Check your flanks for bowler hats. That’s right, you’re at a Maximo Park gig. With bowler hat-laden frontman Paul Smith (also sporting sunglasses tonight due to recent eye surgery) inspiring his adoring fans to lather their scalps with bowler hats, the band’s first of two homecoming gigs begins.
Bursting out of the barn right away with in-yer-face Give, Get, Take (a song seemingly destined to soundtrack the opening of a coming of age flick), the pace in the O2 Academy rarely lets up. Maximo Park hurl out a lively set, carousing through all of the fan-favourites (from first album balls-to-the-wall banger Apply Some Pressure to XFM’s playlist lovechild Books From Boxes, it’s all there) from their now five album strong catalogue.
The Geordie crowd adored Maximo Park, howling with appreciation at the close of every song. As the band were leaving the stage following their encore, frontman Paul pulled out his ear defenders and stood triumphantly on stage, arms held out with a grin piercing across his face from ear to ear. And that’s always great to see, because some bands can appear to just not give a shit. Paul Smith was loving just being there.
And it’s not difficult to see why. Although the hype behind the band may have died down around 2009 (don’t forget that their debut was nominated for a Mercury Prize and that they once supported the Rolling Stones), the outfit’s most recent album was received well, and the bowler hats are showing no signs of coming off just yet. After seeing one of their live shows, it’s clear that they still love what they do. I wish them the very best for the future. Not that they need my wishes or anything…Maximo Park are class.