Maximo Park

Maximo Park


This year has marked the tenth year anniversary for a lot of records that shaped my youth. 2005 saw me in my mid-teens, old enough to go to some gigs without a dad and finally earning a few more bob than the paper round so I could go and buy records. Maximo Park were a band that had me from the start, from the moment I heard their first single ‘The Coast Is Always Changing’ in all its perfect indie pop glory, I knew this band were on to something. And as the singles poured out, I got more and more excited to hear an album. That album finally arrived in 2005; A Certain Trigger was a romantic and honest portrait of a man in his mid twenties trying to figure everything out to a back drop of spiky guitars and hip-shaking beats full of ear worm hooks and fist pumping one liners. Tonight is the first night of a near sold out tour celebrating a decade since the album’s release, with the band playing the record in full.

I’ve never been to the Albert Hall before, which I’m shocked at myself for as it’s been open for a good year now and has hosted some really sweet shows in its small time open. I am ever so glad that I am here as it has instantly become my favourite venue in Manchester; minus the beer prices, it looks ace, it sounds ace and everyone who works here seems happy to be doing so!
Tonight’s set is split into two. We begin with a collection of hits from their extensive and impressive back catalogue, as well as a few B-sides which is a definite treat for the die-hards at the front who are singing their hearts out with huge grins on their faces. The band are in fine form, front man Paul Smith is fire ball of energy as he leaps around the stage, screaming at the crowd which amps the atmosphere into the stratosphere as the whole standing section jump and shout along to big hitters like ‘Girls Who Play Guitars’, which acts an excellent set opener, and ‘Hips and Lips’ which sees keyboardist Lucas dancing around the stage like its his last dance. As my main reason for being here is to hear the first album, I had forgotten how many great songs this band have written since their debut so it’s great to have this wonderfully nostalgic warm up before we get into the real depths of nostalgia.

The first set flies by and the band exit the stage to a rapturous applause as Paul exclaims that it’s the “End of part one”. The band could have come back on and done anything at this point as they seem to have gotten the room whole in the palm of their hands. But much to our delight, they stick with the programme and tear through A Certain Trigger which sounds a fresh as the day I first heard it. Paul’s lyrics seem to make even more sense than they did before and each individual instrumental part holds an individual character from the urgent bass riffs, punchy piano stabs, floor to the four drum beats and of cours,e sharp, yet melodic guitar lines that work together to form some incredibly strong songs.

‘Gone Missing’ is still as heart-wrenching as ever with the passion refrain of ‘FORGET IT FORGET IT FORGET’ echoing throughout the venue with fans punching the air along with Paul, and ‘Apply Some Pressure’ is still one of the best indie tracks of its decade; that guitar line will never grow old! It’s really interesting to hear the albums curveball track ‘Astronaught’ in a live setting which is given a full band make over with a strong high hat driven beat replacing the electronic drums on record and Paul gets out his notepad and recites the spoken word verses which gets a lot smiles from the die hards down front who never thought they’d get to hear this track live. They pull it off with ease.

The band close up of the upbeat pop ‘Kiss You Better’ and are greeted with a massive applause afterwards and Paul announces the end of the set. Tonight Maximo Park played with the exact same energy and vigour as they did ten years ago which is a testament to their love of the band and the love of their songs. This band really mean it and I hope they’ll still packing out the hits for decades to come!

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Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.