Maximo Park

Middlesbrough Town Hall on Mon 2nd Oct 2006

There are two facts to bear in mind with this show. One is that it is the closest to a hometown gig on the current tour, and the other is that this is a band who rarely put a foot wrong live. Both of these things together ensure that the expectancy levels are incredibly high in the Town Hall tonight, and once again Maximo Park manage to exceed all expectations and put on a very memorable performance.

Before all that though, we have the support acts. On record, Hot Club De Paris are superb, creating exciting, innovative sounds which truly feel like something new. Live though, they come across as sub-par Futureheads wannabes. They simply fail to inspire, and I can honestly find nothing to recommend them live, which is a great shame.

Next up are swedish indie-dance noiseniks Love Is All. This band are definitely an acquired taste, but once bitten, they become quite addictive. It is clear why they are supporting tonight - they create complexly layered soundscapes below an array of clever, if sometimes pretentious lyrics. Perfect then, as a complement to tonight's headline act.

By the time Paul Smith leads Maximo Park onstage, the atmosphere inside the Town Hall is at boiling point. It is that awful level of expectation which could either create an amazing gig, or as happens more often, a complete let down. Fortunately my concerns are misplaced, and the Newcastle boys pull it off yet again.

Taking the brave step of opening with a brand new track, Maximo Park have the look of a band who have taken on the world and won. They may once have resembled a bunch of nervous art school kids who were scared of the crowd, but by now that has all changed, and they are clearly confident in their ability and in the material.

And what material it is. 'Going Missing' is as ridiculously entertaining as ever, the boundless optimism of 'Signal and Sign' is infectious, and Smith displays his trademark wit by dedicating 'The Night I Lost My Head' to a newly married friend. It must also be a wonderful feeling for a band when the crowd sing back a song you haven't even released yet, which is exactly what happened during the fantastic 'By The Monument', which is clearly destined to be a single, and if it isn't, then it ought to be.

Of course, the end comes to soon, but it also comes with the fantastic 'Apply Some Pressure', which gives the Middlesbrough crowd one last chance to jump around. By the time the house lights come up, those lucky enough to be in attendance could not possibly have asked for more. This was an exemplary set from an excellent band, and if the new material on show is anything to go by, the new album should be just as good as the first.

article by: Tommy Jackson

published: 09/10/2006 08:51

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