Live Review: The Maccabees + The Creases – 170 Russell, Melbourne (06.01.16)

Brisbane-based The Creases arrived on stage with no fuss or introduction and set to warming up the crowd at 170 Russell prior to The Maccabees‘ Falls Festival sideshow. Despite a litany of technical glitches – including microphones attempting to electrocute them to the point they needed to protect themselves with shirts from their merchandise line, and a bass guitar lead which kept liberating itself from a very nice Rickenbacker – their set was really enjoyable and their energy quickly got the growing crowd engaged and dancing away. Unfortunately the sound in the venue was not so great and it was difficult to appreciate them as they deserved. I look forward to seeing them again to fully appreciate their songs, as they certainly have a great, if slightly retro, sound.

I’ve wanted to see The Maccabees live for a long time, so I was pretty happy to finally be able to see them. Again, the sound in the venue got in the way of the experience and from where I was, it was hard to get any clarity on the vocals – which is a damn shame, given the beauty of Orlando Weeks‘ voice and their gorgeous harmonies. That said, it was still an impressive show and the audience was on-board with some rousing sing-alongs and gloriously in-time clapping. There was no shortage of folk who knew all the lyrics and were able to add another layer to the atmosphere through crowd participation.

Opening with “Marks To Prove It”, the title track from their latest album (released July 2015), I was hooked from the start and their performance and musicianship was more than enough to compensate for the sound issues.  Stand out tracks through the night for me were “Wall of Arms”, “Spit It Out”, “Precious Time” (featuring a solid crowd sing along) and their belter closing track of the night, “Pelican”. “Silence”, sung by sultry beastie Hugo White, was a beautiful interlude. To be honest, I couldn’t name a single song from the set list I didn’t enjoy, and am particularly enamoured of “Ribbon Road” – an ace track with a captivating bassline, which I took delight in witnessing from directly in front of bassist, Rupert Jarvis.

As a result of nursing a finger injury, frontman Weeks was sans guitar for the gig. To compensate, we were treated to the presence of Reuben Gotto (former guitar tech of Felix White, now tech for Foals), and later Tom Clues (bass/everything tech for The Maccabees). Splendid performances by both, enhanced by the underwear adorning the head of the latter after it was hoisted towards the stage by an adoring fan.

A great show, appreciative crowd, and outstanding musicians. Can’t wait for another opportunity to see them live.