Orlando Weeks (formerly frontman of Noughties indie band The Maccabees) has started out life again in music but as a solo artist. Far from the indie dance floors of the o2 Academy’s of which his band graced fans for nearly 10 years, Orlando’s warm heartfelt music perfectly suits the beautiful surroundings of St George’s Bristol.
Having only released singe ‘Safe in Sound’ from his forthcoming debut album (due for release in 2020), the crowd take their seats in the auditorium for the final night of his UK tour. The stage is bathed in red lighting against a cool blue wall backdrop of the former church. Orlando and his band take to the stage in a crescent formation with Orlando taking up position between keyboard player, Sami El-Enany and trumpetier Wilf Petherbridge, alongside drummer, Luca Caruso. The gig has a feel of a ‘band jamming session’ and the audience are like a ‘fly on the wall’.
Instead of being of front of stage like in The Maccabees or as many solo artists like being centre stage, Orlando is comfortable with being nearer the back playing accompanying cymbals during various songs. As applause fades from his first song, Orlando’s shy yet so humble persona gives thanks to the crowd for coming to the show in the rain and ‘other things’ (trying to forget about the unravelling situation currently facing the whole world). Throughout the hour long set, Orlando displays lots of moments of beautiful and sometimes haunting vocals, mainly accompanied by keyboard giving the feeling of a raw and intimate performance. His sound has moved away from the catchy guitar riffs and sing-alongs of his former band to a more reflective melodies with atmospheric percussion and cymbal crescendos.
One of the stand out lyrics which really strikes from this performance — “This is just the start, where it all begins” — it feels like a re-birth or a new dawn for Orlando as he begins establishing himself as a solo performer. On this performance, he has a sense of maturity and confidence in his work, which is backed by the given vibrance and energy by his band.
As he addresses the crowd for his final song, a fan shouts “The Maccabees” to him & another shouts “you’re perfect as you are”. He has clearly moved on from his former band. Orlando has now found his comfort, strength and feels safe in owning his sound.