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Concert review: The Maine brings angst and partial nudity to Newport Music Hall

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The Technicolors, Knuckle Puck and Real Friends all preceded the main attraction last night at Newport Music Hall.

The Maine took the stage early, at around 9:15 p.m., standing before a suspended LED “M” and a modest, spray painted backdrop. But before I let you in on what went down last night, let me give you a refresher.

I’m about to take you back to Junior High when you were a little bit too emotional and wore a few too many jelly bracelets. This is around the time when The Maine was hitting their stride in the music scene. Now, eight years later, the band members take every opportunity to express their gratitude towards their dedicated following.

“Thanks for still allowing us to make music and actually giving a s— about what we do after all this time,” John O’Callaghan, front man of the band, told the crowd between songs.

Instead of touring to showcase the two albums and EP The Maine has released in the past two years, the band chose to play primarily from their arsenal of early fan favorites. They peppered in a few tracks from their newest album, “American Candy.”

This combination approach to touring trumps endorsing an entire album when on the road because bands like The Maine need to remind spectators why they fell in love with them and at the same time, hook the spectators on their new music to fuel the relationship.

Among these fan favorite were an up-tempo version of “Growing Up,” “Misery” and an acoustic version of “Into Your Arms.” The acoustic song provided a nice breather from the in-your-face delivery of most of the other songs throughout the night.

The crowd last night was small, small enough that the venue didn’t allow balcony access. Newport seemed even darker and dingier than it usually does and O’Callaghan described the atmosphere last night as “one of those lock- ins you had when you were in Girls Scouts.” If I remember anything from Girl Scouts, it was my utter hatred towards those sleepless nights at annual lock-ins.

Despite all these seemingly negative attributes to a concert experience, O’Callaghan was feeling especially good about the stop in Columbus last night. He admitted it several times.

He was fluttering around the stage with his boyish, child-like dance moves and conducting Q&A sessions with the audience — telling us to “Not drink all the milk in the world but eat all the vegetables.” This guy was full of surprises.

“I am on one tonight, Columbus!” he shouted into the mic.

O’Callaghan kept the trend going at the end of The Maine’s set by instructing a shirtless kid to take off his pants and bringing him up on stage. I looked disappointedly onto the husky, partially naked kid in black-rimmed glasses and knee-high black socks, hoping it would have been some insane person who was going to really give us a grand finale.

Much to my pleasure, this kid, Michael, turned out to be a real go-getter. He snatched the mic out of the stand and sang The Maine’s last song, “Right Girl,” nearly all by himself. As the song ended and the confetti began falling from the ceiling, O’Callaghan and a few other band members were shirtless and shirts from crowd members littered the stage.

I wasn’t really looking forward to this concert all that much other than to relive my junior high angst but thanks to the energy from O’Callaghan and guest star, Michael, it turned out to be a pretty fun night.

 

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