LAST night, a sold out Albert Hall played host to indie rockers The Maccabees. Quays News entertainment reporter Natalie Rees was there…

For almost a decade, the Londoners have been producing indie favourites, including ‘Toothpaste Kisses’, ‘Pelican’ and ‘Feel to Follow’. The evolution of the band has led them to a punchier sound, encompassed in their fourth album ‘Marks to prove it’ released last year. On the first night of the tour, the quintet were supported by fellow Londoners Johnny Lloyd and The Big Moon.

Former Tribes frontman Johnny Lloyd warmed up a cold January night in Manchester with an explosion of fiery guitar. Supported by his live band, the Camden based songwriter played tracks from his debut solo EP ‘Pilgrims’, which was released last year. The fast filing crowd applauded after Johnny played his opening track, boasting an unmistakeably indie sound, one reminiscent of The Maccabees themselves.

He continued with the chilled out ‘Happy Human’ before descending into a heavier sound with ‘Pilgrims’. Lloyd finished with ‘Running Wild’, a record which was produced with the help of Mystery Jets’ Blaine Harrison, who Lloyd will support for five nights in February.

Johnny LloydAt 8.15pm, all girl gang The Big Moon jumped onto stage in a flurry of smiles and ‘hello’s, before kicking off their set enveloping the buzzing crowd in a wave of heavy guitar riffs. The four girls, fronted by Juliette Jackson, commanded the intimate venue from the start, playing unapologetically loud and feisty.

Each record flowed into the next, with a sound comparable to the likes of Honeyblood. The girls, who have been selected as one of NME’s ‘Ones to watch’ in 2016, exclaimed “It’s so nice to be back in Manchester, it’s so cool here!” Before introducing a punchy cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’, the girls jumped around the stage in their Dr Marten boots, surely leaving The Big Moon’s mark on Manchester. The band finished with their catchy debut single ‘Sucker’.

The Big MoonThe Maccabees’ triumphant walk on music was fitting for the band’s long awaited return. The Londoners were greeted with cheers and applause, before kicking off their set with the brilliant title track off their latest album ‘Marks to Prove It’, released in July last year.

Modest frontman Orlando Weeks enjoyed calls from the crowd before the five-piece followed the bold welcome with the indie staple ‘Feel to Follow’, the second single from the 2012 Mercury nominated album ‘Given To The Wild’.

The packed floor and balcony filled the resurrected former chapel, joining in as the band sailed through ‘Wall of Arms’, ‘Kamakura’ and ‘Ribbon Road’.  Each track finished with cheers from the crowd and guitarist Felix White waving to each corner of the venue through the striking strobe lights.

Felix endeavoured to introduce each band member with their instruments before a mosh pit opened up for ‘Spit it out’ and ‘Silence’.

Latchmere’, the second single from their debut album ‘Colour It In’, released in 2007, followed ‘X-Ray’ – “This was the first song we put out on single”.

Orlando introduced the last track before the encore, ‘Something like Happiness’, another crowd favourite from their most recent release.

The buzzing venue evidently weren’t yet ready to say goodbye to The Maccabees. The band came back on stage to perform four songs, including Orlando’s solo ‘Toothpaste Kisses’, a welcomed change of pace from the high energy production. The band finished on a high with the anthemic ‘Pelican’ before saying goodnight to Manchester before embarking on the rest of the tour.

By: Natalie Rees

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