Maximo Park


Glastonbury Day Two

So, where were we? I’ll continue, a week exactly since the wondrous collage of genius that is Glastonbury, with Saturday. We awoke to an absolutely sweltering tent, and upon looking outside, saw that the weather had got much, much better overnight, which was a relief to say the least. Significantly cheered up, we roamed our way all the way across the site to where the brilliant Bombay Bicycle Club were playing.

After hearing them for the first time almost a year ago I can’t believe that I’m still waiting for the prodigiously talented band’s debut to come out (well, it’s only four days now, but you know…). Actually I’m rather happy I am, because every time I see them, they’re brilliant, and if they can translate that to a whole record, it’ll be an absolute corker. This appearance was no exception, with the whole audience enraptured by their jaunty tunes and Jack Steadman’s inimitable, fantastic vocals.

Quickly dashing off to the Pyramid stage we got there just in time for a band I still can’t quite believe I saw. Spinal Tap. David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnell and Derek Smalls emerged to screams like no other, and proceeded to wheel out every fictional hit they have. From “Gimme Some Money” to “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”, they covered every iteration of their band, and every genre. Highlights included two little people carrying an inflatable Stonehenge and Jarvis Cocker joining the band on bass. Brilliant.

Suitably stunned, we made our way to see my favourite new band, Hockey. I’ve heard a lot about their live show not living up the promise of their recorded stuff, but as far as I could tell, they were on top form. Every swagger and soulful move of their tracks was perfectly recreated, and Ben Grubin ruled the stage, roaming up and down, making sure everyone got an equal chance to see his perfectly positioned headband and hipster clothing choices. Scenester aspects aside, Hockey look like a seriously good prospect for the future, and another band whose debut I can’t wait for, and this only helped me get more excited.

For our fourth band, and fourth stage, of the day, we took a safe bet and went to see Maximo Park. Just like The Maccabees, Maximo Park seem unable to fail when they play live. Whilst the band are absolutely perfect every time, Paul Smith is the perfect frontman, engaging, funny, humble and bloody mental on stage. His high kicks and little red book are already legendary, and it never gets old. With perfect picks from all three albums, the crowd lapped up every moment, singing along to every word and having a ball in the process.

After a long gap to wander about aimlessly and sample some delicious food, we made our way to the Pyramid Stage once more to catch the main event. It’s no secret as to why Bruce Springsteen is the dictionary definition of a rockstar. He owned the stage, never seemed dwarfed by his surroundings, and, unlike most artists, looked like there was no better place for him than in front of thousands upon thousands of people. There’s a reason it’s called stadium rock. Now I have to admit, I really don’t know much Bruce Springsteen material. In fact I can only think of two songs, and they both begin with the word “Born”, so I can’t say my attention was completely focused. It certianly isn’t usually my kind of music, but it was certainly an amazing (and long) performance, and the crowd absolutely loved it, so what more can you ask for?

So there you have it, another day of Glastonbury reviewing done, and only one more left. See you tomorrow folks!

Bombay Bicycle Club – Evening/Morning (YSI)
Spinal Tap – Gimme Some Money (YSI)
Hockey – 3am Spanish (YSI)
Maximo Park – Postcard of a Painting (YSI)
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (YSI)

Ever since their first album, I’ve loved Maximo Park. They swept along with the rest of the indie invasion of post-Libs bands at the same time as Arctic Monkeys, The Rakes, Bloc Party et al, but somehow seemed to get swept under the radar initially. A Certain Trigger was simply brilliant, chock full of hooks and the always interesting lyrics of Mr. Paul Smith, whilst Our Earthly Pleasures was certainly more of a grower, but just as good throughout.

Hearing that a new song, “Wraithlike”, had been put up for free download, I jumped onto the website and gave it a listen. As it begins, it’s exactly what you expected, but still just as enthralling – Deep guitar and bass tones strum incessantly before skipping drums and Paul’s voice leap into the mix. Before long a siren-like synth tone builds from below, building and building, increasing expectation, but no chorus comes.

And that’s my main problem with the song, it seems like one long set of verses, like they haven’t quite finished a promising song. Here’s hoping the album lives up to what we all want from it…

Maximo Park – Wraithlike (YSI)
Maximo Park – Limassol (YSI)

Well tomorrow I leave on a three year adventure, up to the vast, mysterious, unconquerable (thank you Mark Corrigan) land of Newcastle. In the spirit of leaving, not wanting to leave AND Newcastle, here’s Maximo Park.
Maximo Park – I Want You To Leave
Maximo Park – I Want You To Stay

Another piece of information that’s dawned on me is the fact that never again (OK, for the time being anyway), will I have to wear uniform – school, work or otherwise – which is an unusual source of joy for me.
Bloc Party – Uniform

A worrying fact for me at the moment is my money situation. Or lack of it. If you live in Newcastle and you see a dishevelled, 6’2″, long-haired youth attacking your bins, I can only apologise in advance.
Barenaked Ladies – If I Had A Million Dollars

I’ll admit, after a year off travelling and doing shift work, I am starting to think I’ll remember very little of the things I’m supposed to have learned already, and with the apparent constant supply of alcohol that Uni provides, it might just stay that way.
Nine Inch Nails – Head Like A Hole

Amongst the questioning eyebrows, semi-sarcastic questions of whether we’re living together and all the general annoyances that go along with it, I’m so happy to be going with Cat, my beautiful girlfriend. And, just to set the record straight, we decided to choose our first choice uni separately and, by happy coincidence or pure synchronicity, we both chose Newcastle. So there.
Jack Johnson – Better Together