Live Review: Maximo Park

Three albums in, and Paul Smith’s intellectual lot are required more than ever. Newcastle College Performance Academy. Tuesday, March 24

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We live in a world where The Enemy are hailed as the voice of disenfranchised youth, because the marketing men can package their cut-and-paste authenticity as the voice of the working classes, grooming a culture where intelligence is interchangeable with pretension and insincerity.



So when nothing is more daring than intellectualism it’s not surprising that one of the few bands of recent times to wear this on their sleeves have been trampled down into the dirt. Maximo Park are twice the band Kasabian will ever be and tonight they’re a shining example of a victory for public opinion over what 40-something critics deem to be musically acceptable. You can give their albums as many three out of 10s as you want, guys: we are young and we are lost.



In a mammoth 20-song set, half of which is taken from new album ‘Quicken The Heart’, they show us exactly what everyone else is missing. They’re murky in an awesome Hefner-meets-Nick-Cave kind of way. This is fortunate, because if you’re going to call them things like ‘A Cloud Of Mystery’ and ‘Roller Disco Dreams’, they sort of have to be really good. It’s all a bit mental to watch, too. The band can’t pause for breath without chants of “Maximo! Maximo!” starting afresh. Turns out the people prefer tunes to soaring riffs and grunting, and this lot have got them by the bucketful.



While outwardly, as far as stagecraft goes, he may be the sort of manic Inspector Gadget type that girls who look like they work in libraries go nuts for, when it comes to music Paul Smith is the ultimate perfectionist. But since when was that a bad thing? When did trying become so damn uncool? Where would we be now if come five o’clock on a Friday afternoon Einstein had glanced at the clock and thought, “Fuck it, E=MB2, close enough.”



It’s time we all got some bigger dreams, so thank god for Maximo Park. A lot of people don’t like them, but as Super Hans once said, “People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis: you can’t trust people.”



Rebecca Robinson



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