Maximo Park/Wild Beasts/Art Brut
London Shepherds Bush Empire

Considering Maximo Park had only just played a massive sell-out gig at Brixton Academy last October, they had gone down in size, and decided to play one night at the Astoria in London, and their last night of the tour at Shepherds Bush Empire.

Wild Beasts, the first support were interesting enough, they seemed to have inherited the Cold War Kids gene, quirky guitars and wailing high-pitched vocals. Unfortunately, they didn't seem to catch the audience's attention and nobody was particularly excited or interested in them.

The second and final support act was a band that goes by the name of Art Brut, and have the weird but intelligent front man Eddie Argos. Probably more well-known for his feud with Kele Okereke from Bloc Party, but tonight the way he engaged with the audience made everyone love him. Usually speaking songs rather than singing them doesn't work, but somehow with Eddie Argos it does, and stopping in the middle of songs to share his views on things such as dancing, love and various other subjects made him seem a tiny bit insane. However, he entertained the audience incredibly well, and everyone was geared up for Maximo Park to finally arrive.

Having had not so good reviews for their second album 'Our Earthly Pleasures' no-one really knew how the show would go, but as soon as Maximo Park ran onstage, Paul Smith in a suit and patent leather shoes, storming right into 'Graffiti', everyone knew that Maximo Park were still the spectacular live act they had always been, and an indifferent album wouldn't change that. From the new songs that they played, you wouldn't have thought that not many people liked the album, as the audience were screaming along and dancing and treating the songs with such respect and energy, such as when Lukas Wooller opened with the robotic keyboard tunes with their latest single 'Our Velocity'. This proved that you should never listen to what the critics say, you can make music how you want to, and love what you want to. Paul Smith does not only have an amazing stage presence, he comes across as an incredibly friendly front man, smiling all the time and looking genuinely pleased and proud and almost embarrassed with himself when the applause at the end of songs carried on and on.

You can tell that when they played songs such as 'Books From Boxes' and 'Going Missing' that he really feels the raw emotion of the songs and rips it wide open so everyone can see how attached to the song he is, why he wrote it, and lets everyone share the feelings with him. Whereas when they played more up-beat songs such as 'Parisian Skies' and 'Apply Some Pressure' it fed energy into everyone so they were robotically dancing just like Lukas Wooller and Paul Smith. Bassist Archis Tiku even managed to step down from his stand at the back, and wiggle around a bit, shaking his head of long, curly, black hair. 'Limassol' was the last song they played that night, a song named after the second largest city in Cyprus, essentially about a holiday romance gone wrong, and Limassol being a cheesy package holiday destination fits the song incredibly well. Again Lukas Wooller was jumping around, playing a jerky keyboard beat, and then Paul Smith going mad in the instrumental, jumping around and baring his teeth like a lion ready to kill his prey, throwing the microphone stand around as if he had some anger in him that needed to somehow find his way out of his body. Once they had finished, the applause went on for ages, you could tell that they would have loved to play more, but all good things come to an end, and with the promise of seeing everyone again soon, it was most likely everyone had made a mental note to go and see the astonishing Maximo Park at least one more time.

Harri Dean