You Are Ok with The Maine, April 2019.
A month ago, on the 2nd of April, a band called The Maine embarked on their European shows of 2019. A whirlwind tour comprising of gigs each night from Cologne to Antwerp, Paris, Amsterdam and finally London. The European dates were booked last minute according to John, singer of The Maine, he gave reasoning behind the Europe trip being so fleeting as it needed to fit between album release shows and their tour with Taking Back Sunday in the US.
The Maine’s, 7th studio album You Are OK came out March 28th 2019.
Having released their new album just weeks before the first show their set list comprised of new and old songs from the bands growing repertoire. As the tour progressed they chopped and changed the set list to curate the perfect mix of then and now for the You Are OK era.
The Maine were joined by Calva Louise and Airways during this tour, a mix of gritty garage punk sounds and British pop-rock to warm up the crowds each night.
Based out of Camden, London, Calva Louise are a trio of friends – Jess on guitar/vocals, Alizon on bass/vocals and Ben on drums, inputting to the vocals section too. Having familiarising myself with Calva Louise and their gritty, raucous sound on my journey to Germany, I was excited to see what they had to bring to the stage. Their energy was infectious, catchy breaks with group vocals that parts of the crowd sang along with especially during “Getting Closer”. A brilliant opening act with great energy, an old school punk rock sound that was fun and enlivening to see up on stage.
The second support band Airways bought boy band brit rock to the stage. With members from Peterborough, Birmingham and Chicago, Airways have an aura of classic modern British alternative rock around them with hip hop beats underlying amongst their songs. Their genre-fluid sound seems to have put them in good stead as they have seen success from being picked up by BBC Introducing back in 2015. Since then they have supported The Hunna and Nothing But Thieves, as well as appeared on BBC’s Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds.
During the first show of the tour the fellas came across some technical errors with bassist Jamie Reynolds having to stop during Alien twice in the fear of blowing his band members ear drums. In true front man style Jake Daniels joked about first show of tour mishaps and interacted with the crowd as the tech team tried to resolve the issue, getting the crowd to throw jokes at him and lead guitarist Alex Ruggiero threw some in the mix between the heckles. After a short interlude and crowd interaction the lads tried once again to continue with the show, the crowds reaction was fantastic once the song progressed past Jamie’s bass riff not blowing his band mates heads off. Watching Airways through the week I got to see them come into their own throughout the tour and feed off the bigger crowds as the shows progressed. Every time I’d catch glimpse of Brian Moroney, the bands drummer he always had a huge smile on his face which was infectious throughout the sets.
I spoke with bassist Jamie and front man Jake after a few of the shows and off stage they were humble and friendly, with Jake enquiring if they would be seeing us at Board Masters in August 2019. Check out Airways on Spotify for your fix of alt rock goodness. Their single Reckless Tongue gives off Hard-Fi vibes as well as Arctic Monkeys-esque guitar riffs.
I’ve been a long standing fan of The Maine for around 10 years at this point. I have been fortunate enough to see them numerous times, from them supporting All Time Low in 2012 to their headline tour for their 3rd album Pioneer. Before this tour I attended their Baltimore show in the states for the Modern Nostalgia tour where they played songs from their two most recent albums, American Candy and Lovely Little Lonely.
When I found out about this European tour I knew it was something I had to do. Since my first live show back in 2009 I’ve always wanted to follow some part of a tour and experience a band within different venues, meet other fans of the music and of course city hop. This short week around Europe was the perfect time for that and it is something I will be doing again in the future! I recruited a friend from home to join me from Belgium to three of the remaining four shows after the opening Cologne show, that I graced on my own.
Every time I have seen The Maine they bring everything to the stage, their performances night in and night out were captivating. With guitarist Kennedy Brock smiling all throughout the set, frontman John O’Callaghan and bassist Garret Knickelsen jumping around, Pat Kirch beating at his silver mirror drum kit, guitarist Jared Monaco ripping the guitar riffs and Adam Simons joining them on stage on the keyboard, chipping in with vocals, rhythm guitar and percussion. Not only do they bring it on stage but without fail they will be around after the show to catch up and interact with their fans.
