Another excellent live band, another gig in an obscure seaside town for me. I don’t know how I end up in these far flung parts of the country, but there I was. The venue itself was actually not too bad, although I’m never sitting down at a gig again (note to self, buy the tickets before all the standing sells out).
Although I arrived halfway through the support act, PINS, I was really impressed. I would recommend checking out these Manchester gals if you haven’t already. Everything from their gritty sound to their onstage look was a massive plus in my eyes.
With a band as energetic and lively as Maxïmo Park, it’s a real sense of pit envy when you watch everyone downstairs dancing along with Paul ‘Snakehips’ Smith to Our Velocity and Apply Some Pressure. However, the band themselves were big enough and loud enough to reach even us on the balcony. Old bangers, primarily from the first two albums, still gained the biggest reaction from the audience, especially The Coast Is Always Changing, but the new singles What Did We Do To You To Deserve This? and Risk To Exist, the first two songs of the set, still exploded onstage.
Rumour has it that Paul Smith, the lead singer, wears reinforced trousers onstage to stop them from splitting when he leaps up into the air. Whilst I have seen him do this before, this gig was leap-free, but no less exciting. As a frontman, it’s clear that he’s passionate about his music and his performance, as well as humble. Cracking jokes with the audience, dancing like there isn’t a hall full of people with their eyes only on him, and graciously thanking us for our support, Smith is a consistently brilliant frontman, a very key part of what makes Maxïmo Park a consistently brilliant live band.
Touring their new album, Risk To Exist, it’s clear that the band have gone in a much more political direction with their music, singing about the refugee crisis, inequality and the increasingly apparent right-wing agenda in global politics today. Although I wasn’t as familiar with the new album as I was with the first 4, hearing these new songs live really made me warm to them. I think the truest test of this came at the end of the encore, when the band finished with another new single Get High (No, I Don’t), a seemingly anti-drugs song. A square subject matter for a rock band? Perhaps. But whether you actually did get high before/after the gig or you’re teetotal, the whole audience lapped up this punchy track and continued their chants of “Maxïmo, Maxïmo” until well after the last chord.