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Maxïmo Park
July 22, 2007
Chop Suey
Better Than: Dancing with yourself.

Last night, Northern England’s Maxïmo Park rocked a crowded, but not sold out,


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Maxïmo parks its rock at Chop Suey

Maxïmo Park rips it up at a crowded, energetic show.

maximopark_press_5.jpg

Maxïmo Park
July 22, 2007
Chop Suey
Better Than: Dancing with yourself.

Last night, Northern England’s Maxïmo Park rocked a crowded, but not sold out, Chop Suey. The doors opened at 7 p.m., and I showed up at 7:35 to make sure I didn’t miss a note of the first act, The Oolahs, whose name sounded quite interesting.

After the first song by The Oolahs, I realized that their name was the only interesting thing about the band. Fronted by a ditzy (or perhaps drunk) female lead, along with 3 backing males playing guitar, bass and drums, they made a lot of dull alternative rock noise. I drank a pint of Mac and Jack’s and quietly contemplated how much better they could be if they weren’t so bland and unenergetic on stage.

The second opener, Monsters are Waiting, turned out to be another Los Angeles quartet led by a female with 3 male backers. They were much better than the first act and reminded me of Vedera (a band I quite like), only with more sonic noise and louder guitars. However, lead singer Annalee Fery’s quiet voice sometimes got lost in the noise, and I couldn’t make out her words.

After Monsters are Waiting, I stood in the middle of the all ages crowd (which was about 50% over 21) listening to the pending excitement of the crowd. Many of these members had seen Maxïmo before at The Showbox and several purchased band T-shirts before they played a single note.

When Maxïmo Park popped up on stage, the crowd went wild. And there was good reason for them too. Throughout the hour and ten minute set, hyperactive lead vocalist Paul Smith sang passionately while jumping (perhaps dancing?) around the stage and throwing his hands wildly in the air to the beat. Smith’s energy and proficient singing alone propelled the act to greater heights than the prior two.

What was also refreshing about Maxïmo was listening to songs off their two good albums, A Certain Trigger and Our Earthly Pleasures, and realizing how much better the tracks were live. Both albums are soaked in studio polish, which made me wonder just how good the band would play. But when Maxïmo added a few guitar parts and synth lines to the tracks, which made them sound a little less pretty and little more punchy, I fell for their act and starting bobbing my head and tapping my feet furiously along with the crowd.

Reporter's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I have a thing for similar UK-based acts like Franz Ferdinand, Futureheads and Bloc Party. And I visited the UK last October and loved it.
Random Detail:
I couldn’t help but notice that lead singer Smith looked an awful lot like an older version to Matthew Lewis, the actor who plays Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films. Maybe they’re related? Or maybe they’re just English?

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Smith, left, looks a lot like an older Lewis. Or am I just Potter crazy?

 
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