By Lindsey Gonzalez
Following the release of American Candy in March, The Maine traveled across the globe sharing their new tunes with excited fans in North America, Brazil, Chile, and Indonesia. Now, they’re back in the States and nearing the end of two tours, one with free shows and another with dates during which they play American Candy from start to finish.
All the while, energy and enthusiasm for their new music abounds. Fans are growing in number as American Candy is shared. Old listeners are embracing the familiar pop songs they fell in love with on albums like Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. After two albums and years of touring under the guise of an alternative rock band, it seems the choice to return to pop has made all the difference.
“In reality, I think we’ve always been a pop band,” frontman John O’Callaghan told Five Cent Sound. “Maybe we were just good at disguising it a bit more in the past. For whatever reason, I think we were embarrassed to admit that, but I think we let go of labeling shit and just produced what felt right on American Candy. Hopefully, this record exudes the positive energy we were feeling, and if that’s felt, we accomplished what we set out to.”
When attending one of their shows, it’s no question that this positivity is infectious. Concerts are selling out with crowds shouting every word to new favorites like “English Girls” and perhaps the most embraced song off the record, “Another Night On Mars.” The tune is largely reminiscent of the anthem “We’ll All Be…” from the band’s first record. The American Candy dates mark the first time this song has been played live. During its performance, O’Callaghan climbs into the crowd with a microphone and a guitar, as fans surround him, chanting the lyrics with raised arms.
“I certainly didn’t set out to recreate anything from earlier albums,” said O’Callaghan, “but after sitting with all the tunes, [“Another Night On Mars”] just felt like the closer. People have definitely expressed their love for the tune, which feels so radical.”
Having been a band for eight years, The Maine decided it was time to say thank you for all the love they’ve received. The idea to headline a free tour was first presented by their manager, Tim Kirch. For years, the band toyed with the logistics of turning this dream into reality. “We wanted to do more than just vocalize our appreciation to the ladies and gentlemen that have supported us in any way,” said O’Callaghan.
Eventually, it all came together with those O’Callaghan credited as “some extraordinary cats out on the road helping us turn the wheels and make these shows happen.” On this tour, The Maine is joined by 8123 newcomers Beach Weather, who formed in August under the direction of lead singer Nick Santino.
“For us, [the Free For All tour] is an opportunity to possibly convince some to come out and see a show that have yet to. Above all else, this is our way of saying thank you.” While on the road, O’Callaghan hopes to see “new and old faces alike strewn about in a crowd of people who dig music.”
The American Candy dates sprinkled throughout the free shows are similar to previous tours like Farewell, Forever Halloween, which acted as an homage to nearly two years of tours under Forever Halloween. But this marks the first time they’ve played a record in its entirety.
“It’s a way to push ourselves as a band to revisit and realize the works that we put so much into,” said O’Callaghan. “We’re rather proud of what we’ve created with American Candy and want to share that energy in person.”
O’Callaghan also expressed his love for playing new songs off the record, saying, “[I’m] stoked to be vibrating with my guys the way we are.”
In the coming months, it’s possible that fans may even get to attend more of these kinds of shows. O’Callaghan said, “We’ve been joking about playing our first record from start to finish intoxicated for it’s ninth birthday. We’ll see.”
2015 has proven the year of American Candy, with positive energy following The Maine wherever they go. Let’s hope the good vibes bleed into 2016!