Maximo Park fans invited to birthday party

Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith live at the Sage Gateshead earlier this year.
Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith live at the Sage Gateshead earlier this year.

Fans of alternative rock act Maximo Park are being invited to an anniversary party in their home town tonight, and there is even a birthday present on offer in the form of a new live album recorded this week.

The band are playing at Newcastle City Hall tonight as part of a 10-date British tour to mark the 10th anniversary of the release of their debut album, A Certain Trigger.

The five-piece act will be playing that album, a No 15 hit following its release in May 2005, along with a selection of other material.

Tickets, priced £22, for the band’s Newcastle show have long since sold out, but some, costing £27.50, are still available for their only other North-East date, at Hartlepool Borough Hall on Saturday, December 12. For details, go to /, or

Frontman Paul Smith said: “For me, it is just kind of like a birthday party, or a couple of birthday parties.

“With it being 10 years since the first record, I thought ‘why don’t we play the first record – all of it – but then it’s not all about that record, so you start thinking it would be nice to also maybe play some B-sides, or tracks people always ask us to play live. Maybe now is the right time to fulfil some of those fan dreams.

“People should expect obviously the first album in full, but also things that will make it interesting and surprising for us and them.

“It will be fun to rattle through A Certain Trigger, and it will bring back a lot of memories for everyone.

“We still play a few tracks from that record live, so actually playing them is no problem, and it will be nice to present it in its entirety.

“But then we are proud of everything we have done, so we’ll be picking a few from the other albums, plus rarities, and making it into a great retrospective show.”

The band, formed in Newcastle in 2000, aren’t just looking back, though, as they’re beginning work on their sixth album, a follow-up to last year’s Too Much Information.

“We’ve just started to put some ideas together for a new album, which is still in the very early stages, but we’re working on it,” said Teesside-born Smith, 36.

“We’re still kind of rooted in the same principles we always have been, really. We always come back to writing a great alternative pop song.

“That idea of bonding with people over a good melody resonates massively.

“Although we have changed, in so far as sonic palettes go, incrementally over the albums, you can still hear that it’s us.

“We are all interested in different kinds of music, different styles, but I think we always come back to this idea of the perfect pop music.

“On our last album, we had a song called Brain Cells that was very electronic but still fundamentally Maximo Park.

“It sounded like it was us, even though the sound had kind of changed.

“These days we may not spend as much time in the studio jamming as we’re based in different places.

“If someone has an idea, they’re more likely to email it.

“There are pros and cons to that. The fact an idea can gestate and become fully formed into something you think the other guys will love is obviously a massive advantage.

“We’ve got technology in our homes now that means we can record things much better than we ever could before.

“On the last album, some of the stuff we recorded individually at home wound up on the record because it sounded so good.

“On the other hand, there’s a risk that while you are developing ideas on your own, you can wind up with something very different to what the others are hoping for – and not always in a good way.

“ If an idea does break down, though, we’ll discuss it properly and find a middle ground.”

Prior to the arrival of LP No 6, fans can make do with a choice of live double albums recorded this week, at the London Roundhouse on Tuesday or Manchester Albert Hall last night, both costing £15. For details, go to

The band can also be seen in Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester again and London again.

Their Newcastle and Hartlepool concerts will be their third and fourth of the year in the region, following two BBC Radio 6 Music Festival shows, at Newcastle University’s students’ union in January and the Sage Gateshead the month after.

Paul Smith also played solo dates at Stockton’s Georgian Theatre and the Cluny in Newcastle in August and September respectively to promote his third solo album, Contradictions.

The 13 tracks that made up A Certain Trigger yielded a handful of hit singles, beginning with The Coast is Always Changing, a No 63 in November 2004, and ending with I Want You to Stay, a No 21 in February 2006.

In between, all in 2005, Graffiti made it to No 15, Going Missing got to No 20 and Apply Some Pressure also made it to No 20 and, in reissued form, No 17.

To accompany the tour, remastered versions of A Certain Trigger and Missing Songs, a 2006 compilation of B-sides and demos recorded in 2004 and 2005, are out in limited-edition vinyl formats.

Besides Smith, the group are made up of guitarist Duncan Lloyd, bassist Archis Tiku, drummer Tom English and Lukas Wooller on keyboards.