By Rachel A.G. Gilman
Despite the rain Thursday, Oct. 23, about 500 fans stood outside Gramercy Theatre to see The Maine’s sold-out, final show in New York for the year, an event to bid adieu to the band’s 2013 album “Forever Halloween,” before they venture out west to record a new record in 2015.
Washington, D.C. indie-rock band U.S. Royalty opened, a group that members of the crowd either could sing along with or had never heard of. Though lead singer John Thornley spoke very little throughout their half-hour set, it added to the band’s serious rocker stage presence, giving off a Kings of Leon vibe with their long hair and slight southern drawls. Their set was composed of tracks from their two self-released albums, including “Vacation Vacation” and “Equestrian” from their debut “Mirrors,” and their most recent single, “More to This.”
When The Maine took to the stage, the crowd was buzzing with excitement, bursting into song as the band, appropriately, opened with the first track off “Forever Halloween,” “Take What You Can Carry.” The set was composed of about ten songs from said album, including new concert staples “Love & Drugs” and “F***ed Up Kids,” and ten songs from their other three albums, such as “Right Girl,” “We All Roll Along,” and “Like We Did (Windows Down).”
As usual, The Maine gave a strong performance, unafraid to let loose and be genuine. Front man John O’Callaghan encouraged the crowd to dance, doing so himself during “Some Days,” and continually commented on the “good vibes” from everyone.
Bassist Garret Nickelsen joked with the crowd and took a letter from a girl who passed it up to him. O’Callaghan especially expressed his gratitude and concern for everyone’s happiness, even the parents who were mainly seated in the back of the venue. His ongoing mantra throughout the show was being in the now and doing what makes you happy, shown when he asked everyone to put their phones away before they sang their 2010 single, “Growing Up.”
The band’s performance truly embodied his idea of being alive and accomplishing anything you are passionate about, giving every single song their all to properly say goodbye to “Forever Halloween.”
From start to finish, the band had an engaging stage presence, speaking with the crowd and inducing powerful sing-a-longs, all without the typical punk-rock techniques of crowd surfing and moshing.
Instead, The Maine mixed kindness and comedy into their banter with the audience between songs. The group did not spare in sharing their thankfulness for their fans for the past seven years, especially since 2011 when the band made the switch to self-producing their records with the help of 8123 Management.
They ended the concert by meeting everyone in the basement of and outside the venue. In a world where many groups charge for meet and greets, it’s refreshing to see a group of five, twenty-something year old guys, be so real. Though the “Forever Halloween” chapter has closed for The Maine, it’s highly likely that what they have in store next for fans will be just as successful and passion-driven, if not more.
Rachel A.G. Gilman is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org