It’s testament to the popularity of support band The Maccabees that the sold-out Birmingham crowd is tightly packed in before 7.30 tonight. With the release of 2012’s Given To The Wild, the band crossed over from cult favourites to firm indie starlets and tonight they show their progression with a good mix of songs old and new.
Opener Love You Better with its singalong coda and choppy riffwork swells the arena, No Kind Words has a brooding intensity straight from the Interpol handbook and Feel To Follow builds to a towering crescendo. They close with their strongest song, the bouncy Pelican, which is the perfect warm-up for what’s to come.
Tom Meighan, Serge Pizzorno and the boys of Kasabian launch first into Bumblebeee, a wall of sound built on top of Serge’s wails and bludgeoning guitar. They barely pause for breath before Shoot The Runner gallops into view, whilst the sweeping Where Did All The Love Go? gives fans time to catch their breath.
The Leicester band performs the perfect setlist with songs from their latest album 48:13 slotting seamlessly in amongst the classics. They even dust off the Gallagher-esque folky strum Thick As Thieves, tonight dedicated to Serge’s dad, Richard. Of the new songs, Clouds is suitably soaring, Treat displays the layered bleeps so prominent on their debut, and the infectious Ez-ehh sees the Birmingham audience jump up in unison.
“Do you think they can handle what’s coming next, Serge?” enquires Tom, “this is gonna knock you out.” He’s not far wrong – building from its chugging intro, Fire has lost none of its potency, a fist-pumping anthem which gets even the most conservative fans dancing. Club Foot and its jet-black guitar motif sounds like a juggernaut, the swashbuckling Empire is a call-to-arms and closer LSF has the crowd singing its ‘la la la’ hook all the way back to the car park.
If it was ever in doubt, Kasabian proved again on Saturday why they’re one of the planet’s best live bands. “Birmingham, you are fucking empire,” shouts Meighan. So are you, Tom. So are you.
Words: Samuel Lambeth | Photos: Andy Hughes