The Maccabees

support Air Bag One
author TL date 19/02/12 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Sunday evening, clock is about 8 and Rasmus and I are at Lille Vega, having beers and watching the place gradually fill up with people that make us feel pretty un hip. Rimmed glasses and knitted hats are aplenty, which is no surprise considering tonight's show with The Maccabees, the most happening British indie rock band at the moment, courtesy of their very ambitious recent third album "Given To The Wild". Before it's time to have a look at their show however, French trio Air Bag One have been assigned the task of warming up tonight's crowd.

Air Bag One

If tonight looks like a night for hipsters judging from the crowd and the headliners then you bet Air Bag One fit the bill, taking the stage looking like three models having stepped straight out of some urban clothing magasine. They launch into a set of poppy, fleet-footed indie rock, playing two guitars, a keyboard and a drumkit live and leaving some quite enjoyable bass rhythms to a mac stationed behind the kit. Instrumentally the music reminds me a bit of Young The Giant, while the vocals, at their lowest call Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes) to mind and occasionally there are also some quirky guitar signatures around as well, that could merit comparison to Foals. Both the band and their songs come across as unquestionably cool, and I especially like the fact that even though Air Bag One are going for a casual, light-weight sound, their songs are not written as tight little pop songs, rather plenty of time is given at the end of compositions for the either solos or noisy little climaxes. It lends the band some integrity that goes well with their cool demeanor on stage, where you can tell that they're both tight and well-rehearsed and they also seem to really enjoy cranking out their tunes for our enjoyment - And this despite the fact that crowd is hardly giving them more than polite applauses between songs. I make note that their singing is also as impressive as their playing and their sound, with high pitched falsetto harmonies coming through deliciously in many of the bands choruses. Overall, there are only some slight problems - like a string breaking on the second chord of a song for instance - to be found on stage, and the main hindrance for Air Bag One is that they don't have an audience of their own to make the show an appropriate celebration of their music. A decent job for a support band then.

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The Maccabees

After a break has offered sufficient time for trips to the bathroom and the bar, it is time for The Maccabees to come on, and by now Lille Vega is pretty much as packed as I've ever seen it, with hip youngsters for once standing shoulder to shoulder so closely that one can't even weasel ones way to the front. A rare good sign for the Danish music scene perhaps? At least it would seem so, because as soon as The Maccabees start playing, you get the feeling that they're a band that certainly has put in the work to deserve the attention of a solid audience. Starting out with "Child" and "Feel To Follow" from "Given To The Wild", the band sounds brilliant from pretty much the first note, and the audience responds with warm rounds of applause and many start bopping heads and rocking back and forth straight away, despite the relatively chilled out moods of these songs. I'm impressed to hear that singer/guitarist Orlando Weeks handles the high singing of the bands newer material with seamless ease, just as I must gape in awe, at how the many ambient sounding elements of the band's music are played not from samples, but from one of their three guitars, each of which is connected to a dizzying array of effect pedals. The band rocks through their set like seasoned veterans, looking as cool and comfortable on stage as you'd expect from a band that's used to playing vastly bigger audiences. Much of the crowd starts out looking a bit cautious, as if overly aware that tomorrow morning has work or studying in store for them, but the more The Maccabees play, the more movement and applause they gather. The set revolves mainly around the band's two later albums, but you can see that the further back they go in their discography, the better people seem to respond to them, with "No Kind Words", "Can You Give It" and "Love You Better" marking a few highs in the appreciation shown to them. The crowd even calls out for "Precious Time", from debut album "Colour It In", when new single "Pelican" closes the regular set with solid intensity, and predictably - at least if you've peaked a previous setlists before coming here) - the band does indeed come back and round things off with "Unknown", "Precious Time" and "Grew Up At Midnight". Overall, the performance isn't at all wild or crazy in the way some rock shows are, what with the band and audience mostly dancing/rocking about in a very composed manner, but the sheer quality of the delivery of the songs is enough to please the ear so much, that I'm willing to say it was a top quality evening anyway, as I'm sure most of the people in attendance would probably agree.

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For more awesome photos, check out the website of our photographer Rasmus Ejlersen.

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