Paul Smith certainly knows what a stage is for. From the moment he kicks into tonight's opener, The Coast Is Always Changing, he's hopping, bouncing, climbing, leaping and shadow boxing around his band mates; an ongoing mission to incite the massed Maximites (copyright Londonist 2007) into apoplexy. His sweat stained red shirt is topped with this season's black suit and bowler combo, rounded off by matching red tie and shoes; some terrible genetic mashup of Jarvis Cocker, Bruce Dickinson, one of Alex's Droogs and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
With the exception of keyboard player Lukas Wooler, who seems to be in a mini rave all of his own from the word go, the rest of the band look a touch nervous and take a few songs to warm up. Thankfully it's not long before guitar man Duncan Lloyd and bass player Archis Tiku are joining Smith on Tom English's drum riser, instruments held heavy metal high. The same unfortunately can't be said of the sound tonight. Either Londonist or the sound mixer seem to have lost all top end hearing so that Lloyd's quirky pop hooks spend most of the evening drowned out by a gut rearranging kick drum.
This, however, is our only complaint. Two albums worth of raucous indie-pop with sing-a-long choruses and a charismatic, literate lyricist with a seemingly never-ending string of small town broken romances behind him make Maximo Park worthy successors to Pulp's vacant crown. They tear through the bulk of this year's Our Earthly Pleasures, dropping in the odd crowd pleaser from A Certain Trigger and even Wasteland from 2005's Help- a Day in the Life. It's a shame the magnificent Going Missing has lost its place as the set closer but Our Velocity serves well enough to keep the crowd crowing for more.
Ximo Ark at Glastonbuy 07 from the author's flickr photostream because they didn't get any decent shots at the gig