Maximo Park at Whelans, Dublin on February 28th 2014-22-banner

Maximo Park in Whelan’s, Dublin on February 28th 2014

Fresh from the release of their fifth album ‘Too Much Information’ last month, Maximo Park squeeze themselves, along with a sell-out crowd, into the confines of Whelan’s on Friday night. Dublin-based trio Sleep Thieves provide support, and with the glitter-clad Sorcha Brennan leading the music, the band captivate with their effects-heavy rich, lush soundscapes. City Of Hearts and Sparks are two belting tunes with swaying rhythms and uplifting choruses that raise expectations for the dreampop group’s forthcoming album release.

Maximo Park burst onto the stage like a small explosion and Give, Get, Take is performed with extreme gusto. Paul Smith instantly captures the audience’s attention with his almost humourous prancing and twirling presence, and such antics can easily become a distraction; Smith moves as one with the music, though, and his boundless energy spurs the whole band on. The group don’t need long to really get into their set – Our Velocity is played early on and again Smith’s liveliness fuels a truly frenetic performance. The band’s sound itself is fantastic, capturing the ferocity of punk but coating it in a layer of quirky, catchy indie rock. The synths and guitars are wonderfully placed in each song, trading positions as the lead instrument with ease. Smith himself sums up the rhythm section with the bass being “resoundingly reverberant and the drums…. hitting pretty hard.” Ah well. At least he tried.

The first half-hour is stuffed with enough energy to set off a nuclear bomb, and the tunes have the quality to match. Hips and Lips is ferociously seductive, and Braincells sees a more experimental performance with a drum pad and Smith’s gorgeous falsetto lending a haunting atmosphere not usually associated with Maximo Park. However, the intensity levels drop slightly mid-set and on Leave This Island Smith’s range seems a bit stretched; the song is too low for his voice, and he comes across sounding a bit flat. This dip doesn’t last long though and by The Undercurrents the band are in fine fettle again. Apply Some Pressure, already an amazing tune by itself, is elevated to new levels of awesome by the intense delivery and would have been an ideal set closer. The band keep going for a few more tunes though, and even play The Coast Is Always Changing, as requested by the crowd. Whelan’s is far too small a venue to host such a high-octane band, but really the intimacy just adds to the all-consuming intensity that made this show so wonderful.

Maximo Park Photo Gallery

Photos: Shaun Neary

Sleep Thieves Photo Gallery