Maximo Park | Chop Suey, Seattle | 22 July 2007
photo from chona kasinger’s flickr page
Newcastle, UK band, Maximo Park’s sophomore effort, Our Earthly Pleasures has been getting less than stellar reviews from a number of places including Mojo and NME, and Pitchfork, all saying that it doesn’t measure up to the powerful debut, A Certain Trigger. I think these publications are nuts, Our Earthly Pleasures is a more mature, solid and consistent record with great songs all the way through it. In fact, it’s such a strong album, I would argue that the second half of if is as good if not better than the first half, which is an anomaly in today’s world of front loaded records. After last night’s show I would also say that the band also favors the new record and live, the songs from it are even better!
Chop Suey is one of my favorite venues in Seattle, it’s not too big, there are no obstructions (meaning pole in front of the stage) and the sound is usually pretty good. Oh, and they made it an early night, which is always a plus for me. Maximo Park came on at 10:00 and were finished by 11:15, so I was home and in bed relatively early. The show wasn’t quite sold out, but it was comfortably full. Paul Smith appeared on stage with the band in Slint t-shirt, black blazer and a derby hat, which didn’t leave his head for the entire set. That’s pretty amazing considering how much he moves around, with jumps, wild arm moves, and dancing.
It seems like Maximo Park really knows how to script a show, starting things out with a fair amount of vigor, but not overdoing it. They opened with Graffiti from Trigger and Our Velocity, the first single from Pleasures, came early in the set. The band seemed to build on their own energy, sticking mostly to songs from the new record throughout the set. Hearing these new songs live really shows how strong the new record is, sure the older stuff like Apply Some Pressure and Now I’m all over the Shop got big cheers, but the new stuff is what got everybody dancing and pumping the arms in the air. As I said they know how to pace themselves, and they totally peaked by the end of the main set with The Unshockable and Going Missing with guitarist Duncan Lloyd doing freak-out guitar over his head, Smith with his mic stand up in the air and keyboard player Lukas Wooler hanging from the ceiling. After those two songs, they didn’t need to come back for an encore, I would have left a happy boy after that.
Observation: I’ve come to expect a lot of people with camera’s at shows, especially those with UK bands for some reason. I’m one of those people with a camera too, but last night there was this girl in front that kept sticking her camera up into Smith’s face and snapping flash pictures. If I was Smith, I would have grabbed the camera and smashed it with the mic stand. Why do some people have to do crap like that? I was annoyed, so I’m sure Smith and the rest of the band were.