While most of the Halloween weekend is filled with parties and Halloween festivities, a pair of young bands on the rise arrives for no-nonsense co-headline show at Cain's Ballroom this Sunday night, Oct. 31, as Never Shout Never and The Maine bring their show to Tulsa. Normally, you might expect a bill like this to play a smaller room like the Marquee, but as both bands continue to grow, the tour call for a larger room and a circumstances would have it, the show gives the young concert audience a great alternative on Halloween night.
Last week, I was able to catch up with Jared Monaco, guitarist for The Maine to discuss the band, the tour and what lies ahead. When listening to the band's sophomore album and major label debut, Black & White, I found an incredibly focused package of pop-rock songs that belies the band's age. I knew these guys were young, but wasn't aware of how young, making the disc even more impressive.
"We've been a band for almost four years now, but when we started it was kind if difficult because Pat and Garrett (drummer Pat Kirch and bassist Garrett Nickelson) were still in high school, so we didn't have the opportunity to tour," Monaco said. As a result, the band relied heavily on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook to not only spread the music, but keep in touch with fans, which was crucial to the band's growth, even when somewhat stifled by the circumstances.
Nevertheless, the band signed a deal with Fearless Records and released the five-song EP, The Way We Walk, and landed a spot on the Vans Warped tour during the summer of 2008. The band's debut disc, Can't Stop Won't Stop, built on that momentum and peaked at number 40 on the Billboard album charts, drawing major label attention from Warner Brothers.
That makes the new album even more impressive, as the band sounds far more mature than many bands their age. Songs such as "Right Girl" and "Inside of You" build upon the group's power pop background and leave them standing strong next to peers such as The Academy Is, Boys Like Girls and Jimmy Eats World. In reality, the band sounds even more mature than most bands in their stratosphere, such as The Ready Set, Mayday Parade and A Rocket to the Moon.
When asked how moving to a major label effected the songwriting process, Monaco admitted that there was some pressure, knowing that the label would want at least a pair of singles, but said, "As a band, we were more concerned with what can we do to make this a complete album?"
"At this point, I feel like most of our fans are so loyal that they'll follow us wherever we go, stylistically, so this was really more about pushing our limits," he said. "If we came up with singles, that's nice, but it wasn't our main goal."
After preparing for the band's major label debut, the group came to the table with roughly 45 demos, of which Monaco said, "The hardest part was narrowing it down to 10 or 12 really good songs. After that, we spent our time making those the best they could be and waiting to see what would pop out as a potential single."
The resulting album hits its marks in being incredibly consistent and having a number of potential singles, such as "Give It To Me" that could eventually see The Maine paired up with bands like All American Rejects. For now, however, The Maine is growing into a larger audience and larger venues, moving up from The Marquee on previous appearances to Cain's Ballroom packaged with Never Shout Never, another popular upstart.
When I spoke with Monaco, The Maine had just returned from a two-week run in the UK and was only three shows into the current U.S. tour, but response had already proven to be warm as audiences embraced the new material and the group's high energy live show.
"The album just came out three or four months ago, so we're just now really getting into the swing of things," Monaco said. "Technically, our set is only 45 minutes, so we're not really a true co-headliner, although we squeeze as many songs as possible in and usually get to play nine or ten."
Even so, the buzz for this show has as many people talking about The Maine as true headliner Never Shout Never, making it one of the most buzzed about shows of the fall from the younger, high school and early college set.
When I mentioned this to Monaco, he laughed in appreciation and said, "Tulsa has always been a great audience for us." And even though this isn't being billed as a special Halloween show, when I mentioned the night the show fell on, he laughed that it will be a good night to see them.
"The kids can definitely expect a different performance form us that night," he said. "We love getting dressed up, so it will definitely be a unique set and cool for our fans that get to see the more loose, fun side of out band."
Even without the standard hoopla of costume contests of Halloween parties, Sunday evening's show still promises to throw in a few surprises. More importantly, however, it will be a full night of music with a couple of hot young bands, Never Shout Never and The Maine splitting the bill, along with openers I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business and Carter Hulsey. Tickets are $20.50 in advance or $23 at the show and doors open at 5:30pm for the 6:30pm show. With four bands, it will be a full night of power pop with The Maine and Never Shout Never both making their cases for being one of this year's hottest rising pop/rock acts.
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