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Review: Maximo Park at the O2 Academy Newcastle

Maximo Park singer Paul Smith leads the band for a triumphant homecoming gig in Newcastle. Tristram Colledge was there

****
Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith
Maximo Park frontman Paul Smith

Returning to the band’s birthplace, Paul Smith and the boys delivered a storming performance to a sold-out Academy on the first of two nights back on Newcastle turf.

It was undoubtedly a gig of special significance for the Mercury-nominated five-piece and as homecomings go, this was pretty triumphant.

Frontman Smith took to the stage wearing his signature bowler hat and an intriguing pair of dark glasses.

After getting off the ground with some early hits, he paused to jokingly reassure the crowd that he wasn’t turning into Bono or the Blues Brothers.

No, quite unbelievably, this was a man who had emergency eye surgery just days before.

Charismatic and energetic, he certainly had a commanding presence. As the band rattled through the playlist, hip jolts, quirky dance moves and mic stand whirls were all on show from the lead singer.

His enthusiasm was infectious and soon keyboardist Lukas Wooler was bouncing around and throwing everything into his performance.

Material from new album Too Much Information was well received, but it was songs from the first two albums that really stole the show.

Books from Boxes, Limassol and Girls with Guitars had the Academy singing, but this was nothing compared to the reaction for Apply Some Pressure.

Megaphone in hand, Smith was at his dynamic best for the song, hurling himself around stage and throwing in a trademark scissor kick for good measure. Subtle references to Geordie ways of life got their ultimate airing in Newcastle and as the gig moved into its final moments, the glasses were removed and Smith shared that it was “nice to be home”.

Returning for a two-song encore, Maximo Park ended with a blistering performance of Going Missing. We can only hope they’re not gone for long.

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