Back in 2004 Geordie Pete, a friend of mine, came down to Manchester in a mini-bus to see a band I’d never heard of and due to prior commitments I couldn’t make the gig.

That band was an up and coming bunch of upstarts from Newcastle by the strange name of Maximo Park. It would be a good year or so later before I finally got to see them play live, sandwiched between the Cribs and the Kaiser Chiefs at the Manchester Apollo, by which time they were already established NME stars.

Tonight they are headlining a sold out Academy to promote their freshly released third longer player 'Quicken the Heart', but, despite coming on stage nearly 15 minutes late, they still find sufficient time to mix in a good helping of tracks from both their earlier albums with their new material. Indeed they choose to open proceedings with a riotous 'Graffiti' from debut 'A Certain Trigger'. If any re-assurance was required that the band were performing to an ardent following, then confirmation was provided by the bucket load from the joyous reaction the song provoked amongst the crowd.

Singer Paul Smith is on top form with his trademark stage leaps and kicks mixed in with his bizarre disco dancing and between song banter, but he is merely one cog in the finely oiled music machine that Maximo Park have become.

Songs form the new album don’t quite get the same reaction as established classics such as 'Going Missing', 'Our Velocity' and set closer 'Girls Who Play Guitars', but in time they will do. 'Let’s Get Clinical', 'A Cloud Of Mystery' and the brilliant forthcoming single 'Questing Not Coasting', which appears in a three song encore alongside a new song and a pumping 'Apply Some Pressure', all stand up next to the earlier tracks.

As enjoyable as the gig is, I still think that the missed show in 2004 could well have been even more special. The moral being when Geordie Pete comes to town, cancel all plans…











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Commenting On: Academy, Manchester, 23/5/2009 - Maximo Park








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