REVIEW: Maximo Park, Albert Hall, Manchester

Maximo Park's Paul Smith
Maximo Park's Paul Smith

Tony Blair had just won a third time, Malcolm Glazer had bought Manchester United and Bob Geldof was about to launch Live Aid 2.

It was May 2005 - the month Maximo Park launched their own takeover, releasing Mercury-nominated indie-rock album A Certain Trigger, a 13-track monolith of hopeless romance, irresistible melody and sharp wit.

Here, at the wonderfully-resurrected Albert Hall, they played that album in full as, after a first half ‘warm-up’ of other singles (‘Books from Boxes’ the highlight) and obscurities.

Forty-five raucous, breathless minutes of Paul Smith’s gyrating and stage gymnastics and Duncan Lloyd’s incredible ear for a heart-pounding riff set the platform for the main event.

Like a football team heading to the dressing room for their half-time oranges, you could imagine them saying ‘Right boys, cracking first 45 - now let’s hit them with the big guns’.

Back out they came – and nailed it.

Signal and Sign rushed us into Apply Some Pressure before Graffiti, Postcard of a Painting and Going Missing - Lloyd’s finest hour, surely – had the sell-out crowd firmly in the palm of their hands.

The only drawback perhaps of running through the album in order was the lack of a crashing finale. But after 25 songs, no-one really cared.

At the end of Kiss You Better, Smith stood for several seconds to soak up the adulation from a crowd left sweaty and exhilirated by a welcome slap of mid-Noughties nostalgia, as the giant neon ‘MP’ letters flashed behind him.

That is one manifesto we should all sign up to.

Andy Sykes

Maximo Park return to for a sold-out show at Manchester Albert Hall on December 19