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Music review: The Maccabees at Alexandra Palace

PUBLISHED: 17:04 27 June 2012

The Maccabees

The Maccabees

Archant

The Maccabees look like the belong on the big stage, writes André Langlois

The sound billowing around the cavern of Alexandra Palace is that of a pop-indie band hitting the big time.

As soon The Maccabees appear on stage it’s clear that this is a group people have come to believe in – singing and dancing to punchy post-punk that’s matured since their 2004 inception.

A low key start to the evening presents the curiously familiar figure of Baxter Dury. Comparison with his father, Ian, is unavoidable, both in appearance and voice.

That’s not to say Baxter isn’t good, but this isn’t the place. The same could be said for British Sea Power who suffer woolly sound and a largely disinterested crowd. At times they stray into pop anthem with Waving Flags and A Lovely Day Tomorrow. They’re at their most interesting when the violin and trumpet take over to hint at far off, windswept lands.

But tonight this windswept, north London house on a hill belongs to the Maccabees. In the indie tradition (Blur, Arctic Monkeys), the recorded quirk of Love You Better and Can You Give It, from 2007’s Colour It In, is transformed into anthem through a big enough set of speakers and enough beer-lubricated voices.

Early stage banter hints at nerves, but then they relax and embrace the occasion. By the time the main set comes to an end with Pelican, from this year’s acclaimed Given to the Wild, the whole crowd is moving, with Florence (of ‘the Machine’ fame) flailing around above the crowd on someone’s shoulders.

It remains to be seen whether the songs have the quality of classics, but tonight, on that huge stage, they looked like they belonged.

* The Maccabees performed at Alexandra Palace in Alexandra Palace Way, N22, on June 8

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