Deaf Institute, Manchester, 3/12/2010
published: 4 /
Dixie Ernill watches Maximo Park front man Paul Smith play a forceful solo set at the Deaf Institute in Manchester
Having just returned from dates in Europe to promote his debut long player, 'Margins', Paul Smith is back in Blighty to woo fans over here.
Nick Talbot from Gravenhurst tries to warm up the crowd, but struggles to get his songs across to a largely disinterested audience, which is a shame because he certainly has talent.
By contrast Paul Smith instantly commands attention as he embarks on an enjoyable jaunt through 'Margins', remaining an engaging frontman throughout, happy to interject his songs with confident banter. While being more restrained than when with his main band, Maximo Park, he seldoms stays static and gets quite energetic during the more uptempo tracks such as 'North Atlantic Drift', 'The Crush and the Shatter' and 'Dare Not Dive'.
But, despite sporting trademark bowler hat, Smith is not trying to replicate Maximo Park on a smaller scale and the set has a good sprinkling of slower songs in the shape of 'Improvement/Denouement', 'While You're in the Bath' and the haunting 'Alone, I Would've Dropped'. There is also place for a fine cover of Arthur Russell's excellent 'A Little Lost'.
The highlights are the swirling 'Our Lady of Lourdes' that closes the set and the breezy pop of 'I Drew You Sleeping'. To put a cherry on top, Smith comes back for a solo encore of Maximo Park tracks including 'Tanned' and 'By the Monument', which mixes in a snippet of 'Apply Some Pressure' just for good measure.
A job well done.
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