During the first show the technical issues that had interrupted Airways set seemed to creep back as The Maine graced the stage to the noise of amps throbbing. With their backing for first released single Numb Without You not playing John addressed the crowd telling them not to be polite and to move. After moments of rejigging cables and suspense building the strings echoed from the speakers and the crowd went wild. At the first chorus, where John held the microphone to the crowd and heard the voices sing back at him the look on his said it all, the knock out gratitude and impact that in that moment, weeks after it’s release all those people were singing along to a band from Arizona, called The Maine’s music.
The show was wild, I started near the front on the left of the crowd. As the set went on I found myself mixed in with everyone jumping and…well, moving as John had requested at the start of the show. By the end I found myself gracing the right side of the stage, a pleasant change of view as the set progressed. It was an amazing show and everyone in the crowd was as respectful as you’d expect from the fan base. The Maine have built up a wonderful community of people around their music, people who respect each other and are out for a good time. We were all there for the same music, the same humans, the same experience.
The second show in Antwerp’s Zappa venue was a completely different vibe from the first in Cologne’s Gloria Theatre. This was The Maine’s first show in Belgium, a crowd of over 100 filled the small space and made for a far more intimate show. Between the support bands a few members of the crowd passed out hand cut orange circles with instructions printed on. The instructions read “Please light with your torch during Broken Parts”. We did so and swayed together as the band played, John recognised the act and asked who had gone to the effort and thanked them.
During the last song of the set John made his way down off the stage and surrounded himself with a chorus of voices from the crowd singing
“this one goes out to my closest friends
The ones who make me feel less alien
I do not think I would be here if not for them.”
A personal highlight of the tour, to be surrounded by others, next to a top notch frontman with one of my best friends, in a new city filled with so much joy.
Due to the smaller crowd that night it was a perfect chance to have a chat with the band members at the end of the show, Garret spoke about languages and not being able to speak other languages. Which led on to a deeper chat about language as a whole and communication, my friend and I got to catch up with Kennedy too and we had an exchange about the community of people around the band and about general goodness and respect amongst people, which was lovely. I apologised to Jared for slapping his back during a hug the previous night and then proceeded to give good hugs after our exchange. It’s so great at the end of shows to be able to grab a beer and end up chatting with the band you’ve been listening to for years as the people they are. No ego, just there purely for interaction with those who have allowed them to live this life of theirs.With a world now filled with internet ego’s and influencers, the thought of an actual conversation with such influential, genuinely good humans still leaves me in awe of this band and their commitment to keeping it real.
My friend and I missed out on the third show in Paris, instead we explored Antwerp and recovered from the previous night before heading off to Amsterdam for the penultimate show. Another knock out performance by all the bands, at the end of the show we caught up with Jake and Jamie from Airways and kept an eye on their merch boxes for them by their minibus while hanging around outside the venue. Always willing to give a helping hand.
The final gig we attended was in the O2 Forum, Kentish Town. The Maine’s biggest UK headliner show to date. It was epic. The crowd were fantastic and the energy was off the charts. During ‘Am I Pretty’ through the whole tour John would select someone from in the crowd to dance, sing and/or get up on stage with him. This show was no different, however, the fan he picked out had something to say once they’d bowed and been applauded by the audience.
“You’re one of the most important bands in the world. You guys have helped all these fucking people, you are amazing and I owe you my life.
I love you so much and they all love you too!"
This week was one to remember, not only for the band having played their first show in Belgium, smashing their largest British venue headline but as a fan following their tour, discovering new music through Calva Louise and Airways, speaking to fans and band members alike nightly and travelling through Europe with one of my best friends was unreal. Being able to connect and communicate with this band on a human level after dancing, singing and being connected to their music really does highlight to me why so many people are invested and love The Maine. Their ability to come out level headed and realise that the people waiting for them after shows are the ones who allow them to do what they love and that they have huge impact on a large group of people. Taking the word community to another level that I have never witnessed before. I am so glad that I chose The Maine as the band I would follow on tour, they are some of the most deserving, loving, patient and understanding humans I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
Check out their collection of music on Spotify. Find your own meaning behind their music, go see them live at a show if they play near you and say hi to them afterwards!
Oh, and remember that You Are Ok.