Maximo Park at Live at Leeds - Festival Review - Music News


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Maximo Park at Live at Leeds – Festival Review

Words: | June 2, 2023
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Maximo Park

As one of the great survivors from the landfill indie heyday of the 00s, Maximo Park have earned their high billing at Live at Leeds, one of the year’s highlight indie festivals. Their last album, ‘Nature Always Wins’ saw them receive renewed critical acclaim for their latest take on synth infused thoughtful indie-pop.

There was excitement from the crowd to the arrival of Maximo Park. The band were led by frontman Paul Smith in his trademark hat and blazer. Opening tracks ‘All of Me’ and ‘What Did We Do to You to Deserve This?’ perfectly demonstrated how Maximo Park have evolved their sound over the last decade.


Smith explained that during those songs he’d been having issues with hearing the rest of the band on stage. Whether this was fully resolved is unclear based on various gestures being made to the sound engineer by the band during the set. However, the band fully clicked and turned it up a notch for fan favourite ‘Graffiti’. It became the first sing along moment of the afternoon.

Next was the first visit to the much celebrated second album ‘Our Earthly Pleasures’ with ‘By The Monument’. Following was the energetic recent single ‘Great Art’. It demonstrated a return to the sound that brought Maximo Park their initial indie-rock popularity.

Baby, Sleep

They provided a breather to the crowd firstly with 2009’s ‘Questing, Not Coasting’. Then ‘Baby, Sleep’ from ‘Nature Always Wins’. The ode to the trials and tribulations of parenthood and sleep deprivation reflects the Maximo Park of the 2020s and the changes experienced by them individually and the world around them.

As they headed towards the end of the set, Smith explained that they were having to perform a reduced setlist due to the time constraints of the delays to the Rolling Stone big top stage that day. Some of the frustration he was feeling was spilling out, but it did not affect his performance thankfully.

Books From Boxes

The crowd were thrust into motion once again with the ever-popular ‘Books From Boxes’. The crowd sang along to the heart ache of a failing relationship, to the sound of typically jangly guitars and pointy rhythms.

Keeping up the tempo was the high energy ‘Our Velocity’. This track saw Smith exhibit the full range of his frantic style of being an indie frontman. There wasn’t a soul in the crowd who didn’t shout “I’ve got no-one to call in the middle of the night anymore, I’m just alone with my thoughts” as the song reached its frenzied peak.

Apply Some Pressure

After the reflective sounding ‘Versions Of You’, the band took one last return to their early career favourites. Firstly with ‘Girls Who Play Guitar’, another of the highlights from one of the era’s rare successful sophomore albums.

But then, the crowd knew exactly what to expect. ‘Apply Some Pressure’ is the song that broke Maximo Park into the mainstream. 18 years later, it remains one of the most beloved anthems from that time. A great song truly fit for any festival stage and location.

Sam Campbell
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