MAXIMO PARK + Trouble Hubble @ Cabaret La Tulipe

By Trevor Kiernander - Ones and Zeroes - 06/13/2005

Hey Nigel! Make plans for Maximo Park! And no, I’m not saying that the Park boys are the next XTC. And I’m not going to say that they are the next Smiths or the Jam. Of course they are a driving force of post-punk/new-wave from Newcastle, but you do a band more justice by speaking of their music than by touting them as the big band from yesterday. Hell, if I read a review that said ‘so and so’ was the next Stone Roses, you bet your grandma I’ll be there! Besides, being compared to the Smiths and the Talking Heads should be good enough PR for anyone.

Seriously though, do critics even really listen to the bands they review? Personally, I’d be more in the vein of trying to be the first to sing praises of a band than be the first to compare them to some big name band, or better yet, to prove themselves as such a ‘research fighter’, to compare them to some way-off-centre obscure band nobody has even heard of.

Alright, now that I have that out of my system, let’s get down to Warp Records newest artists, Maximo Park. Yes, that Warp Records. The Warp Records that have been bringing you killer techno and electronic music since the beginning of the 90’s with LFO, Sweet Exorcist and Nightmares on Wax, have signed their first non-electronic-based band. It’s not that what Warp says goes, but when have they been wrong? Prefuse73, Jamie Lidell, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada… the list is too long. So when I heard that they had signed these lads from Newcastle, I couldn’t wait to get my ass over to La Tulipe.

Troubled Hubble opened for them, though due to some ‘door’ trouble, I only caught the last song of their set so I can’t make any glowing reports on this crew, but what I heard was pretty good. All glowing reviews aside, I was fairly disappointed that the amount of press I had been reading lately about Maximo Park, was not reflected in the countable audience in the main-floor-only evening.

They started off with quite a blast of energy and those present were definitely into the vibe. Singer Paul Smith seemed less than pleased with the ‘woolly’ monitor system that he had to play off of, but the sound was tight and perfect for the audience. Rolling through their debut album A Certain Trigger, their big hits “Graffiti” and “Apply Some Pressure” gained just as much of a response as the other tracks on their album. Woolly monitors aside, the only thing that was somewhat distracting about the performance was that the band seemed to consist of only Smith on vocals and keyboardist Lukus Wooller. These two were into the show like two fat kids on a cupcake, while the rest of the band played along like their inattentive mothers (Charlie Watts, are you there?). Maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to the actual group dynamic, but a rocking Wooller and classic Brit-rock-star-kicking Smith were definitely driving it.

All in all, the Maximo Park show was more than just a great night out on the town. It was one of those nights where you’ll tell your friends six years from now, “hell man, I saw those guys play at La Tulipe in Montreal with about 100 people”. And I’m sure that can be compared to a lot of other bands you’ve got kicking around on your iPods.

[Ones And Zeroes is currently on summer hiatus.]