Monday, 25 July 2011

Maximo Park - The Cluny, Newcastle upon Tyne, 21 July 2011

Monday, 25 July 2011
And so on Friday night, I found myself – brace yourself – at the MetroCentre. 

On purpose!

I know, I know.  I hear you tsk-ing and tutting.  Even from here I can feel the displacement of air from the collective shaking of all of your heads.  I hate the place.  The teenagers!  The pushchairs!  The stores full of clothes that will never fit my arse!  But anyway – I was there for the movies, and had to go to the mobile phone shop.  I was in the middle of trying the patience of the man who worked there, attempting to get an impossibly jammed SIM card out of an unfeasibly cheap phone, when he says to me, “NO WAY! WERE YOU AT THE CLUNY LAST NIGHT?!?”

“HAHA!” I say, “YES, I WAS.”  Never one to pass up an opportunity for a demonstration of  inadequately disguised smug-twat-music-snobbery, with a glint in my eye I ask him, “Did you WANT to be at The Cluny last night?”

I let him wax persecuted about shop rotas for a little – I may have even affectionately traced my hand stamp while he was moaning, you know, for dramatic effect (I know, I’m AWFUL).  Eventually, came the inevitable question:  what were Maximo Park like?

Now, if for some reason you didn’t know about the spontaneous Maximo Park gig at The Cluny last Thursday night, allow me to present you with this useful timeline: 

  • Tuesday:   The Cluny on Twitter announces a ‘secret’ gig.
  • Tuesday, point oh-two-four seconds later:  Twitter blabs the secret.
  • Shortly after that:  The Cluny tells us all we have to queue up Thursday lunchtime if we want a ticket.
  • Immediately following:  I start looking for hard things to bash my forehead up against because, as you may recall, I do not enjoy being stuck at work when I need to be in queues for things. 
Right.  Are we all up to speed? 

I spend most of Tuesday and Wednesday lamenting – in varying degrees and volumes – about the fact that I can’t go.  BUT THEN!  One of our warehouse lads – at work we affectionately call him “The Small Boy” – said he would go and stand in the queue for me.  Hurrah!  Hero!  I love The Small Boy! 

The gig is BLOODY brilliant.  I have to miss the opening band (sorry) as I am quite extremely busy drinking some pints.  But when the right time rolls around, I squash my way down into the teeny tiny sweatbox that is The Cluny.  I say that with pure unadulterated admiration and joy – give me teeny tiny sweatboxes over stadia for live music any day of the week.  If you’ve been there before you will appreciate that I managed to secure a prime spot -- on the bottom step of the steps toward the front.  Behold – a whole new concert viewing experience!   This is what it must be like to be that obnoxious tall guy that always stands in front of me at a show!  

I’ve sat on this review for a few days, deliberately, trying to give my opinions chance to distil themselves into words potent enough to adequately convey how I felt, there in The Cluny, one of just a lucky couple of hundred people getting off on feeling the kick drum in our belly buttons, not minding the amalgamation of several dozen other people’s sweat up our backs and on our shoulders.  We were all rapt – Smith and his comrades could have trotted us all down the Ouseburn like Hamelin’s rats and we’d all have gone without remonstration.  I went to bed that night feeling electrically charged – buzzing skin, ringing ears, fuzzy soul. 

What a show!  I’ve never seen Maximo Park before:  a combination of the hype, the pints and not least the delectable back catalogue put me in pretty good stead for some fairly high expectations.  And every single one of those was smashed to bits with one eargasm after another, punctuated with judo-chop dance move brilliance from the cute and sweaty inimitable Paul Smith.  What a stage presence!  His enthusiasm is something else -- I don’t mind telling you, dear readers, that I (ahem) really particularly enjoyed (AHEM) watching him. 

*reflective pause*

Oh, who am I kidding?  The ripe old age of 35 is not the time to try and quell a lifelong propensity to fall instantly in love with sweaty lead singers.  He was LOVELY. 

The set was a considered mix of old and new; featuring the staple singles mixed with even some b-sides to appease the token diehards.  I was gripped from start to finish -- you’ll find the setlist here.
So the answer, Mr. Mobile Phone Shop Man, to your question?  How was Maximo Park?  It absolutely rocked my tits off.

Enjoy this -- it's my favourite favourite:


1 people had something to say about this...:

Anonymous said...

Haha!intriguing review.

Maximo Park are the only band I know of who take the gig-attendee on an intense emotional roller-coaster ride of supreme style.
Go and see them again!you'll be hooked for life.I was.