LIVE: Maximo Park – Limelight 2, Belfast

st1 mp5 mp2 mp1With their return to Belfast taking around 5 years, their fans might have been wondering whether they would ever see those Geordie faces ever again on Northern Irish soil but their worries were unfounded when they announced their return early this year. With their brand new album ‘Too Much Information’ surfacing just weeks before their Belfast show, ample time was allowed to get familiar. On this early show, Dublin outfit Sleep Thieves were asked to fill the premature support slot.

With the clock just shy of half seven, the Irish trio creeped on stage without a peep and burst straight into proceedings. Electro indie-pop can be quite delicate when transformed into the live show and at times sadly Sleep Thieves were just background music as the huddles of bodies continued to fill the Limelight with little faces turning to watch the action on stage. Latest single ‘City of Hearts’ was a highlight where vocalist Sorcha Brennan was on fine form but it was a night where little could turn heads ahead of the main act’s arrival in Maximo Park.

After a nice little wait that allowed glasses to be refilled and old faces to be reunited, the lights dimmed and the crowd let out Belfast cheers as the main act gathered around the stage. Frontman Paul Smith followed the rest as the band walked straight into new album starter ‘Give, Get, Take’ performing with brilliance, character and true showmanship. Screams hit the roof when ‘Our Velocity’ sent the crowd into a rapture with a flood of arms grasping the air throughout the chorus. Noting their realisation that they haven’t been in Belfast in a while gained a few boos, warranted and openly admitted by frontman Smith, was their reason for a collection of past goodies such as ‘The National Health’, ‘Hips and Lips’ and ‘The Coast is Always Changing’ to familiarise the Belfast crowd of their past anthems.

While at times charming and open admitting that they weren’t about to perform a Spice Girls cover after a shout/request from the crowd, the outfit seemed robotic and going through the motions barely stopping for a breath. However this didn’t stop the crowd from enjoying themselves as new tunes like ‘Leave this Island’ granted cheers from the audience. ‘Lydia, The Ink Will Never Dry’ was a particular highlight for me as Maximo performed their developed sound live on stage with ‘Midnight on the Hill’ not far away. Needless to say the old tunes received the most cheers from Belfast as ‘Books from Boxes’, ‘Girls Who Play Guitars’ and ‘Apply Some Pressure’ easily sent the Belfast people away with grins on their faces and a night well spent. Mark Dunn, GiggingNI.com

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