Currently celebrating the tenth anniversary of their first album release, A Certain Trigger, this entertaining birthday bash from Newcastle’s Maximo Park confirmed what I’ve always thought about them: on record they sound rather rote – a serviceable, undistinguished Britrock indie band but on stage the devotion they inspire makes absolute sense.
The short, sharp, fistaloft voltage of their New Wave/postpunk-inspired pop sounds far more urgent and affecting in this context.
Peppered with obscurities for hardcore fans, their celebratory set was testament to a diversity that’s often overlooked. Songs such as This Is What Becomes of The Broken Hearted soar with a tearstained romanticism which doesn’t feel at odds with their Clockwork Orange, bullish drive.
Attired in a natty trilby, his trademark cartoon combover having failed to go the distance, affable frontman Paul Smith is the scissorkicking fulcrum.
A born entertainer – think George Formby unaccountably playing Vegas he encapsulates Maximo Park’s essentially populist yet nerdy appeal.
The likes of Apply Some Pressure are terrace chants written by sensitive souls who’d rather flee than fight.
These songs are full of hooks that only punch through under stage lights.
Inevitably, the crowd responded more enthusiastically to material from their most commercially successful period. Yet despite the forgiveable nostalgia of tonight’s celebration, Maximo Park strike me as a band still hitting their stride. After ten years ploughing through this business we call show, they’re clearly far from spent.