The touts outside KOKO in Camden are panicking. The support act, and the most talked-about and eagerly anticipated artist of the moment, Lana Del Rey, has just pulled out of tonight’s show. Despite headline band The Maccabees having more than enough of a fan base to sell out tonight’s poky venue themselves, the announcement of the support act ensured that tonight’s gig sold out in minutes.
As soon as the announcement was made, the audience were offered refunds and apologies from the venue, with many ticket-holders choosing to go home and claim their money back. You’d think that this would mean the venue would be less crowded and the crowd less excitable, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. There is a mass discussion of disappointment at Del Rey’s cancellation (due to “illness” or as speculation suggests, a strop at her album leaking previously that day) however the crowd seem to quickly switch topic to excitement at what they’re about to witness.
The Maccabees released their third, and most accomplished album on the 7th January. It went straight to the Top 5 in the charts, a previously unheard accomplishment for a band so little-known, and their loyal fans went crazy. Tonight’s gig is one of the smallest venues the band will likely ever play again, and comes just three days before a massive headline slot at Brixton Academy. The audience are crammed in to the poky floor space of KOKO, and as the band came on, the room erupts into screams of hysterical fans, many having paid extortionate amounts for tickets on ebay.
The set is a triumph, combining tracks from all three albums. The new songs are as well-received as the classics, and standout tracks from Given to the Wild, including Ayla and Unknow, are met with a frantic reception. Encore closer, Grew up at Midnight, draws the biggest reaction from the crowd. The track draws to a finish in an all-singing, all-drumming climax of flashing lights and hysteria. When leaving the venue afterwards, many fans can be heard saying the encore very nearly drew them to tears, and that it was the best gig they had ever been to. They weren’t wrong.