Maximo Park

Aside being named after my mate’s moggy (or is it the other way round?) I didn’t know a great deal about Maximo Park, but that mattered not a jot as we made our way down to the Glee Club in Birmingham.

Before we even got into the venue, there was a fervour – a buzz of excitement around the place. The queue was the biggest I’d seen at the Glee Club – most of the revellers visibly brimming with anticipation. A splendid start…

Maximo Park

Support came in the guise of Click Opera who I’d describe as Electro Pop with awesome facial hair. Not dissimilar to The Klaxons and other exponents of synths/keyboards, they produced a high tempo blend of cool riffs combined with great harmonies. The full sound went down well with the partizan crowd who noted the similarities between the support act and the headliners.

Donning a Trilby and a sharp suit – looking a little bit similar to Micky Thomas of Only Fools and Horses fame, Paul Smith veritably burst on to the stage like a whirling dervish, aided and abetted by his cohorts from Newcastle.

Maximo Park

From the very beginning of the set it was easy to see why Maximo Park have such great appeal. Mr Smith, is an extremely charismatic front man. Great voice aside, he’s very animated and puts on one hell of a show from the word go – much to the delight of the audience.

Second song in was their new single ‘Hips and Lips’ from their forthcoming album The National Health. A belter of a song with a powerful chorus, which unsurprisingly went down a storm with their fans.

Maximo Park

The songs came thick and fast. ‘Wraithlike’ went to ‘Brokenhearted’, but there was still time for intelligent banter from the frontman with the crowd. “It’s nice to be back in Birmingham… a sea of concrete and urbanity”, to which one fan retorted “It’s better than Boro”. Apt to see some comedy in The Glee Club.

The full, fast tempo’d set continued to rattle on at a pace, combining plenty of tunes from the new album with fans favourites from yesteryear. ‘Write this Down’ “a punk rock song about a diary” was quickly followed by ‘Going Missing’ – a personal favourite. It seemed I wasn’t alone as loud cheers greeted its finale.

Maximo Park

Apart from the huge amount of energy – coming from the keyboard player’s enthusiastic air punching –  as much as the singer, the great thing about a Maximo Park gig, is that instead of playing long drawn out guitar solos and outros there’s loads of short snappy songs, so you really do get to hear a lot for your money – they played 21 songs in total, the set culminating in ‘Velocity’ – another crowd pleaser.

Like the final scene of Gladiator the crowd chanted “MAXIMO, MAXIMO” in unison, baying their Heros to come back to the stage. The lads from the Toon gave the customary thumbs up, belting out 3 more crackers with the tremendous ‘Apply Some Pressure’ being their final offering and then with a “It’s nice to be back!” and “Thank you” they were gone.

Maximo Park

Smiles all round ensued from the departing fans who left  very happy.

Maximo Park

Gig review by Zak Edwards
Gig photos by Bianca Barrett

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