Back in the land of the living..with Maximo Park and more
March 5, 2014
I’m back to my much neglected blog after a problematic pregnancy and painful recovery from a c-section after welcoming our absolutely beautiful daughter, Nancy, into the world on Christmas Eve. More on the trials and tribulations of dealing with a toddler and a newborn soon but in the meantime here is a little review of a gig I went to at the weekend.
I took a break from nappies and bottles last Saturday night when I went to the Limelight to see Maximo Park. A band I have loved since their debut album, A Certain Trigger, came out in 2005. I first saw them headlining the NME Tour in 2006 when they played along with the Arctic Monkeys and We Are Scientists. I have seen them in various locations since including their hometown of Newcastle and at a festival in Barcelona and always leave their gigs exhilarated, and slightly exhausted after watching the utterly charismatic frontman Paul Smith hurl himself round the stage giving it the heap (as we say in Belfast) with a variety of kicks, robot moves and general thrashy dancing.
The gig opened with ‘Give, Get, Take’ off the new album, Too Much Information, and I think it’s the best song on the album – a perfect way to start a set which included loads of old songs as well as those from the new album.
In no particular order (except I know first and last song are right!) the set list included:
Give, Get, Take
The Coast is Always Changing
Books From Boxes
A Certain Trigger
A Fortnight’s Time
Girls Who Play Guitar
Questing, Not Coasting
Hips and Lips
The National Health
I Want You To Stay
and all the songs from the new album, which as it came out when I was in the midst of the newborn haze, I only started listing to properly over the last week or two. It’s a return to form after the last two albums (to me) didn’t live up to the beauty and awesomeness of the first two. The gig really was great. Paul Smith just exudes charm and likeability and the band work together so well. The audience welcomed them back like old friends and we all had a right old singalong. It was a nice return to gigs for me after I bowed out of public appearances since The National gig last November!
A few quick words about a few others things I have been to recently:
Peabody and Sherman – I took my beautiful boy to see this at The Strand Cinema at the weekend. It’s a really good wee film – very funny and works on all levels. R loved it and sat still for the whole thing. This is quite unheard of so testament to the entertainment value of the film. He also had his first taste of popcorn. It was a hit!
Philadelphia, Here I Come – Mr G-S and I abandoned our babies with the grandparents and snuck off to The Lyric on Sunday for £10 Sunday Standby tickets to see this Brian Friel play. I had never seen it before and really enjoyed it – the cast were all superb, especially our neighbour Stella McCusker and Peter Coonan. I will admit to being slightly starstruck that Peter Coonan and Luke Drea were appearing as I got slightly obsessed with RTE’s crime drama Love/Hate last year which they also were both in. Tickets are still available for the last few shows.
John Grant – Myself and my friend, the lovely Caroline, took ourselves off to the Mandela Hall last night to catch John Grant. He has only come to my attention over the last months since his album, Pale Green Ghosts, came out. He is a lovely big bear of a man and I’d like to give him a hug. His songs were honest, humorous, soulful, wistful and just simply lovely. His style is quite eclectic – the songs ranged from singer/songwritery acoustic stuff to quite experimental pop but all were lifted to a higher level by his beautiful voice. I’m definitely going to check out his old band The Czars and more of his solo stuff. He is one talented man and it was a privilege to hear him sing.
Next weekend we will mostly be attending various events at the Belfast Children’s Festival so I’ll write about our adventures there soon.