Words by Paige Kochanski
The Maine, A Rocket To The Moon, This Century, and Brighten are all currently on the first ever 8123 tour across North America. Being that The Maine and This Century are both on the same label and A Rocket To The Moon are long time friends of both bands, it was the perfect lineup for a debut tour. I had the chance to go to the Winnipeg stop on June 18th.
Kicking it off with Brighten, we saw Justin Richards playing a short five song acoustic set with just drummer Jimmy Richards through majority of the songs, showcasing his vocals on the first Brighten tour in years. Joining him on the last song was Sean Silverman from This Century. Anyone who sees them playing on their date will be in for a treat and have everyone hoping Brighten continues more touring in the near future.
This Century was next, playing their first ever show in Winnipeg. Starting with Hopeless Romantic, they were the highest energy band of the night. Joel Kanitz kept the crowd engaged by getting into the crowd, singing to fans and never standing still. The set consisted of songs from both their newest albums, Biography Of Heartbreak and previous, Sound Of Fire.
Being A Rocket To The Moon’s last tour ever, the set had posed both feelings of both excitement and sadness for most fans, as this was the first and last time most had seen the group. Playing classic favorites like “Like We Used To” and “Dakota,” the band catered to their entire catalog as well, by adding an old song “If They Only Knew” and new hits from Wild & Free.Whether it was because of unfamiliarity with the band or too much anticipation for the act that followed, the crowd seemed dull and repeatedly had to be told “It’s a rock show! Move around!” But, crowd aside, the band was in sync and enjoyed every minute of playing. It was refreshing to see a band, who says they’re breaking up not because they aren’t friends anymore but because they need to do something else and actually mean it, enjoying every minute on stage.
Finally, the moment everyone was waiting for arrived. As soon as The Maine hit the stage and jumped into “Love and Drugs” the theatre erupted into screams and sing-alongs. Playing songs from all four albums, dividing the set between old favorites from Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and recently released Forever Halloween, there is not a band that genuinely loves their fans more than The Maine does. The band and crowd feed off of each other’s energy and it creates a show like no other. Keeping it upbeat through most, a standout moment was “These Four Words” with just a piano and John O’Callaghan singing, creating a vulnerable moment that really translated the raw emotions of the lyrics. During “Count ‘Em One, Two, Three” O’Callaghan and Garrett Nickelsen jumped into the middle of the crowd with a male fan claiming they wanted to feel “what it’s like to be a punk band” and had the fan spit into O’Callaghan’s mouth before dueting the song. Moments like these are what makes The Maine shows memorable and special by not putting on an act or trying to make their band seem cooler, but making sure every fan enjoys themselves and leaves with a smile on their face.
The tour ended with all of the bands coming out to join The Maine on stage for “We’ll All Be.” Each member ran around the stage with drums, guitars and broomsticks while O’Callaghan, Nick Santino from A Rocket To The Moon and Joel Kanitz from This Century sang out the night with “we all have been degraded/ we all will be the greatest.” It was a chilling end to a fantastic show.
Whether you’re thinking of going for The Maine or even just to see an opener, it’s one of the best tours of the year. Each set is filled with fun songs, explosive energy, and friends. Not one person will leave without having the time of their life. Get your tickets now.