Maximo Park enjoyed a great year in 2005, with a Top 10 album, a sold out UK tour and a Mercury Music Prize nomination. They return tonight to their motherland for a show at Newcastle’s new Academy, which tonight is rammed beyond belief, perhaps worrying given that the floor had collapsed a few days before. Homecomings are always special, but these boys left small fry and have come back stars. And it’s easy to see why.

Mixing material from the Mercury nominated ‘A Certain Trigger’ with (so far) unreleased material, the Academy loves every minute. From the punk leanings of ‘Postcard of a Painting’ to the Electro madness of ‘Limassol’, the adoring Geordie public sings every word back at singer Paul Smith in their best local accent. Smith himself is a class act as a frontman, with moves to shame Bruce Lee and a suit to match Jonathan Ross’ best (in a good way). ‘The Coast Is Always Changing’ was a revelation tonight, coming alive as a pop behemoth in punk clothing, and ‘Now I’m All Over The Shop’ reveals itself as a mini-classic. There’s a predictable roar for ‘Apply Some Pressure’ and ‘Graffiti’, and it’s perhaps during these that you realise you’re stood in front of something very special indeed. There’s a buzz between these fellas onstage. They play every note with passion and verve. We’re even treated to a couple of new songs, which seem to be taking them rather nicely along the same road, developing what they’ve already got. 2006 looks good for Maximo Park, and if it’s good for Maximo Park, it’s even better for us.

The photographs that accompany this article originally appeared on

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