The Maccabees / Bombay Bicycle Club / The Big Pink / The Drums

02 Academy, Newcastle on Thu 4th Feb 2010

For all the years that I've been attending concerts and gigs, the NME awards tour is the one tour of the year that you know guarantees and excellent night of both musical talent, and general atmosphere.

The likes of Coldplay, The Killers, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs have all graced the big billing tour earlier in their careers, and this year is no different, with the music magazine creating a line-up of three of the biggest buzz bands of the moment, one of the most enjoyable, and popular bands of recent years in The Maccabees.

Like many dates on the tour, the Newcastle show was a complete sell out by the end of the night, and the crowd, mainly of younger age, were not left disappointed by the quality on offer.

Opening proceeding were The Drums, New York's hottest import at the moment, and for me personally, one of the most exciting and enjoyable bands of the moment.

Described as 'surf-rock', the band show definite influences of the Beach Boys with a post punk sound track and the results are quite simply, excellent. The band, having only released an EP, entitled 'Summertime' have enjoyed much a lot of positive and appealing press coverage, which is nothing short of deserved.

Frontman, Jonathan Pierce, held the audience captive, with his soothing vocals, and dancing which can be described as a mix of Ian Curtis and Napoleon Dynamite, and the ever growing crowd were hugely receptive to what the band had to offer, and for the bands following, personally, I felt that they would have to do a very impressive job to top the opening band.

A guaranteed hit of the summer, the band have something special to offer, a definite must see, especially for their single 'Let's Go Surfing', which will most likely be the soundtrack to your summer festivals.

Following from The Drums, were The Big Pink, an electronic, noise rock duo hailing from London, which, due to one single in particular are enjoying some deserved praise and popularity around the country at the moment.

With the debut album, 'A Brief History of Love' having been released in September 2009, the band were declared the best new band by the NME last year, and have pushed themselves to deliver what has been expected of them.

However, tonight, they were not welcome by the Newcastle crowd, who, just really didn't seem to get what the band were out. 'Dominoes', their closing song, gained the biggest cheer of their set, and their cover of the Breeders' classic 'Cannonball', didn't go down well, with much of the audience only 14 or 15, not exactly knowing who the Breeders even are.

The highlight of their set came in 'Velvet', a slow building, post punk, shoegaze, delight of a song, but unfortunately, due to an audience not feeding off any of the band's energy, the band seemed to lag behind in their set.

Playing in the penultimate slot were Bombay Bicycle Club, quite simply the most 'indie' band of the moment, with jangly guitars, and very similar sounding songs. The band know how to put on a good show, and are clearly excellent song writers, writing the kind of indie pop that's made so many bands popular in previous years.

Their biggest song of the moment, 'Always Like This', released as a single last November, combines jangly, angular guitars, a repeating bass pattern, and soothing, melodic vocals, telling tales of lost love and 'the one that got away', like several bands before them, however, that's not to say that what they do is bad. The band achieves their sound very well, and certainly enjoyable to listen to, and the young, Newcastle crowd, certainly enjoyed their set a lot more than The Big Pink.

Bombay Bicycle Club proved to be an excellent warm-up for the evening's headliners, London 5-piece, The Maccabees, who with two albums, 'Colour It In' and 'Wall of Arms', aren't exactly a new band, but are definitely talented, and as I mentioned earlier, one of the enjoyable bands of recent years.

Their set tonight felt like a 'best of', with all of the singles and 'hits' pushed together into one song, really creating the party atmosphere. Racing through a set which included the likes of 'X-Ray', 'No Kind Words' and 'Toothpaste Kisses', the band provided the night with the perfect end to a night of talent, and finished one of the world's best indie discos.

The Maccabees, could once have been described almost like a cult indie band, having a small, but devoted number of fans, but in four years have seen them rise up to headliners of the most exciting tours the country sees every year.

The band are clearly heading towards bigger and better things, and it'll definitely be interesting to see where their third album takes them, but with a set as good as theirs tonight, it's just nice not to think about that, and enjoy what they band have already delivered.

article by: Anthony Hetherington

published: 09/02/2010 12:36


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.