This year has been host to many bands from the UK that are being hyped up. While most of them have some good records, when I have seen them live they kind of fall flat, and do not hold up to my expectations. There really is only one band has proven themselves to me out of this bunch. That band is Maximo Park. Maximo Park fucking rule. Now that I have foolishly professed my love for that band I can continue with this review. I was lucky enough to check out the lads from Newcastle on Friday night, as they played a two-night residency at New York’s Tonic. The boys had a lot to live up to, as most people know; I have already claimed them as my number one band of the year. Seeing them twice in one day at SXSW was just the beginning and I had been looking forward to this show for some time.
The night started off great, and the show was sold out. I missed the opener, Troubled Hubble, due to the Maximo Park meet and greet that was going on at Lolita. After the meet and greet, and a quick bite, the crew and I headed over to Tonic. The atmosphere that was surrounding that venue was amazing. You could actually smell the anticipation in the room. As we headed our way up to the front of the stage you could hear people talking about the band. I didn’t feel like I was at a New York show. People were genuinely excited about what they were about to witness. Then the band took the stage. Singer Paul Smith immediately turned on, commanded attention, and the show had begun.
Going through all the tracks on their new album, A Certain Trigger, Maximo Park put their all in the performance. I am not sure what was more exciting. Whether it was Lukas Wooler’s pounding keyboards and crazy fist pumping, Paul’s raw energy and stage presence, Duncan Lloyd’s guitar ability, Archis Tiku’s bass rocking out, or the way that drummer Tom English was able to keep up with them all. Each one of these musicians is so talented and when they are put together they become a British-rock-pop-powerhouse. Highlight songs included “I Want You To Stay”, “Kiss You Better”, “Limassol”, and “Apply Some Pressure”. In-between these they also managed to squeeze in two brand new tracks. (Word on the street is they are planning on heading back in the studio in the beginning of 2006.)
Paul’s live energy possesses one part Ian Curtis and a pinch of David Byrne. There is something about the intensity in his face that has the effect to captivate a crowd. When the show was over you could tell that he was in it 110% as he was leaning on the wall over on the side, exhausted and soaked. After a set that seemed like it ended way too early, the band was asked to come back up for an encore, and they delivered. You could see in each member’s eyes how sincerely excited they were about the crowd’s reaction. Hell, I was as well. It is not too often you see people dancing and singing along with the band at shows out here.
Kudos to Warp Records for finding what might be the best band out there today. If anyone doesn’t know who Maximo Park is after this weekend then they must be blind or deaf. There were definite fans made this weekend in New York City. Make sure that you check them out while they are on tour. Tonight they are playing Montreal, and then they are hitting up Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. I promise that you will not be disappointed.