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Maximo Park, The Duchess
4:58pm Thursday 10th May 2012 in News
THERE was a reasonably amusing opening to Maximo Park's gig at The Duchess for anyone who knows the history of the York venue.
Behatted singer Paul Smith pointed out the last time they'd played in the Minster city, it was at Fibbers. Did he know Fibbers' old manager had broken away to open the neighbouring music joint? "I hope they're not big rivals and there's some kind of gang warfare," he added, slightly anxiously.
Well, it amused me anyway.
Smith and the rest of the Geordie five-piece then launched into the three opening tracks of new album The National Health.
He was seemingly nervous of playing new songs, pointing out a few times throughout the night that several hadn't been aired in public many times before, and stressing that the crowd would also hear old favourites - as if he was concerned the new material would not please.
He needn't have worried, as it was all very well received.
Personal favourites included Take Me Home, The Undercurrent and Reluctant Love, the latter being more fluent guitar indie rock, less jerky than Maximo Park's usual post-punk revival style, when sometimes the music can be too clever for its own good.
Indeed, on first hearing, The National Health might just be the band's best album yet.
Still, unsurprisingly, it was the old stuff that was most hotly welcomed over an excellent 90-minute show.
Girls Who Play Guitars, I Want You To Stay, and Going Missing were all crackers, Our Velocity ended the main set on a high, and Apply Some Pressure provided a raucous finale in a three-song-long obligatory encore.