REVIEW: MAXIMO PARK @ CITY HALL (19.11.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The truth is it’s almost impossible for me to be objective in this review, because I love Maximo Park. I was 14 when A Certain Trigger was released and it was the first time I’d heard someone that sounded like me on a record. Thursday night was always going to be special.

Openers Beverly did an admirable job considering they were given the unenviable task of warming up a two-thirds empty theatre, with the third that were in attendance all sat down. There was nothing bad about Beverly really, but there wasn’t anything good either. Female fronted surf groups are in plentiful supply at the moment and it’s beginning to show.

I had wondered all week how a Maximo Park gig might go down in a theatre, I’d totally overlooked the fact those seats would be filled with Geordies (and other North Easterners) who wanted exactly the same thing the 5 guys on stage did, a bloody good time.

It took about 3 seconds of Girls Who Play Guitars for everyone to rise to their feet. Paul Smith sauntered on stage adorned in trademark bowler hat, white shirt and black trousers. Think Alex from A Clockwork Orange meets Earl ‘Snake Hips’ Tucker. Followed up by The National Health and The Kids Are Sick Again, these songs were typical of the whole first half, leading to an unapologetic love-in, with huge swells of applause and cheering meeting the end of every track. The band left the stage following raucous renditions of Our Velocity and Books From Boxes to signal the end of the first half.

From the first note of Signal And Sign to the last of Kiss You Better, it is all a nostalgic blur. Seeing Maximo play their debut record start to finish in their adopted home town is very special. Smith’s closing words were sincere, heartfelt and highly emotional, reminding the crowd that he still calls Newcastle his home and thanking the city and its folk for all they have done for the band. This is met by a reception fit for the indie kings of Newcastle. The best thing about the evening is its unrelenting selfishness; from the band admitting they wanted to play the City Hall because of its incredible roll call, to the hyper-indulgent exercise that is playing an album start to finish live. A show for the fans, and all the more incredible because of it.


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