LIVE: The Maine @ Koko, London

By Eloise Bulmer

Ten years down the line and The Maine are playing their biggest headline show in the UK yet. Touring their most recent album, ‘Lovely, Little, Lonely’, almost 1500 people have come out to support the band, with fans queuing outside the venue since the morning.

The Technicolors open the evening with their brand of indie-rock, their influences prominent in their performance. It’s up and down, with moodiness and earnestness throughout, and even though they’re a keyboard player down for this tour their sound fills the room.

Second support Night Riots are angsty and full on, not holding back in trying to win the room over. As their set comes to a close it’s clear they’ve had the best time up on stage and have won more than a few fans over in the process.

Tonight’s show plays like a greatest hits for The Maine. Beginning with the lead single from their latest album, ‘Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu’, the night instantly feels timeless, only one song in. The band are animated performers, with vocalist John O’Callaghan jumping up near the speakers and apologising to the sound engineer when feedback screams out over the crowd. It all adds to the familiarity of their show, inviting each person in the crowd to be their friend and a part of the performance, rather than simply an observer.

Later in the evening they praise the room for the lack of smartphone usage, declaring that “this is a fucking rock concert my friends”, before playing ‘My Heroine’. The crunchier guitar tones don’t go unnoticed as the pop vibes relax to let some heavier moments through. The song obscures into an instrumental performance towards the end, and the band look like they are having the time of their lives without being indulgent. It’s a highlight of the evening, and demonstrates that this is a band that know how to put on a straight up rock show.

“This must be like a national anthem over here” John states before the band dive into an unexpected cover of Blur’s ‘Song 2’, an apt choice for a London headline show. The crowd love it as much as the band seem to, even bringing out Brennan from The Technicolors to join in on the madness. By the time they play one of their earlier hits, ‘Right Girl’, the crowd are almost rabid, shouting every word along with the band with glee, obviously pleased they’ve kept in some older tracks from their six album discography. 

Before performing the last song, John ends the night with the advice “the world looks a whole lot better after a cup of tea”; a nice sentiment to end the show on. The band close out with ‘Another Night on Mars’, which sees people linking arms and yelling the lyrics at each other in a display of friendship and closeness. It’s a perfect example of the spaces The Maine have cultivated to be full of good people and good times. This is the 8123 family.