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- Guildhall, Portsmouth »
- Maximo Park »
“It’s their biggest tour to date!” chirps the pop pixie next to me, coiled like a spring. Her face is smouldering with anticipation that will only be outdone by the rubbery-faced theatrics of Paul Smith. Spanning Anglo, Germanic, Austro and Yankee soils, the five Geordie boys are certainly looking to become global. And why not?
Maximo Park are notorious for having an educated electricity; a literary richness to their music. On top of this the poetic anguish there’s lust and love that rings like a new age Morrissey, where every scribble in the lyric book offers foreigners an insight into British culture. These hymns of modern life would fail to penetrate the hearts of the hordes though without the expressive drama of the band’s live show.
Their energy, especially Mr Smith’s, seems inexhaustible. This performance, like every one before and after it, will be loaded with cries and expressions of emotion that tear you between standing sombrely still and dancing your clothes off to the indie disco.
In one vigorous movement the band bounds onstage as high as kites on the Yorkshire dales. ‘The Coast Is Always Changing’, ‘A Fortnight’s Time’ and ‘Girls Who Play Guitars’ are belted out without hesitation or interruption. The trillion expressions that race across the singer’s face announce instructions like a flashing applause prompt; a signal for the crowd to go mental. Anger to coy, happy to bashful. The many faces of Maximo Park infect the crowd as they imitate the passion on stage. It’s contagious.
Yells of_ “COME ON!” lift the crowd further and further into pleasure not known on this world. Caught up in the pandemonium you fail to twig that ‘I Want You To Stay’ and ‘Limasol’ sound as fresh as ‘Parisian Skies’ and ‘By The Monument’_. Two LPs married in mayhem.
There is perhaps only one purely sentimental moment that demands your full non-bouncing attention. It comes as they return onstage for the encore._ ‘Acrobat’, with stripped-down synthesizers and measured tempo, brings pained prose to close what’s been a vigorous assault on the senses. But not before leaving the crowd with an impatiently hasty and brutal rendition of _‘Graffiti’. Godspeed, Maximo Park.
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