As a late-20’s former emo, I have lost track of the amount of times that I’ve seen The Maine perform live. It’s been at least once per album cycle and every single time they played Warped Tour — nearly every summer! The one thing that I’ve always admired about The Maine is that they haven’t worn with age and I mean that in many senses. Their music has only elevated with each passing year and they’ve proven their willingness to be diverse with their sounds and ebb and flow with the industry, to set themselves up as and prove that they are and always have been one of the top dogs in the pop-punk scene. After 15 years together as a band and four years since their last New York City performance, The Maine returned to New York’s acclaimed Webster Hall for their XOXO Tour with Charlotte Sands and The Happy Fits supporting.
When I arrived at the venue, I was greeted by a sea of people ranging from high school to mid-30’s and most of them were wearing light up cowboy hats. Everyone was ready to yeehaw their way through the night and there was a sort of buzz of excitement and anticipating throughout the crowd before the show started. An hour and a half after doors opened, Charlotte Sands took to the stage. Just as the fatigue of waiting a long time started to hit, Charlotte zapped us all back to life. It was clear that Charlotte, herself, had many fans in the crowd that evening and I was in awe of her high energy performance and the way that she was feeding off the crowd. It’s been quite some time since I saw an opener who took such command of the stage and put 150% into their performance, treating it as their own headline show. Charlotte played a fantastic, high-energy set that was chock full of great tunes including fan favorites “Special” and “Dress”.
Up next was New Jersey indie rock trio, The Happy Fits. As they took to the stage, I couldn’t help but notice that lead singer, Calvin Langman, also played the cello. I can safely say this was my first time going to a non-classical music concert and seeing someone play the cello — extremely energetically, at that! Watching The Happy Fits perform felt like such a core memory moment for me. Their infectious smiles and tangible happiness were pouring from their faces and I couldn’t help but also feel that happiness. The Happy Fits made me nostalgic for my college years in the mid 2010’s, when bands like Magic Man, Smallpools, Walk the Moon (and even The Maine) were dominating this exact music genre. It was a moment of reassurance, that every single college age folk in that room, was experiencing the same things I did when I was in college, just a new generation. It truly warmed my heart!
Last but not least was the main act of the night — Tempe, Arizona’s finest, The Maine! Entering from stage left slowly, the band waved to the crowd as Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” blasted throughout the venue. Lead singer, John O’Callaghan grabbed the microphone with both hands and they immediately ripped into “Sticky” off their most recent album XOXO: From Love and Anxiety In Real Time. The floor beneath me was bouncing up and down so much so that it was quite the challenge to get pictures of the band. Guitarists Kennedy Brock and Jared Monaco were shredding it at opposing sides of the stage, while bassist Garrett Nickelsen floated across the stage from side to side.
The Maine gave it their all in their performance at Webster Hall. They offered fans a diverse range of songs during their setlist including “Am I Pretty?”, “Numb Without You”, “Face Towards the Sun” and “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu”. The highlight of the evening came when The Maine brought out Charlotte Sands and special guest, Adam Lazzara of Taking Back Sunday, to perform their most recently single “Loved You A Little”. It was such a treat to be able to see The Maine perform again after so many years away from New York City, and to be able to see a live performance with Charlotte and Adam was truly one for the books. The XOXO Tour is still in it’s early stages and I can assure that everyone in attendance at the tour is in for the night of their lives.