Sunday, May 13, 2007

Maximo Park

There are various ways of proving your critics wrong. One is, of course, the good old-fashioned 'test of time' method, where you sit back smugly and know that in ten or fifteen years you will be vindicated. One is to simply whine and argue until everyone gets so sick of you, they agree with you just to get rid of you. Or there is the third option, which is to simply go out and do what you do best, thus showing said critics up for the cretins you know them to be. Guess which option Maximo Park plump for tonight?

For the benefit of you who have been clinically dead for the last two months, no critic has liked Maximo Park's second album very much. They've not hated it, they've just not thought it was as good as they expected it to be. Which, in itself, is bad criticism. A good album or a good gig is not to be judged by reference to what the act themselves are capable of, but by reference to what the best albums and gigs will give you. It's that kind of namby-pamby thinking that has so royally fucked up out education system ("Oh, but he did his best" should get the response "Yes, but he's still thicker than Beth Ditto's sanitary towels" not a straight A).

From which standpoint, you will understand how good this gig was when I say that this wasn't just a case of MP rubbing their critics' noses in it, it was a case of them grabbing the critics by the ankles, turning them upside down and then burying them sole deep in horseshit.

Yes, they started with an old song - Graffiti - and ended with one - Limassol - but inbetween most of the new album got an airing. Anyone who saw the rapturous reception given to Our Velocity will not have doubted that the new material was as good as anything that has gone before. Books From Boxes and By The Monument bookended (no pun intended) The Coast Is Always Changing and were more than a match for it, whilst Russian Literature proved to be a classic-in-the-making.

In fact, the best way to judge this show is by reference to what it didn't have. I don't mean the lack of crowd favourites like Postcard Of A Painting. I mean the absence of one of the songs that the critics of Our Earthly Pleasures actually liked, Karaoke Plays. Could there be a clearer way of saying "Fuck you"?


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