As a former pop-punk enthusiast, it seems as though all my once “favorite bands ever” fell off the radar or lost a member or two (or several) along the way. However, one of the few has survived and continues to deliver great music with each new album. That band just happens to be The Maine.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of seeing The Maine on their American Candy Tour at Syracuse’s The Lost Horizon. Honestly, it was a weird feeling going into this show. I hadn’t listened to The Maine’s last album, Forever Halloween, and I just began listening to American Candy a few weeks prior to the show. Basically this was a “why not?” moment of nostalgia.
The last time I saw The Maine was May 2010, exactly 5 years ago from this show at the same venue. I was getting ready to graduate high school and enter my freshman year of college, so obviously “Growing Up” from The Maine’s Black & White was in constant rotation. That show I actually got to meet John and have the Facebook profile picture to prove it.
Fast forward to now, I’m a college graduate with a “big girl job” and more “sophisticated” musical tastes (JK, I’m an avid Directioner), and walking into this venue for the first time in 5 years felt like a perpetual #throwbackthursday. I wasn’t aware of the headliners, The Technicolors, Knuckle Puck, and Real Friends, but I must say I was really impressed with the three of them! It was a little shocking to see how young they were (Knuckle Puck’s bassist was away at prom), but I found myself bobbing along to each of their songs. I was also impressed by their stage presence and how devoted their fan base was, especially being in Syracuse, New York. There’s no better feeling than seeing a group of people excited about their favorite line from a song.
Shortly after Real Friends left the stage the lights dimmed and a bright neon “M” starting pulsing towards the back. The Maine ran out, filled with excitement, and opened with their newest track, “Miles Away.” I couldn’t help but flashback to the band circa the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop days, with a sense of awe at how much they’ve changed over the years. The band has developed a more mature sound and American Candy has become an instant favorite.
In between songs John proved to be just as funny as I remember, chatting and laughing with the crowd and holding impromptu Q&A sessions. I think no matter how old I get it’s always funny, and refreshing, to see musicians act like normal people and relate to the audience.
The set list was stacked with songs both old and new, highlights including “Growing Up,” “Inside of You,” “My Heroine,” and title track “American Candy.” In the middle of the set, the band disappeared and only John and a guitar were left on stage. My friend and I gave each other a knowing glance and knew “Into Your Arms” was up next. The small venue, which disappointingly began to dissipate by this point, was filled with several little voices singing along to every word.
The band came back and played a few more songs before closing with “Right Girl.” This was such a great song to close with. Everyone was singing along and dancing and the show ended really strong. It’s amazing to think about how much these songs meant to me and how many memories they bring back, like the countless times Black & White was played on road trips.
Overall, The Maine put on a great show and I’m happy I got to take that trip down memory lane with them. What’s even more impressive is that they’ve not only managed to keep their original fan base hooked, but also captivated a new, younger group as well.
The US leg of the American Candy Tour ends May 20. Get more information on tour dates on their website, and be sure to listen to their fifth LP, American Candy.