re not what I would usually listen to but they put on a good show and their between-song patter was pretty good.

Pretty pleased I managed to get this one. o/

The Other October Gig: Bowling for Soup – Farewell UK Tour

So, while I’ve been busy winning a couple of cool-points by seeing Spector (that’s a thing, right?), a couple of weeks ago, I also did a little bit of making up to my teen-self by checking out Bowling for Soup at the ‘new’ O2 Academy Southampton Guildhall for their Farewell UK Tour.

We’ve seen Bowling for Soup a few times now and to give them credit, it’s always a fun night out and this certainly was no exception. Their support, Patent Pending really won me over by appealing to 16-year-old-me with their bouncy, happy pop-punk, they swam through the crowd too!

Bowling for Soup pretty much only played the hits, with only a few new ones thrown in, which is definitely what you want as a old fan who’s not kept up to date.

I know I’ve taken quite a few photos and I do take photos at gigs, what was pretty noticeable at this gig though was the sheer amount of people videoing everything, definitely a new peeve of mine. I mean, do it, but at least video things the right way round – really though, all you’re achieving is a sore arm and Bowling for Soup are even kind enough to give you a ‘photo opportunity’ moment so really in this case, you have no excuse.

I felt a little bit out of place, what with all the much cooler people with blue hair, but I laughed and danced a lot, you simply cannot beat a bit of pop-punk. Apparently this isn’t Bowling for Soup’s last UK tour ever, it’s just for a bit, but it does mark the end of something.