Lions shake their manes to The Maine

By Brielle Bryan
Production Manager

John O’Callaghan, lead singer of The Maine, said he would rather “poop his pants” than talk politics. Luckily for the audience, he talked about everything but. Even if he had, it wouldn’t have stopped him from dancing wildly across the stage and encouraging more than 500 students to let loose after a long winter break.

The lively band graced Kendall Hall’s Main Stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, a week after performing at its 10th anniversary music festival, 8123 Fest, in The Maine’s hometown of Phoenix.     

Warming up the students for the main act was the up-and-coming band Public. The lead singer, John Vaughn, electrified the audience and charmed the ladies with an original song called “Perfect.”

“He winked at us,” said Molly Meagher, a junior English and secondary education dual major, with a smile. “They seemed really fun and just happy to be here.”

Vaughn said in an interview with The Signal that he had a blast playing at the College and was looking forward to playing at other universities.

Public opens the show with a set of rock songs. (Photo by Kim Ilkowski)

As Public exited the stage, the crowd of students eagerly waited for The Maine — O’Callaghan, Jared Monaco, Kennedy Brock, Pat Kirch and Garrett Nickelsen — to perform their set.

O’Callaghan took over the stage from the first song, “We All Roll Along,” which came from The Maine’s first full album, “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.”

O’Callaghan loosened up the audience by encouraging them to dance and sing along, so they could forget about the pressures of school and focus on having a good time.

“It was my first time seeing them, and they were so amazing — I was crying,” said Andrea Palermo, a senior elementary education and iSTEM double major.

To further break the students out of their shells, O’Callaghan interacted with them by taking questions from the audience. One student asked what O’Callaghan had for dinner, and he answered that he had a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup from Panera Bread.

        By being relatable, O’Callaghan was able to keep the audience — even those who didn’t know the music too well  — engaged and entertained.

        “I’ve only listened to The Maine once or twice,” said Eric Branchek, a freshman computer engineering major. “Even though I don’t know them, they were awesome.”

        While playing “Girls Do What They Want,” O’Callaghan called Branchek onto the stage to sing two lines from the song. At first they sang the words together, and then Branchek grabbed the microphone and sang it solo a few times.

        O’Callaghan looked out at the audience and asked what upperclassman girl at the College would want to date Branchek.

A girl named Sammy raised her hand.

O’Callaghan told her he would show up at their wedding if things worked out and say, “I made that happen.”

O’Callaghan of The Maine jokes around with the audience. (Kimberly Ilkowski)

        The Maine played songs from several of its albums, such as “Right Girl” from the second full-length album, “Black and White.”

“Misery” and “Like We Did (Windows Down)” were just a few of the songs that they played from the third album, “Pioneer,” which was the first to be released independently.

The band also performed “English Girls,” a popular song from the fifth studio album, “American Candy.”

O’Callaghan said there was a lot the band enjoyed about “American Candy” that they implemented into the newest record, “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” the sixth studio album that is scheduled for release on April 7.

“I think the biggest focus on this record for us artistically was to create a seamless record from start to finish,” O’Callaghan said in an interview with Lion’s Television.

Regarding songwriting, O’Callaghan compared it to an incubation process. He said that he sat around a computer with the other band members, thinking of ideas of a shell of a song.

“We incubated it, sat on it and then those eggs hatched,” O’Callaghan said.

The Maine’s world tour for “Lovely, Little, Lonely” begins at the end of April. In the meantime, the band gave fans a taste of what’s to come by playing a song from the newest album called “Bad Behavior.”

The band, whose members have been playing together since 2007, had a lot of chemistry on and off stage.

“It’s kind of nice to constantly be reminded of how long we’ve been together and how many changes we’ve seen not only in ourselves, but in our fans,” Monaco, the lead guitarist, said in an interview with Lions Television.

Bassist Nickelsen and drummer Kirch started the band when they were still in high school.

“Momentum is everything,” Kirch said in an interview with The Signal. “Once you get going, you just keep on playing, and we haven’t taken a break in 10 years.”

Nickelsen swaggers around the stage while precisely playing his bass guitar. (Kimberly Ilkowski)

To most of the audience’s surprise, Nickelsen defied everyone’s expectations of a typical bassist by dancing across the stage during the whole show all while managing to play phenomenally.

Nickelsen’s talent and dedication indicated how the band didn’t get to where it is today without hard work.

“There’s something to be said for getting your hands dirty,” O’Callaghan said in an interview with The Signal. “I believe society is breeding this idea of instant gratification — you don’t want to put in the work to see the result.”

All of the band members agreed that they did a lot of the work on their own in order to get the opportunity to go on tours and play their music. They agreed that playing their music has given them the chance to see the world and grow up together, too.

        O’Callaghan imparted some words of advice to The Signal for aspiring bands: “Do it because you want to. Because it makes you feel good. Because it makes you happy.”