Shows in London are always known to be particularly special; due to it often being where the last date of a tour is held, the fact that it’s the capital city or that it hosts shows that generally have the most attendance on an entire tour. So when The Maine took to the Electric Ballroom in Camden on Thursday for the 8123 Tour there was no doubt that it was going to be a spectacular show for both the artists performing and the crowds who got to watch, even though the band had two other shows in Bristol and Nottingham respectively on following days.
Nick Santino, ex-vocalist of A Rocket To The Moon and now accomplished solo artist, graced the audience with his presence first, bringing just an acoustic guitar along for the ride. Santino’s solo music is a far cry from the records that A Rocket To The Moon put out in their career, but it was clear that older fans didn’t need much convincing to switch on to his new material by the way that the crowd reacted when he began playing. Sweet melodies and thoughtful lyrics put together with that wonderful country music sound had Santino as a hit in front of the London crowd, and it was clear that he was all talent from the fact that he didn’t have anything to entertain (or distract) the audience other than himself.
Arizona indie rockers Lydia were next up on the bill, and they put on one hell of a show in support of their 2013 record, Devil. The whole idea of a support band is to get the crowd energized and excited for the headlining band and Lydia did just that as they performed at their first ever show in London. A lot of the crowd seemed to be already familiar with them, screaming the lyrics back as they rolled off vocalist Leighton Antelman’s tongue. The occasional older fan was likely impressed too, as the band played tracks from their older records such as ‘This Is Twice Now’ and ‘Best Nights’. Overall, Lydia laid down a great set, preparing the seemingly huge crowd for the stars of the evening.
The Maine are drawing their album cycle for 2013’s Forever Halloween, which had a deluxe edition put out earlier this year, to a close and this tour is their last appearance across the UK for what looks to be some time while they work on a new record. In what was definitely a spectacular exit, the Arizona quintet treated the audience to songs from the album, as well as from their previous records, Black & White, Pioneer and even from their 2008 debut that made many of them the fans that were there on Thursday; Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop.
There was no dramatic entrance for the band as that has never been their style, but the crowd went crazy all the same as the five members of the band rocked up on to the stage in front of a simple back backdrop covered in white M’s. It was clear that many fans had been waiting for what seemed like forever for that very moment, from the fact that their vocals sometimes overpowered that of lead singer John O’Callaghan, even with his use of a microphone. Many of the girls down the front of the crowd had been to every show on the tour, swearing their loyalty to the band without having to say a word.
A particularly strange moment of the evening came in the form of a “new song” that the band came up with right there and then, entitled ‘Let’s Eat Grandma’. In their attempt to sound “punk”, they rocked out as O’Callaghan screamed out nonsense lyrics, which had its desired effect as the audience was in stitches.
The Maine’s way to go is definitely by entertainment, cracking jokes between songs and generally just having a good time, which definitely transferred its way in to the audience. There’s no doubt that beyond being five guys in a band, they are five best friends who respect each other as both people and musicians, and that is exactly how they’ve lasted so long together as a unit.