By Gloria Knott
By way of giving back to their fans, The Maine, an alternative rock band originally from Tempe, went on tour this fall with 13 dates that were 100 percent free. I attended their show at The Rock in Tucson in late September, which was not one of the free dates, But The Maine is a band that I do not mind paying to see.
I have seen The Maine about seven times, and frankly, this particular show was not their best. However, I am always impressed when I watch The Maine, and this was no exception.
The concert opened with a performance by the band Beach Weather. Although I had never heard of them, they had a catchy sound that was easy for everyone to dance to. Following Beach Weather, there was a 20-minute intermission dedicated to changing sets and arranging instruments.
The Maine then arrived on stage. Pat Kirch, the drummer, walked on first, and waved to the audience before settling in at his drum set. Jared Monaco (lead guitar), Kennedy Brock (rhythm guitar), and Garrett Nickelsen (bass) came on next. John O’Callaghan (lead vocals) entered last, and at a perfect cue, the band started playing their first song of the night, “Miles Away.”
When watching The Maine, you can easily tell that they’re comfortable on stage. They laugh, they curse, and they dance even though they know they look silly.
The band played every song from their newest album, American Candy, followed by several songs from earlier work. The bass did not overthrow the vocals, the musicians did not miss a beat, and the vocalist was never out of breath, shaky, or hard to hear.
When you’re in a big crowd where everyone is screaming at the same time, it’s usually hard to understand what they’re saying. At this show, you could understand every single lyric the crowd was shouting. One of the best feelings in the world is being in a crowd of people who love the same music as you, and a better feeling is when that same crowd screams back the lyrics in perfect harmony.
No matter how big or small the space, The Maine always talks to fans as if the fans are the most important people on the planet. O’Callaghan often stopped in between songs to check on the crowd and answer questions. Among many things, he commented on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign (he disapproves), his thoughts on school, and what the band did that particular afternoon before arriving on stage. All of his answers elicited laughs from the crowd, so it was almost as if I was watching a good stand-up comedy show in the middle of a musical concert. Even during song transitions, the band kept the audience occupied.
During the song, “Right Girl,” O’Callaghan pulled Nicole Crimando, a fan in the front row, on stage.
“I actually didn’t realize for, like, thirty seconds that he was trying to get my attention, and my friends started pushing me and yelling, ‘GO!’” said Crimando. She has met The Maine several times, so O’Callaghan remembered her. “I was very confused but also overwhelmed with happiness,” she said. Crimando danced and sang with O’Callaghan until the song was over.
By the end of the show, people were crowd-surfing, dancing, and another fan had jumped on stage alongside O’Callaghan. The show began around 8 p/m. and ended shortly after 10 –but to me it felt like 30 minutes.
The Maine has never organized an official VIP or Meet-and-Greet session like many groups. Some musicians charge fans hundreds of dollars to meet them, but The Maine stood outside of the venue after finishing their last song and they greeted their fans for free. This is a regular protocol for The Maine. The members stay outside, sometimes in freezing cold weather at one in the morning, and meet every fans until everyone has gone home. That’s the kind of band they are.