The Maine fall into this category. They’ve been around for 10 years, and I've heard of them, but never listened. Bad on me because I was missing out on one of the truly remarkable American-made rock bands.
On April 7, The Maine released their 6th album, Lovely Little Lonely, and, as is the case with a new album cycle, it’s time to take the music to the people. On this cross-country trek, the Phoenix quintet have LA alt-rockers The Mowgli's and New England indie-popsicles Beach Weather as support.
Hitting the brand-spanking new House of Blues, which moved from its location in Disneyland to the Anaheim GardenWalk mall nearby, my buddy Andrew and I score a booth for some pseudo soul food. My soul has been cryin’ for Jambalaya. I look no further, that’s what I order. I’ve been eating at HOB for many, many years and a few things continue to ring true. Good size portions. Consistently well-prepared. And always over-seasoned WAY too much. I, like most living breathing beings in the 48 contiguous states, do not have a shortage of sodium in my bloodstream. I’m already salty enough as it is. And now the level of my atomic number 11 makes me feel like the devil.
Red hot. I’m starting to sweat. From eating. That ain’t right. I should be sweating from dancing. That’s up next.
Kicking off the evening is the cinnamon sun of Beach Weather, who I saw several times last winter while they were on tour with Against The Current. Led by singer/guitarist Nick Santino, who used to front a band called A Rocket To The Moon, and who’s been friends with The Maine since forever, they opened with one of my favorites, “Someone’s Disaster.” From there, they amped up the crowd with fan favorites, “Home Movies,” and "Chit Chat,” before closing with the sultry catharsis of “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” The room erupts with applause. Beach Weather just keep getting better and better. Falling in and out of symmetry with the onsite kitchen, they, once again, delivered good size portions of hearty fare, consistently cooked to perfection and, in this case, imbuing the audience with the exact amount of spice to make everyone feel nice.
Next up, were The Mowgli’s, who took the energy level up a notch with their expertly-crafted sing-alongs. With dueling vocals from guitarist/singer Josh Hogan and singer/percussionist Katie Earl (who are engaged to be married), their resplendent harmonic flower-power induced the sold-out crowd into vibey ecstatic synchronicity, swaying to the waves of “I’m Good,” "Whatever Forever,” “Say It, Just Say It,” and the rousing “I’m in love with love” refrain of “San Francisco.”
1969 never sounded so 2017.
Wait for it. Wait for it.
Next up was the main attraction.
Blasting onto the stage with the glistening exuberance of “Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu,” The Maine took full command of the audience, which included Halsey, with some gal pals, and Rena Lovelis from Hey Violet.
Gregarious frontman John O’Callaghan recently explained the song’s genesis, “It's for the moments, places, or persons that somehow turn your tongue to stone. Those times when words truly do not possess the power to adequately paint the subject. For me, this was written for an instance when the world was made clear to me for only an instant. When trouble faded into wonder, and I had absolutely no use for the 26 letters I know.”
I’ve been obsessed with BB&DV. Its sentiment slays me.
Other highlights included my other new jam, “(Un)lost,” from their brilliant 2015 album American Candy, “Take What You Can Carry,” from the equally magnificent 2013 masterpiece Forever Halloween, “Girls Do What They Want” and “Another Night on Mars” (have you ever been to The Mars Hotel? It’s post past modern, boutiquey mashed with hippie!).
Lovely Little Lonely comes on the heels of the band's 10-year anniversary, which they celebrated the only way they knew how - by throwing their own festival, "8123 Fest." The record is also the first they are releasing entirely independently, on their own label, Eighty One Twenty Three, which is also home to Beach Weather and The Technicolors.
As someone who celebrates the intrinsic beauty, and meaning, of numbers in our lives, the digits 8 (which represents “Infinity"), 1 (which represents “One Love,” aka Universal love and respect expressed by all people for all people, regardless of race, creed, or color), and 23 speak to me.
8+1+2+3 = 14 and 81+23 = 104. 14+104 = 118. 1+1+8 = 10.After 10 years of being a wallflower, I never knew The Maine were something I'd want, something I'd need.
Music, in the tenth dimension, is my heroine, once again.
After all this time, I‘m still into you.
2. My Heroine
3. Right Girl
4. Am I Pretty?
5. Do You Remember? (The Other Half of 23)
6. Diet Soda Society
8. Lost in Nostalgia
9. Bad Behavior
10. English Girls
11. Take What You Can Carry
12. Girls Do What They Want
13. Another Night on Mars
4/18 - St. Petersburg, FL - State Theatre
4/19 - Lake Buena Vista, FL - House of Blues
4/21 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade
4/22 - Birmingham, AL - WorkPlayTheatre
4/24 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
4/25 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre
4/27 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
4/28 - Boston, MA - Royale Boston
4/29 - Montville, CT - Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Resort
4/30 - Asbury Park, NJ - The Stone Pony
5/02 - Philadelphia, PA - The TLA
5/03 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
5/05 - Pontiac, MI - Crofoot Ballroom
5/06 - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
5/07 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave
5/08 - Minneapolis, MN - Skyway Theatre
Photos by Andrew Phares