It’s a universally acknowledged truth outside the capital that everyone in London is a cock. Narrow this theory down to just people who work in the music industry and you can see just why hordes of people with pickaxes are gathering north of Watford Gap: murderers get better press. And you know why that is? Because these cocks come to ‘hot ticket’ gigs like this in their flat caps and they prod their BlackBerrys constantly, checking emails about marketing strategy and sales projections for an exciting new ad campaign for NatWest where the bars of the Black Flag logo are replaced with hundred-dollar bills. They are the enemy, and they turn gigs like this into a shower of shit.
The thing is, The Maccabees are a million miles above all of this. From the moment they come onstage they ooze sincerity and warmth. They’re a band who have earned the adoration of their fans precisely because they don’t buy into self-conscious stylisation or gross media self-indulgence. Which is why it’s so painful to see two girls who know every single word dancing in a corner where they can’t even see the stage while all the liggers in Camden slouch around the bar looking like the American Apparel-clad foot soldiers of an empire of toads.
‘No Kind Words’ proves itself worthy of instant addition to The Maccabees’ book of scientifically quantifiable pop hits. Everyone who can dance without spilling a vodka’n’cranberry does just that with a glint of rebellious glee. Despite powering through another two songs from the new album they don’t lose anyone’s attention – it’s kind of like getting your puppy back from the vet after months of absence. We don’t mind a bit if they lick our faces for 10 minutes before they get back to their old tricks. ‘X-Ray’ bounds up in the nick of time, as much of a breath of fresh air now as it was two years ago, and ‘Precious Time’ is hot on its heels.
Seriously, though, how good are The Maccabees? We have to pinch ourselves every time we realise they aren’t the biggest band in the world: by the encore our arms look like they’ve had a stint under a meat tenderiser. They are the antidote to a music industry caught in a back spasm in a desperate attempt at self-fellatio and a stark reminder how much we need people who love what they do.