Taking a week off from late night shopping, fans clad in glitter and other incredible get-ups made their way to Sydney’s Metro Theatre. After the release of their seventh studio album in You Are OK, Arizona’s The Maine were here to celebrate the release with their Australian fans, giving them the opportunity to hear the album’s songs live for the first time.
Opening proceedings, Sydney’s Sinclaire felt like the perfect fit for the show. Armed with pop-fuelled alt-rock hits, the four-piece were lively and resolute, bursting through a performance of their debut EP Now I’m Ready to Start while debuting a new song and including a phenomenal cover of Bag Raiders’ “Shooting Stars”. Cross’ dreamy vocals combined perfectly with the ethereal sounds of the keyboard, truly hitting the set for a home run. After waiting a long time to finally see Sinclaire, I didn’t leave disappointed.
In what was almost a complete 180, the night’s main support in Down For Tomorrow took to the stage next. Pushing through a set of strong Australian punk, the strained and gusty vocals of frontman Cody Stebbings were a far cry from the almost angelic vocals of the previous set. Yet, if you’re looking for a band to get your crowd pumped, there’s few better than this four-piece. It’s high energy and high intensity, and while showcasing their recent EP, Thanks To You, there’s no doubt they had the crowd warmed up. With a few keen fans singing along it was clear the crowd were excited, but as the set ended we all knew who everyone was here to see.
With a banner strewn across the back of the stage stating, “You are watching a band called The Maine”, lights dimmed and smoke surged over the stage to the raucous applause and cheers of all within the venue. A packed floor gushed forward as straggling crowd members quickly made it into the room as the six members came onto the stage, all clad in white, like angels from above to bless us on this night.
Introducing themselves as The Maine (in case we weren’t sure where we were), the band broke into “Slip The Noose” and the crowd took no time whatsoever to scream the words back into the faces of O’Callaghan and company. From that point on the precedent was set while the band ruled with an iron fist, never once allowing the intensity of the set to drop whatsoever.
From the set’s opening moments, it’s simple to see the capabilities of a band like The Maine. It should go without saying that bands should be fully adept at playing their own music, yet they just take it to a whole new level. Like a well-oiled machine, every member knows exactly where they should be and what they should be doing when it happens. It comes as no surprise that this band has been kicking for over a decade now because the remarkability of their set is a product of that.
As tipsy and sober punters alike got down together, miniature mosh pits opened, giving room for attendees to do everything from dance, push, and scull their drinks – much to the amusement of O’Callaghan who more than once called upon fans to finish their drinks. Standing above the crowded dance floor, The Maine seemed like conductors in the way that they seemed to so easily take control of the crowd as they blasted through a career-spanning set that left both new and old fans undeniably satisfied, evidenced by the boisterous ovations the band received as each song finished and the next began.
Basked in red, green, white, and orange light The Maine plied their trade, with O’Callaghan the centre focus of the set’s oomph and energy. Yet, if you could peel your eyes from the charming frontman for just a second, you might witness that the same could easily be said of the entire band. They are unquestionably enchanting as a unit, with a performance that could be entirely summed up using the words ‘effortlessly cool’.
With nothing to prove, but everything to give, the band belted through their set with neither The Maine or their fans yielding any intensity. And even when I thought the set was peaking, nothing could prepare me, or anyone else for what was to come as the set began to end. Seemingly saving their biggest hits till the end, the band flew through crowd favourites like a blur giving no time to reprieve for fans who were kept off their feet during each song. After bringing a lucky fan on stage to sing “Taxi” alongside them, the crowd were given hits “Black Butterflies…” and “Bad Behaviour”, in what was an exhilarating ten minutes of live music.
Ending the night on what is possibly the best song ever in “Another Night on Mars”, O’Callaghan requested that everyone sing along while holding those within reach. As an entire audience swayed side to side together screaming “this one goes out to my closest friends” we were all left resonating the thought that together, we are OK.