Maximo Park prove worthy successors to big names

Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith at a previous concert in Newcastle earlier this year.
Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith at a previous concert in Newcastle earlier this year.

Live review: Maximo Park at Newcastle City Hall

They’ve already shared a stage with rock legends the Who in their home city of Newcastle just under a year ago, and now Maximo Park have trodden boards previously graced by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Beatles.

This was the indie pop act’s first show at the Northumberland Road venue, although they’ve played just about everywhere else in the city over the course of their 15-year history.

Frontman Paul Smith told last night’s sellout crowd how thrilled he was to be following in such illustrious footsteps.

If the 36-year-old was nervous about that prospect, it didn’t show, though, possibly because he was mindful that the venue has also hosted less tough acts to follow such as Collabro, Boney M and Gary Glitter over the years.

Smith, as a former Tyneside Amateur League footballer, will be conversant with the concept of a game of two halves, and that’s exactly what last night’s show – the fourth gig of a 10-date British tour to mark the 10th anniversary of the release of their debut album, A Certain Trigger – was, and, also like a soccer match, it lasted pretty much exactly 90 minutes.

The second half, lasting 50 minutes, consisted of A Certain Trigger, a No 15 hit back in the day, being played in order and in its entirety.

The 40-minute first half offered more unpredictability, jumping around chronologically from the band’s early days to their fifth album, last year’s Too Much Information.

Kicking off with Girls Who Play Guitars and concluding with Books from Boxes, highlights of the 11 songs played during the act’s opening set included A19, their answer to Bobby Troup’s (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66, and 2012 album track This is What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted.

Any chronological jumping around paled in comparison to Smith’s actual jumping around.

The Teessider, hat-clad as ever, was bouncing up and down like a hyperactive toddler fed vast amounts of cola and sweets packed with E-numbers within seconds of hitting the stage and barely slowed down thereafter.

His energy was contagious too as much of the audience were out of their seats and on their feet before the first song was finished.

Smith and his four bandmates were clearly delighted to have finally made it to the City Hall, and that joy was shared by their crowd, so it is to be hoped that their fans don’t have to wait another 15 years to see them back there.