Building Street Cred
A few weeks ago, Saturday, June 22, to be exact, I went and saw The Maine at the Bottom Lounge. Before I jump right in with the concert, of course, I need to build up my credentials, so you know that I’m talking about is legit. My college roommate introduced me to The Maine about three years ago. Last year, we took a little journey to The Rave in Wisconsin to behold all that is The Maine. I went that first time having not really been familiar with the band or their music. I knew their genre, but couldn’t sing every single word of every single song. My roommate could. She’s such a big fan, so big that her wedding song is one of theirs. So, let’s just say she was the perfect person to see them with (on top of that, she’s interviewed the lead singer multiple times for her blog). She prepared me with music when I left that first concert. Since then I have listened to all their music and have gained a crush on John O’Callaghan (lead singer of The Maine). And yes, I did have a countdown going until the very day.
The Bottom Lounge
This is the first concert I’ve been to at the Bottom Lounge, so I’ll review the venue as well. The first and most obvious observation is that it is attached to a bar. You go through a bar to get to the back room where the stage is. After getting a drink wristband, and through the doors, we stopped at a bar and got ourselves a pre-concert cocktail. The venue overall is very intimate. You could stand anywhere and still have a close view of the band. It wasn’t super dirty and there was air movement, more than the Rave (if you’ve been to either, this is a reference for you). Walking to the other side of the venue I had to complete my pre-concert ritual by getting a concert T-shirt. Just in case people didn’t believe me.
We didn’t get there early enough to listen to all of the bands. We caught the last few songs of Brighten. They seemed pretty mellow, but then again, we didn’t get to hear their whole set list. Also opening for the pop-rock band was This Century and Rocket To The Moon. Yes, I got to see the last time they’ll play in Chicago. It might have been more exciting for me had I known who they were. If you don’t know who they (either of them) are or what genre they’re in, (welcome to the club) they’re pop-rock. Both of them came out with insane excitement and acted like they were the main event. They played like it was a full house in an arena. Just what I like in seeing live bands.
The Maine Event
Yes, I used a pun (har har). The background “M” was lit up and flashed in sync to the music and the mood of the songs. An amazing set list. They played from all their albums, from Forever Halloween to their EP. They got the crowd involved by allowing them to ask questions. At one point, and probably the most fun, O’Callaghan parts the crowd and asked them to not get crazy, to stay in their own space and to not knock anyone over. He then comes down and gets right in the middle of the crowd. Again he asks the same thing, for everyone’s safety. And, of course, as soon as he starts singing, people jump all over the place and push and border-line mosh. It was pretty crazy and pretty awesome. During “Four Little Words” it got sentimental.
Dos and Donts
Like always, people break the concert rules. So, I’ll keep it short to avoid sounding like an old “my way or the highway” grandma.
- If you have fuzzy, or curly or wavy hair, it is going to get bigger in a humid situation like close quarters of a concert crowd. That being said, don’t flip your hair around to get it off your neck. There are other people around you and you’re flipping it in their face or getting it stuck with the stranger’s sweat.
- Everyone wants to remember being at the concert and showing off just how close they were to the stage. So, pictures are a way that many people go about this. Don’t lean back with you take a picture. See above.
- Recording a song. Don’t do it. Enjoy the show.
The After Show
The girl I went with has had several encounters with the Maine, having interviewed them a couple of times before shows and before album releases. We chilled at the attached bar waiting and hoping the Maine came out and hung out for a bit. In our time waiting, my old roommate spotted Dirk, the photographer for the band. She went to talk to him about his work and about the pending internship. Time passed. Drinks were drunk. And we sat. Many fans left the bar after having waited several hours. The crowd has vanished from the front of the bar. And here we sat. We decided to leave if they didn’t show up by midnight. (The show started at 7:30, ended at about 10, and we waited for 2 hours.) We’re about to call it quits when we look over and see them sitting at a table just right over there. Of course we both want to talk to him, but don’t want to seem like fan girls and scare him away. So, we wait.
He stands up and we make our move. Pretending we’re heading out, my girl waves at O’Callaghan and they get to talking. She introduces me and he goes in for a hand shake, when I ask for a hug. Granted. We talk for a bit and say our good-byes. Another hug. Success. Outside the venue we talk with one of the guitarists, Jared Monaco. Hugs all around.
Everything I Ask For
It was that. I had a great time. Concerts aren’t just about the music that they play. Yes, it could be an earth-shattering version of “Free Bird,” but what we remember is everything that comes with concerts. It’s what makes your experience memorable. So, while I did not record any part of the show, I got to see the Maine, and I got to hug two members twice. So, if you ever get the chance to see the Maine, do it. You’ll have stories to tell and memories made.