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Maximo Park with Zambi and Stagnant Pools - World Cafe Live (Philadelphia) - September 12, 2012

15 September 2012

Though I was exhausted after spending the previous evening watching Bob Mould, I decided to head back out (ticket already purchased weeks in advance) to see Maximo Park for the first time in almost 7 years (since a September 2005 show at Bowery Ballroom).

In their first Philadelphia show since 2005 (they were scheduled to play the same venue in 2009 but canceled their U.S. tour), Maximo Park played a fantastic set spanning their four albums, wisely focusing heavily on just-released new album The National Health (perhaps their career best) and their debut A Certain Trigger, by some measure their best records.

It should be noted here that though they have gold records and high chart placements in their native UK (their big tour bus parked outside is indicative of this), they are still virtually unknown in the U.S. Perhaps their very British brand of pathos, humor and demonstrative longing (influenced by The Wedding Present and Pulp but entirely their own) doesn’t translate as well here, but whatever the case, it’s a shame that they couldn’t draw more of a crowd. Despite this, they played on, singer Paul Smith as animated as ever, and also overcame some early, persistent sound problems. At the end of the night, I was just happy to enjoy an all-too-rare appearance by this great UK band on US shores. I just hope they come back!

I didn’t like openers Zambi and didn’t see enough of first band Stagnant Pools to get a good feel for their set as they were just finishing as I walked in the club. However, a friend who was at the show compared them favorably to Longwave, so they seem they’d be up my alley.


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