A band called The Maine from Phoenix, Arizona had a tour stop in Portland, Oregon where the weather was 50 degrees, the floor to the venue moved with every jump and the crowd screamed every word to every song with everything they had in them. The show was a two band bill, the opening act was an up and coming pop alternative band called Twin XL from Los Angeles, California. Their set gave an electric, ‘get lost in yourself’ feel which provided a great base for what was about to come next. Twin XL consists of the Go Bros, John and Stephen Gomez on guitar and bass, Cameron Walker as lead vocals and with fill in for drums, Brennan Benko. They brought everything they had and left it all on the stage.
John Gomez, Brennan Benko, Cameron Walker and Stephen Gomez
Once their set was over, it was time to set the stage for the band with the most chaotic front man; The Maine. The set began with a video montage about stepping into the mirror and facing the parts of yourself that you attempt to avoid. The Maine articulates the sense of being and becoming aware of the person you are and everything that you embody. They do it in a manner that doesn’t patronize you and forcing you into following their lead, they do it in a manner that allows you to reflect onto yourself and allows you to shape yourself into the being that you know you can be and potentially want to be. And that is exactly what they did during their show on November 23, 2019 in Portland, OR. They allowed for the crowd to be free of anything outside of the walls that surrounded them. There was a sense of unity and familiarity as if we all knew each other and were a group of friends gathered around to sing songs into the night. At the beginning of the set John O’Callaghan (lead singer) was saying how when he was going “poo-poo” in the basement bathroom, he could feel the energy of the crowd since the floorboards shook every time there was heavy movement. While sharing probably unnecessary statements like taking a poo-poo, he took the time to acknowledge the hearts and souls being vulnerable and the emotions that erupted throughout the entire building, including the basement bathroom.
John O’Callaghan during his acoustic bit
As chaotic as this man may be, he has made so many feel as though they belong in this sacred space that is music and art. It doesn’t just stop at John, it continues throughout Kennedy Brock (Guitar), Jared Monaco (Guitar), Garrett Nickelsen (Bass), and Pat Kirch (Drums). They embody the essence of unity. The entire show was a whirlwind of emotions, balancing between happy and tearful as the lyrics to the songs were screamed at the top of people’s lungs, as the floorboards shook with the tension of people jumping from side to side, back to front. There was a point in the show where I crowd surfed during ‘Black Butterflies and Deja Vu”, in that moment going from hand to hand, person to person all while being led up to the front, I felt a sense of happiness and raw emotion that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was refreshing at the end to have done the homie handshake with John while security was leading me back into the crowd. It was songs like (Un)Lost, Black Butterflies and Deja Vu, Flowers on the Grave, Heaven We’re Already Here, Am I Pretty?, Fucked Up Kids and many more. The Mirror Tour is one combines the last thirteen years of The Maine as a whole, it encapsulates the growth within the music, the members and the fan base. The weeks leading up to seeing them, my mental health was at one of its lowest points and I just felt defeated but the moment I stepped into the venue and the moment the music started playing, I felt at home. I felt at peace. That is what The Maine encapsulates; home and peace. Allowing you to feel like the entire puzzle rather than just a simple piece. If you’re debating on ever seeing a show being put on by The Maine, I urge you to do it. You won’t be disappointed.