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The Maccabees | Childhood | March 2012 Gig Review

The Maccabees | Childhood | March 2012 Gig Review

The Maccabees Gig Review


Hailed as the saviours of British guitar music, The Maccabees are currently on tour in the UK promoting the release of their third studio album Given to the Wild.

The Indie band from’ Brighton graced us with their debut album Colour it in back in 2007, which featured their first single ‘X-Ray’ and the internet hit ‘Latchmere’. Since their uprising, the quintet have toured and performed with the likes of Bloc Party and Maximo Park, had their tracks appear on TV adverts, and have performed multiple sell-out shows all over the UK… including the recent gigs in Leeds and Liverpool (March 2012) with more to follow this month.


Given to the Wild

You could say that The Maccabees’ most recent album is significantly different from their previous releases, in that it adopts what some may call… a psychedelic theme, and actually showcases the quintets instrumental talents more clearly than their other records.

With two years spent writing and recording Given to the Wild, the band claim that they have ❝ grown up as people and changed as a band ❞, guitarist Felix White says,
❝ We’ve learned for the first time what we really wanted The Maccabees to sound like on record. It’s taken us three albums but we finally achieved that. We’ve discovered what we’re truly capable of and that feels really exciting. ❞

The band are said to have drawn inspiration from some well known names such as The Stone Roses, David Bowie and Kate Bush... explaining the new found serenity, building on their already kaleidoscopic melodious themes.

Looking to develop a different, perhaps more mature sound than their previous albums, Given to the Wild saw The Maccabees working with producer Tim Goldsworthy. With a background in electronic music, the band thought that Goldsworthy may help them to add new and interesting textures to their music…
And they were right!

❝ He wasn’t from our guitar-rock, indie world and he saw something in the music beyond what we’d done before, so that gave us confidence, ❞ White says.


Pictures courtesy of Ed Fielding, Hope McNulty and O2 Academy Leeds.

Childhood JPG

Opening for The Maccabees was London born band Childhood. It could be said that the quartet was one of the Indie Pop Persuasion, if Indie Pop performances consist of ridiculously handsome brooding guitarists, a lead singer who lives in a mirrored bubble centre stage and a drummer who performs brilliantly but doesn’t get enough recognition…


Although having their own vibe, with quirky guitar riffs and interesting countermelodies, the band’s sound was somewhat reminiscent of Floridian Indie Pop band the Black Kids, who broke into Britain in 2008 boasting their new and peculiar sound on the album Partie Traumatic… a similarity that has nothing to do with both lead singers having superb afros.

It seemed that Childhood were fairly new to the stage, with some members coming across a little shy, but it must be said that they held their own, giving a good performance despite being thoroughly analysed and skulked at by the threatening and pretty intimidating masses of teens who wiggled their way to the front of the stage.

Childhood’s Guitars:

Fender Mustang Bass - (RW) Vintage White
Fender Classic Series ‘65 Mustang - (RW) Daphne Blue
Fender American Standard Stratocaster - (RW) Olympic White



Whether it was mental preparation, their gear set up or whether they were just being fashionably dramatic, The Maccabees left their audience in anticipation for their entrance, serious anticipation! Although shaking with excitement, the crowd waited on edge, shouting “Orlando!“

As soon as the first band member entered the stage, it was every man for himself… the audience rushed up front to get a better view, crushing anyone else in their way. The band had the crowd totally amped up before they’d even strummed their first string.

By the chorus of the first track, a moshpit was imminent, the band managed to build up and maintain the energy, not easy to do for two hours on stage. Orlando charmed the crowd with his intimate vocal fashions, while fellow band members thrashed their guitars with so much energy it made some songs sound a lot heavier ‘live’ than on the album versions.


Backing vocalist and guitarist Hugo White almost stole Orlando’s thunder, with his haunting looks to the audience and simply brilliant guitar playing. Almost twisting himself around the mic stand at times, getting right up to the front of the stage, his performance was mesmerizing.

In all of the kafuffle about their new album, The Maccabees sadly committed the same offence that many do in the run up to a new album release, they performed too many new tracks and not enough older ones. With just a few songs from Colour it in making an appearance, some of us were fairly satisfied, but the classic quirks of Latchmere didn’t even get a mention which was pretty disappointing.

Orlando of course delivered a brilliant vocal performance, having the audience going crazy during the bands upbeat tracks like Precious Time, although his beautiful Gibson 1970s L6-S Deluxe guitar may have received an equal amount of attention amongst the crowd. All The Maccabees gear was incredible, names we know, tones we adore from players we admire. Vox, Ampeg, Gibson, Fender, they were all in there and we’re going to have a closer look at those in a moment.

Overall, the band blew the roof off the O2, with a little help from the… let’s say, passionate fans who were in such big numbers they could hardly fit into the building. With more UK Shows due in the next few weeks and The Maccabees headlining the Reading and Leeds festivals in August, the band have got a lot more to look forward to, and so do we!

The Guitars!


Now, we’ve been having a little trouble tracking down some of the Maccabees’ guitars. The Dolphin scouts spotted Felix playing a Fender ’72 Telecaster Thinline with a maple neck in natural, left handed model of course.

Orlando was sporting a natural finished Gibson 1970s L6-S Deluxe with dual humbuckers and Hugo was playing what looked like a Black Gibson ES-339 semi acoustic. 

More Maccabees gear here.

The Maccabees Remaining Tour Dates:

♫ Tue 13th Mar 2012 - Academy - Bristol
♫ Wed 14th Mar 2012 - University of East Anglia [UEA] - Norwich
♫ Fri 16th Mar 2012 - GuildHall - Southampton
♫ Sat 17th Mar 2012 - Cardiff University Students Union - Cardiff
♫ Sun 18th Mar 2012 - Civic Hall - Wolverhampton
♫ Mon 19th Mar 2012 - The Corn Exchange - Cambridge
♫ Fri 8th Jun 2012 - Alexandra Palace - London
♫ Fri 24th Aug 2012 - Reading & Leeds Festival



was at the Maccabees gig in Cambridge last night, from what I could see the natural Gibson is a 1970s L6-S Deluxe, the semi-hollow looks to be a Gibson ES-339…

by Will at 10:31am on the 20th Mar 2012

thanks for the comment Will, I’ll add these into the blog post later!

by Carl Balshaw at 10:45am on the 20th Mar 2012

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