It's been ten years since Maximo Park released A Certain Trigger, their seminal debut. Arguably a defining record of the mid-'00s indie boom, a lot has changed since Paul Smith and co scissor-kicked their way on the pages of NME. Many of their contemporaries have split up or faded in to obscurity, whilst others have been catapulted in to mega-stardom. Maximo Park on the other hand, have done none of those things. Instead they've tread comfortable waters, releasing a steady stream of albums, toured regularly and been celebrated by an ardent yet modest by comparison fan-base.
Tonight the focus is on their debut though, the album that made many of us here at the Albert Hall fall in love with the band, and the album which we're here to see in its entirety. The first half of the evening however, is dedicated to singles and rarities, the band careering through 'Girls Who Play Guitars' and 'The National Health', before a rare outing of early B-side 'A19' gets the pulses of die-hard fans racing. As does similar B-side 'A Year of Doubt', but it's 'Our Velocity' that gets the loudest reaction of the evening; the crowd's roar drowning out everything.
From our position behind, above and to the right of the stage, Smith's clearly overwhelmed by such a response, and thriving off it. Performing some impressively acrobatic dance moves that defy his skinny jeans, he bounces from band member to band member with gleeful abandon. Though there's little in the way of crowd interaction, it's more than made up for with the conviction they lavish on tracks that must have been played hundreds of times before.
In what's “possibly the longest encore ever”, over half the set in fact, Maximo Park begin the second part of the evening with 'Signal and Sign'. It's clear that these songs mean as much to the band as they do the crowd and it's obvious they enjoying playing some of these songs for the first time in a while. 'Apply Some Pressure' goes down predictably well, as does 'Going Missing', the track which spawned the aforementioned B-sides. Personal highlights come in the form of 'The Coast Is Always Changing' and 'Acrobat', though it seems the latter hasn't been played in a while, given Smith's, possibly ironic, reliance on a lyric book.
Though it's been over ten years since these tracks were written, they still resonate as strongly as ever. Some even more so. And while Maximo Park haven't reached the same kind of dizzying heights as early contemporaries such as Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian, their fans have stuck by them for a decade, something which stands as a testament to their longevity and something that makes tonight feel like a celebration of their relationship with their fans, as much as of that crucial first album.