By Madison Kazar
“Music” and “free,” arguably two of the best words in the English language, came together at The Maine’s Free For All Tour Friday, Sept. 18 at St.Petersburg’s Jannus Live. The Maine, accompanied by local punk band Airsickness and Nick Santino’s Indie rock Beach Weather, delivered an evening jam packed with sick guitar and the tightest of skinny jeans.
Brightly colored hair and black hoodies scattered the audience. Despite the perpetual oven that is Florida, everyone was bundled in darkly colored winter wear. Equipped with their beanies and band t-shirts, the crowd was audibly ecstatic to witness the ensemble of pop-punk that was awaiting them.
Fueling the aesthetic with their black attire and ripped jeans, Airsickness took the stage to perform their album Between All the Lies, which they released earlier this year. The St.Pete locals possessed extremely high energy with their head-banging tunes and long hair shielding their faces. Their sound, akin to that of Forever the Sickest Kids, brought back nostalgic memories from the good ole’ middle school days. Ending their set with “Faking Smiles,” Airsickness set the tone for a night that would surely be an exciting one.
If you are at all familiar with the pop-punk scene that was 2007-2009, then A Rocket to the Moon was most likely on your MP3 player and probably the ringtone on your Razor cell phone. Nick Santino, the lead singer of A Rocket to the Moon, pursued a solo career in 2014. After a solid year of being a solo artist and two albums later, Santino decided to head back to the band life and hit the studio with Beach Weather. Beach Weather’s album What a Drag released on Aug. 28 this year and set a new and more mature sound for Santino.
A group of teens sporting A Rocket to the Moon tees expressed their disappointment in not hearing any of his previous works during his set, but it was apparent that the musician was starting fresh with a new, mellow and much more ‘indie’ sound. The band exhibited a California vibe with lyrics like “she left me like the wind with her gypsy soul” that were reminiscent of the ‘70s, an aesthetic that was brought home by their flared jeans.
What a Drag is certainly a collection of songs that you can roll your windows down and listen to on the way to the beach. Paired with the soundtrack of seagulls and waves crashing on the shore, Beach Weather, an entirely different sound for Santino, was welcomed by the crowd of screaming fans.
The lights dimmed and the crowd gasped when Arizona natives, The Maine, took the stage. They started off the night with their fan favorite single “English Girls” from their newly released album American Candy: which carried a more alternative feel in comparison to their earlier pop-punk vibe.
The band played a medley of songs off all of their albums dating back to 2007. John O’Callaghan, the tall, blonde, tattooed, lead singer possessed an extremely crowd-oriented performance, involving the audience members in every song: even bringing up an eager audience member to assist him in performing the song “Right Girl” off of 2010’s Black & White.
In a salute to the ‘90s, The Maine performed an acoustic version of the iconic Backstreet Boys’ “As Long As You Love Me,” that faded into the crowd favorite “Whoever She Is” off of 2009’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.
Stepping off of the stage and singing into the sweaty and screaming faces in the front row, O’Callaghan continued feeding off of the crowd’s high energy and ended the night with “Another Night In Mars” off of their American Candy album.
If it wasn’t evident how much The Maine adores their fans based on the fact that they went on an entirely free tour, the band waited outside the venue taking pictures and getting to know fans after the show. Going the extra step each member waited around discussing hobbies, signing autographs and got to know each person. They proved that a real connection can be made through a mutual love of music.
Madison Kazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.