Maxïmo Park at the Forum
Having emerged from a new musical wave about ten years ago, Maxïmo Park have released five albums and gained a discreet fanbase but have maintained a relatively low profile. In the unsolvable diatribe on whether musicians should get out there and become so to speak “mainstream” or not, it’s hard to decide where to place this group. Their music is not for everybody (Paul Smith could easily compete with the more acclaimed Turner for “the most original lyricist” prize) yet it could be enjoyed by no matter who.
The gig at the Forum starts with Give, Get, Take and the atmosphere heats up but it’s still too soon to comment on the show. The members of Maxïmo Park are a bit constricted in their spots – exception made for Smith, whose stage presence is notoriously curious. Wearing his signature bowler hat and a pair of sunglasses (these latter due to an emergency eye surgery he had to undergo recently), the singer is a real crowd-puller .
The band’s repertoire is quite vast, ranging from fast-paced, disco-worthy tracks to more atmospheric ballad-like ones; the concert, however, is mostly speed-driven. Maxïmo Park understandably play their latest record, which they are currently promoting, nearly in its entirety. Many are the hits from the past nonetheless. It’s actually with songs such as Our Velocity, Graffiti or Girls Who Play Guitars that the audience really looks involved.
Some of the newest material doesn’t fail to entertain – Leave This Island and The Undercurrents both please fans who sing along in unison, but let’s face it, once a band has accumulated a few sure shots it’s hard to avoid including them in the setlist. Books From Boxes is announced as an “emotionally touching song”, and its rendition really is such. Although the band didn’t give it away as the goodbye song, Apply Some Pressure (their first and most famous single) was undoubtedly massive.
Some of the new stuff is still well-received – Her Name Was Audre causes a little moshpit in the front row and sees the band’s keyboardist Lukas Wooller eventually unleashing in a frenzy. However, despite the fact that they have had months to get acquainted with these fresher tracks, fans aren’t quite as engaged as they are when oldies are playing.
Complaining is pointless – that’s the problem with any band that has got at least a bit of history behind them and Maxïmo Park are aware of it: they triumphantly leave on the notes of Going Missing, with fans by now in ecstasy.
Photos: Rosie Yang
For further information and future events visit Maximo Park’s website here.
Watch a live performance of Books From Boxes here: