Maximo Park. Virgin Arena. Newcastle. 5.9.20

The most alternative evening in the Virgin Arena’s line-up, tonight’s musical acts, though operating in different musical spheres, can all be tied-together through similar 3-step approaches to how they create their musical form.  Step one, create intelligent subject matters.  Step two, disguise those subjects in accessible pop forms. Step three, reveal the true meaning to the song at the songs climax.

Opening with a powerful 1-2, this evening’s warm-ups chose to disguise their subject matter through folk/orchestral sounds (Ceitidh Mac) and electronic layered vocals (Me lost Me), both letting their musical styles hide interesting reflections on loneliness, climate change and capitalism. 

Both provide a nice, well-curated, foundation for the region’s premier pop-art champions and their seeming desire to morph further into the Roxy Music mould as they age. 

Yet while Roxy, at least in part, are proud Conservatives and often created messages about commerce and status, Maximo’s differentiator has been their desire to have a more socialist, inclusive, heart to their art-school theories.

So whilst Paul Smith may dazzle us with his rock star moves and Jamiroquai footwork, and the rest of the band may move us in and out of synth and guitar textures, central to it all is the bands ability to create sophisticated pop with a meaning.  If you can see that through the hoop-la you’ve passed their test.  If you haven’t then you probably just enjoyed a cracking pop spectacle.

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