By: Bruce Cowie

Photos: Bruce Cowie

Maybeshewill | website | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | 

Support: You Slut! | website and Flood of Red | website

Stereo | April 12, 2016

Maybeshewill and I, we go back a long way. I’ve bought all of their records. Even some vinyl I have no means of playing. I’ve seen them play more times than I care to remember. I’ve seen them when they were less than amazing – unenthusiastic and tired in Edinburgh. I’ve also seen them at their ferocious, incendiary best, like that night in Leeds in 2012 when they easily held their own against Bossk and Amenra at Damnation Festival.

And now, here we are. Maybeshewill are calling it a day. One last blast around the country to say goodbye. Perhaps it’s a good thing. Perhaps Maybeshewill has run its natural course and needs to stop, as it were, before it gets boring. I don’t know, I just know that I’ll be sad when they’re gone. But, until then, we’ve got tonight.

Stereo is effectively sold out tonight and it’s getting busy fast. A very good thing, clearly, but it promises a very sweaty evening, for Stereo and ventilation are strangers to each other.

Flood of Red

Our openers tonight, local lads Flood of Red, haven’t played together for a while. Ever since, I believe, they supported Maybeshewill on their previous mega-tour, a year and a half ago. They’re very popular, even if a little rusty. To be honest, their brand of impassioned emo-rock doesn’t really float my boat, but once they get going they’re solid, and Jordan Spiers’ vocals soar nicely. He gets a bit grumpy with a lad who desperately wants to take a selfie at the front of the stage, but resists any urge to drop-kick the fellow in the back. Anyway, the audience likes them, and Maybeshewill like them, so who am I to argue?

Next up, also back from a hiatus – three years, this time, I’m told – are You Slut!, joining Maybeshewill on all dates of the tour. As with Flood of Red, they’re out of practice and express some concern that they won’t be able to remember the songs. They seem to manage well enough though, and their muscular instrumental mathy rock is much more to my liking. There’s not a lot of banter, but they still manage to look like they’re having fun. The place is rammed now, and it’s hot. HOT, in fact. The guitarist in front of me, the one with the white shirt and no beard, asks if there’s a door that can be opened. There isn’t. They batter through 10 songs or so in their 35 minutes – don’t ask me what they are, I have no idea – and then they’re off to raucous and sweaty applause.

You Slut!

The supports’ gear is carted off and packed away, and a girl sits on the floor beside me, just in front of the stage. ‘It’s cooler down here’, she says to her pal, and it probably is. I could join her down there, but I’m very old and might never get back up again. One of the other press guys bemoans the fact that he can’t get away from his spot to find some air because it’s too much effort to fight his way back through the crowd. My jeans feel like wet rags.

We watch various Maybeshewills setting up their stuff, plugging things into other things, technical stuff like that, largely ignored by the audience. It seems odd that there they are, the band we are all here to see, right in front of us and we’re largely ignoring them. Like they’re invisible. But shortly they’ll leave, wait for a few minutes off-stage and troop back on to

LOUD CHEERING AND THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE! ‘Hi, we’re a band called Maybeshewill, and we’re from Leicester!’

Yes. Yes you are.

Maybeshewill1And it’s immediately clear that the Maybeshewill we have in front of us tonight is NOT the listless band from Edinburgh all those years ago, nor even the slightly flimsy band from last year, out on tour with Fair Youth, but the muscular and hard-hitting Maybeshewill that we all want to see. ‘Take This to Heart’, ‘Co-Conspirators’ and ‘Red Paper Lanterns’, three absolute belters delivered like a triple punch to the kidneys. Guitarist (stage right) Robin Southby writhes and contorts as if wired directly into the mains, and Bassist Jamie Ward high-kicks like a man half his… well, let’s say half MY age. Guitarist (stage left) John Helps doesn’t dance or kick, but prowls his bit of the stage like a tiger – one of those big cuddly Steiff tigers with a smiley face and button in its ear. Maybeshewill are on fire, and it’s not just the heat in Stereo.

 

‘How you all doing?’ asks John, as always the band’s spokesman.‘Cos I’m fucking dying up here!’ Loud cheers. We’re doing just fine.

Fortunately, the heat proves less than fatal, and we dive headlong into another batch of songs which goes a long way to prove that the newer stuff from Fair Youth can stand proud with the classics. ‘All Things Transient’, ‘In Amber’, ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘In The Blind’ are fired up with a new energy which seemed strangely absent on the record, and sit easily alongside ‘When We Were Cats…’, ‘Accolades’ and the mighty ‘Critical Distance’. It’s unfortunate, perhaps, that these new songs won’t get a chance to establish themselves as the live favourites they deserve to be. Another couple of tours, a few more plays, and you never know…

Maybeshewill2Anyway, there’s only a couple of songs left, and John tells us how Maybeshewill have probably played this venue more than any other outside of their home town, and it’s definitely their favourite place to play, anywhere. (Does he tell every crowd the same thing? I think probably not, I believe him). ‘To The Skies From A Hillside’ is glorious and, of course, they finish with a savage ‘Not For Want Of Trying’ with the Glasgow faithful chanting, word for word, Howard Beale’s ‘Mad as Hell’ speech from Network. And they’re off. But, yeah, we KNOW they’ll be back in a minute, so we don’t start crying just yet. Just clapping and cheering and stamping our feet and bellowing that age old Glasgow demand…

‘You know’, says John when they re-appear, ‘we were sitting in the dressing room and I thought ‘This is the last time we’ll hear ‘WAN MORE CHOON!’’. And that’s when it really hits us that Maybeshewill WILL NOT be back, and that is astonishingly hard to take. They’re just a band, y’know? It’s not like somebody died. But, yeah…

They give us ‘Seraphim and Cherubim’ and then Robin and piano man/human skyscraper Matthew Daly swap places for a devastating ‘He Films The Clouds, Part 2’, during which Flood of Red’s two singers, and at least three-quarters of the crowd, join in with the chorus. Emotional? Oh yes.

Behind me, I overhear a couple of lads sympathising with their absent pal, who had been waiting all night for that song, but had had to leave mere minutes before to catch his last train home. To be fair on them, they seemed genuinely upset for the guy, and weren’t just mocking. Ladies and gents, I give you the Maybeshewill audience. Wonderful people, one and all.

And then it’s really over. All five come to the front of the stage, in a line, arms around each others’ shoulders to accept, for the final time, Glasgow’s applause. We try the ‘Wan more choon’ thing again, without success. And probably for the best, as Maybeshewill look absolutely drained. I don’t think they’ve got another choon’s worth of energy left between them. Me, I’m a wreck.

Thank you, Maybeshewill, for one of the best gigs ever. Thank you for just having been around for all those years. Thanks, even, for those less-than-awesome gigs, because they were still better than many of your peers could manage. Thank you, and goodbye.

Maybeshewill

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By the time you read this, Maybeshewill will have played Leeds, a home-town gig in Leicester, a triumphant last ever show in London and they will be no more. The Glasgow gig has been devastating, very probably the best show I’ve seen Maybeshewill play. I expect that the Leeds show will be the same. Leicester will have been extra special, because that’s where it all started, and the London gig, at Koko, well… I can’t even try to imagine how that will have been. My Echoes and Dust colleague Magda will have been there, taking pics and trying not to cry too much. She’ll tell you all about it.

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