Wednesday 9 May saw the triumphant return of Maximo Park to a sold out Duchess crowd in York. All things considered, the potential audience appeared to be ready and waiting for this successfully, all be-it momentarily crashing TicketWeb servers shortly after tickets were put on sale to the public.
Fast forward to a Wednesday night otherwise defined by the monsoon-like weather York appeared to be incurring, nothing appeared to have stopped ticket-holders from venturing into the depths of the cavernous Duchess to spend an intimate evening with a band whom for the best part of a decade have played some of the biggest festivals in the world.
Before the near capacity Duchess crowd could get their Maximo-fix, up first were Manchester indie-stars Dutch Uncles. As ever a warm and incredibly modest set from the Mancunian five-piece appeared to go down incredibly. The band also sought the opportunity to introduce some of their newer material from a yet to be named upcoming release to be expected later this year. With a couple of songs that appeared to encourage some welcomed crowd movement, (certainly within the first few rows at least), Dutch Uncles appeared to have also dried the some what soaked Duchess crowd out as well as warming them for the headliner to follow.
After the sufficient shuffling and sound-checking of the relevant paraphernalia on stage, the in-house PA was silenced and with the lights lowered. Four silhouettes made their way from the backstage area and assumed their relevant positions, hastily followed by an un-mistakable fifth, wearing a now trademark bowler hat. Opening with “When I WasWild” and “National Health” from the bands upcoming album of the same name, Paul and the boys wasted no time at all invoking their signature energetic onstage antics. Having opened with two “new” tracks, a short quip from Smith, (regarding a hypothetical “Duchess versus Fibbers rivalry”) was followed by fan favorite “Graffiti”. At this point the crowd very much so appeared to be putty the hands of these clearly very capable Geordie rockers. The night was theirs to do with what they pleased, and so they did; littering the rest of the set with a healthy combination of material from the previous studio albums as well as a handful of further insights into their next LP. Despite a live absence over the last eighteen months, it appeared that seemed that Maximo Park can still do no wrong in the eyes of their live audiences, if tonight was anything to go by.