Concert Reviews

The Maccabees at Alexandra Palace: End of an Era

Photos by Janine Van Oostrom
Review by Lindsay Dorcas

The Maccabees played one of their last shows on June 29th in London at Alexandra Palace. After fourteen years as a band, they had decided that the Marks to Prove it album would be their last. The Thursday show was their first of three farewell shows at Alexandra Palace; before that they had played two sold out shows in Manchester at the O2 Apollo.

At Ally Pally, they had the Idles start the show, followed by their friends the Mystery Jets; a band that started at the same time and who they had always looked up to. The Mystery Jets remarked on when the Maccabees last album had gotten number one, it was a win for all British bands.

The wait in between the Mystery Jets set and The Maccabees was nerve wracking. You could feel the excitement and nervous energy in the air as the fans looked forward to seeing the band but also not wanting it to be the end. The moments the lights dimmed and the music lowered, cheers broke out from the crowd as the five band members, singer Orlando Weeks, brother guitarist Felix and Hugo White, Rupert Jarvis on bass and Sam Doyle on the drums walked onto the stage waving and clapping at the audience.

They immediately started playing “Wall of Arms” to open their set. And throughout the show they played fast paced hits like “Precious Time” and “Latchmere”. The set varied from hit to hit and some hidden gems from over the years that were fan favourites. The members made sure that they played songs from each of the four albums. The energetic Felix White had said between songs to the crowd “as you may know, this is one of the last shows as The Maccabees…” and to that statement the fans began to boo while the band sheepishly smiled to one another. Felix followed up by telling the audience to get all the booing out now so they could make this the “most beautiful, euphoric goodbye ever” which they did that night.

The energy from the band was tangible; the crowd was feeding off of it and vice versa. You could feel the enjoyment and the audience become one while they join together to enjoy their favourite band for one last time. The crowd sang their hearts out to the members on stage, almost as if they were performing for the band, a lover letter and a thank you from the fans to the five members on stage.

The show felt like it was the beginning of The Maccabees, the amount of energy, excitement and love and passion for their music was evident on their faces; the fans that have been following them since day one were there to say a final goodbye. Adults were crowd surfing and teenagers singing along to some of the oldies, the impact and importance of their music is still influencing the youth of today as it did when they first started out, their music has remained timely. You could tell that the five of them on stage were not only playing for the fans, but for themselves as they shared in the moment together.

There was a brief intermission during the set, for the audience to calm down and for the band to collect themselves before they went back on stage to play the last four songs of the nights. During this intermission the whole crowd, thousands of fans began singing the chorus “you know when you know, you just know…” from the song “Something like Happiness”  off of their Marks to Prove it album to the empty stage while they waited for the band to return.

Upon returning they finished up the night by singing singing the hard hitting, fast song “Marks to Prove It” to the slower classics that the charismatic and graceful Orlando sang “First Love” and “Toothpaste Kisses” and as the proper way to end the show they performed the hit “Pelican” where Orlando made sure that fans were singing along, telling fans to get on each others shoulders for the last song.

The goodbye from the band was done in the best way that they could have done. By putting together a night filled with music from throughout the years that meant so much to each individual in the crowd and on stage; it was a night filled with laughter and tears as everyone sang at the top of their lungs and hummed along to the strumming of the guitars and bass. It was a collective goodbye which was a gift for the fans and for the band, who had left a small part of themselves on stage each concert night. To quote the song “Something Like Happiness” by The Maccabees,

“…you know when you know, you just know…”

About author

Concert Photographer and Videographer. Follow me on Instagram: @janine.v.photography.