The east coast of the United States has endured what seems to be an endless winter. Despite the temperature in the single digits, on Thursday February 27th hundreds of fans huddled closely together in line at New York City’s Webster Hall anxiously waiting for doors to open and be one step closer to warming their souls with an evening of music. It was not just an ordinary night of music for this New York audience though; it was an up-close, intimate, and acoustic evening with Tempe, Arizona’s The Maine.
The evening began with singer/songwriter Nick Santino. Formerly known as the lead singer of indie/pop act A Rocket to the Moon, Santino recently shifted gears with his own solo project, Nick Santino and the Northern Wind. This project featured a new sound for Santino that has been highly embraced by close friends and fellow musicians in The Maine. It is no wonder they decided to showcase the artist in this highly anticipated acoustic tour.
Nick Santino wasted no time with introductions and he grabbed his acoustic guitar and got right to business. Immediately the packed, loud, and energetic room was completely silent as Santino’s vocals began to overtake. Santino’s flawless singing was really felt strongest in his rendition of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “I Won’t Back Down” where he was able to make the track his own in a way others could still sing along. Perhaps the most exciting part of Santino’s set was when he started to play the chords for his song “Long Way Home”. This track was co-written with The Maine’s lead singer John O’Callaghan, and fans in the audience were definitely keen to that, shouting loudly to the words and moving around to the catchy hook. Santino set was short and sweet, definitely leaving the audience yearning for a few more. Check out Nick Santino and The Northern Wind as they record their new album, you won’t be disappointed.
The small studio room was cramped, but it did not seem to bother the fans as they began to chant for The Maine to come out. Finally, their calls were heard and the five members of The Maine made their way onto the quaint stage. The band really set the acoustic show tone with opening track “I’m Sorry”. It was the perfect track to showcase The Maine in a stripped-down sound. After the opening track, the band took a few minutes to discuss New York’s cold climate, making reference to being in the heart of a ‘Polar Vortex’ which amused the audience and ignited laughter.
The night of music continued with both new tracks as well as classic The Maine sing-a-longs that were stripped down so much the arrangements sounded fresh and different. Taking a few minutes to discuss their newest five-track EP, Imaginary Numbers (2013), they then played two brand new tracks from it titled “Raining in Paris” and “Lovely Sad”. Surprising the audience the band played tracks from their debut album Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (2008) such as “You Left Me”, where the electronic and techno aspects of the song were converted into acoustic medleys that excited fans beyond belief. The biggest surprise of all was The Maine’s closing performance of unreleased secret track “One Pack of Smokes from Broke” which had all smiling as O’Callaghan started to croon the words.
The band’s ability to connect with their audience created a comfortable ambiance even midst the large, sold-out crowd. The Maine’s acoustic performance left New Yorkers feeling sated and content as they made their way out of Webster Hall’s studio room.Written by Vanessa Carlluci