Live: THE MAINE // O2 Forum Kentish Town, London
Step into The Mirror, the beautiful visual portrayal of the ‘You Are OK’ era.
“Life is crazy, life is beautiful, life is worth living for”, The Maine‘s frontman John O’Callaghan addresses the ecstatic crowd halfway through the set, and you can’t help but feel the warmth radiating from every single person in the room. With sunflowers scattered across the venue, tonight feels truly special as the band brings The Mirror experience to this side of the Atlantic.
Full of hope and empowerment, their latest album, You Are OK, is a celebration of vulnerability and fragility of life, finding the listeners on the path to discovering their self-worth. With an impressive aesthetic taste, The Mirror further expands on this concept. From joy to sadness, tackling everything in between, it is an immersive adventure that explores the wide spectrum of human emotions, all whilst taking us on a wild ride spanning a 13 years’ worth of discography.
With interjacent video interludes, flickering between John’s poetic narrative and the clips featuring the band looking at their reflections in the mirror, we are treated to an attention-grabbing spectacle.
From the high-powered openers Slip The Noose and My Best Habit, The Maine set a fast-paced tone from the get-go. Masterfully balancing between old and new, the show is jam-packed with heartfelt pop rock anthems, bringing their infectious energy to the forefront. Like We Did (Windows Down) and Inside Of You mark a sentimental nod to the band’s decade-old early releases, whilst Am I Pretty? sees the frontman take a stroll down the room to join the crowd for a massive sing-along. Sharing the merry news that drummer Pat Kirch just had a baby girl, it makes for a very cheerful moment.
Enlisting the help of the audience for some vocal warmups, John’s acoustic solo set brings a whole lot of entertainment, as the crowd bursts into singing the hits from Britney Spears, The Killers, One Direction, Oasis, and Avril Lavigne. With one lucky fan performing the emotionally driven (Un)Lost on stage with him, it further shows how much The Maine care about their fans.
A rollercoaster of emotions, Bad Behavior, How Do You Feel?, and Black Butterflies & Déjà Vu take us back to the glorious Lovely Little Lonely era, whilst I Must Be Dreaming adds even more nostalgia to the set as John points out that the band was born on MySpace.
“I hope you’ll find everything you’re looking for”, John says before the band rounds off the set with a nine-minute long masterpiece Flowers On The Grave, finding the audience uniting in a choir-like moment. With tears being shed amongst the crowd, the show ends on a poignant yet wholehearted note as the closing lyrics “I was on the verge of breaking down / Then you came around” keep echoing throughout, long after the band disappears into the night.
Powered by love, generosity and kindness, The Mirror is a joyous and life-affirming phenomenon that marks a triumph for the band. Nurturing the 8123 community, The Maine have given the people a place to belong, reminding us all that music comes in many shapes and forms, but first and foremost, it brings people together. Just remember that “You Are OK and if you aren’t right now, you will be soon”; whichever stage you find yourself in, I’m sure The Maine will be there to accompany you every step of the way.
Photos: Kasia Osowiecka