Venue: Cargo, Shoreditch Support Bands: Tall Ships, Fiction Date: 12/10/10 I got into Maps & Atlases the moment they played their first song when they supported Foals at the UEA. Their heady mix of dexterous guitar playing, complex rhythms and altogether student feel got to me within the first song and I was fixed – and they would remain as relevant to me until the current day. They meant a lot to me, they were one of my first real obscure finds and one of the first bands I got into away from my friends and family; they were important in what I am now, two years on – a self righteous music snob. For me it was a massive deal to go and see them again. Like I say, this was a band that meant so much to me. Would they still be able to pull off a show full of musical oddities? Would they play any of their old stuff as well as their new, more mature sound? Would I still like them? First things first, the support acts. First up, Fiction. Fiction combine the best bits of bowie and some of the not so best bits of cold wave and kraut to make a decent racket; a good sound with some catchy songs, if not life changing. Worth checking out, but not essential listening. Second came Tall Ships. Now, I’ve heard a lot of good things about these guys, and a brief listen the morning before the gig told me they’d be alright, but live they simply didn’t cut it for me. The singing was off key, the music overblown and bloated, it was just uninspired. It’s a shame, and I’d like to give them another chance, because the stuff I’ve heard is good, but live they simply didn’t make the grade. The last time I saw Maps and atlases live they didn’t talk a lot. And in that sense, not a lot has changed. However, in the sense of their live performance, they exuded the confidence of a fully fledged band. They really had taken what they had already and built on it, Dave Davison possessing more of the stage and taking to being a front man. The set was great – they raced through a whole ton of songs, mostly from the new album, but a few from both 'You Me + The Mountain' and 'Trees, Swallows, Houses' which was expected. There were no surprises, but they didn’t need them; we have a band that has matured enough that the proficiency and the deadly precision of their playing can take centre stage and they do not need tacky gimmicks to win attention. They have proved they can play, play well and entertain.