Maccabees at Xbox Reverb, London – Live Review

At gigs, the level of interaction is usually restricted to that glob of spittle that your new favourite band frontman just expectorated in your hair. Tonight however, XBox 360 consoles are posted throughout the Village Underground, at the entrance two girls update their Twitter about what’s happening RIGHT NOW. By the bar a guy in a checked shirt racks up a high score on DJ Hero. However the best action is onstage, with Reverb competition winners Laurel Collective clocking up their successes in fans converted rather than pixelated numbers, and there’s many swayed tonight, never has the sound of collapsing genres sounded so….tropical.

Next up is La Shark. Elegantly wasted, they bring a healthy dollop of art to their madness as rave synths are moulded around tight guitar lines and sun-baked reggae bass-lines. Their irresistible wump rock almost as engaging as frontman Samuel Geronimo Deschamps theatrics, dancing into the crowd as people surge forward to check they’re not imagining things.

Duly ramped up by the previous band, the crowd of fans greet the The Maccabees entrance with a warrior’s roar. Kicking off their set with William Powers, their blend of XTC nerviness and Arcade Fire expanse sounds better than it ever has or, in technical terms, bloody massive. Orlando Weeks has lost none of his easy charisma which he channels into moments of clutch-your-chest-hug-your-mate emotion: “why did you kill it, kill it, kill it before it dies” he implores in his heartfelt hiccuping croon on One Hand Holding. Suddenly a rather tall member of the audience attempts to crowd surf, his splayed arms and legs prompting a smile from the band who look more confident than ever before, bolstered no doubt by hearing their older tracks, like the lilting, particularly the lilting Toothpaste Kisses sung back at them in their entirety.

Swept in emotion of it all, people login to Twitter through teary eyes, it becomes almost too perfect for the band to finish on the windswept Love You Better, it’s aching, yawning guitars sounding even more powerful in the intimate venue. Still, the South Londoners are characteristically modest “it was better than we anticipated” smiles Weeks, a glint in his eye. You can Tweet that again.