Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 08/06/2012 | Maximo Park – Heaven, London

08/06/2012 | Maximo Park – Heaven, London

Lisa Ward


As Maxïmo Park burst on to the stage it’s as if they’ve never been away, the crowd falling out of the arches of Heaven, throbbing with each beat of the music. 3 years since their last release, their return with new album The National Health sees them combine their usual dose of cynicism with catchy indie rock. The title track and opener for tonight bounces quickly into Hips & Lips and as Paul thrusts himself around the stage, climbing on and off the speakers I’m reminded why in my mind, he’s always been regarded as one of the most charismatic front men I’ve had the pleasure to witness.

Still, this observation neglects to focus on the band’s ability to create instantly recognisable songs, and as the likes of Girls Who Play Guitars, The Kids Are Sick Again and Our Velocity weave their way into the set my view of the stage gets hidden behind a sea of pumping arms, and the songs are granted a chorus of harmonies as the crowd sing back every word. Nevertheless as a pre-album launch show, there’s a strong focus on the newer songs, which blend into the set without much notice perfectly in sync with the band’s previous work, making it hard to pick a contender for the next single.

Whilst Write This Down mimics Our Velocity thematically, Until The Earth Would Open carries slightly more of a pop vibe, almost commanding my feet to shuffle to the beat. Elsewhere, Banlieue carries a darker undertone, perhaps marking it less likely to boast an appearance on the radio, whilst This Is What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted carries a slightly softer sound, with more emphasis on Lucas’ keyboard arrangements. Still, tonight it’s the older songs which seem to captivate the crowd and as Paul punches his chest in a heartbeat rhythm during By The Monument he echoes back the feeling of the audience. Combine this with a killer note hold in Going Missing over edgy refrains and I (and seemingly everyone else in Heaven) am reminded of the extra weight Maxïmo Park carry in the live area.

As they end the night with Apply Some Pressure and Paul sings out, ‘Write a review, well how objective can I be?’ I realise I can’t. The show is near faultless and despite an issue with the sound in Limassol and Paul’s inability to remember the first line until prompted, I still walk away revelling in the power of the night. As a self confessed folk lover with a tendency to forget about the other bands I love, I had begun to overlook the power of being covered in beer and singing along as if my life depended on it. I may awake the next day with bruises from the push and pull of the crowd, but these serve only as a reminder that when Maxïmo Park turn up the amps something special happens.


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Photos © Jo Cox and must not be reproduced without prior consent