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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Music & The Maine Gig

Music. What does it mean to you? If there's one thing in the world I could never live without it would without a doubt be music. Music is one of the most amazing things on this earth. To me, music is so, so much more than just a song and lyrics. It can be accepted like that, of course. And sometimes that's lovely. Sometimes it's nice to just accept a song or music for what it is. Sometimes it's nice to just have music playing in the background, or going to a club and dancing to it.

But it's so much more. It starts off with an idea, a memory, a moment. An artist takes this feeling and turns it into a song so that it can be conveyed to others. Taking something from your mind to paper is one of the hardest things. And then when you listen to it, it just flows through you. Music can represent a feeling. It can remind you of a memory you shared with someone, or remind you of how you felt in that particular moment. It can inspire you. It can give you hope. 

When I close my eyes and listen to music, I feel it run through my veins. Sometimes it gives me tingles. Have you ever had tears instantly fill your eyes the moment you hear the opening chords of a song? Before you've even heard any lyrics or before you know what it's about, already those brief sounds have made such an impact on your life, more than anything else ever will. I cannot even begin to explain how much music means to me or how much of an impact some bands have had on my life. Luckily music falls hand in hand with another passion of mine - gigging it! Seeing a band live is one of my favourite things in the whole world. I love the atmosphere of seeing a band live, I love seeing the way so many people come together and sing together to a song that means so much to them for so many different reasons. I love the fact that I actually get to experience a band performing that song live - I get to see the emotion as they sing it, I get to essentially have them sing it to me and it's also so lovely to actually be close to the band.

Last night myself and my good friend Amy went to see an american band called The Maine at The Electric Ballroom in London. This is the first proper gig I've been to in about two years, so I was so excited as I'd missed seeing bands live so much. It was a really nice night out too, it was something different. We headed down early as I had an exclusive meet and greet ticket which meant I was going to meet the band, including their sexy lead singer, John O'Callaghan.

I was quite nervous but as soon as I walked into the venue I felt so overwhelmed as I spotted the band on stage. I was close to the stage and it was only a small exclusive crowd of about 100 people and it was honestly just a bit of a shock to me. The Maine are a band that I've been a fan for for about two months now and already they've had such a massive impact on my life, the lead singer is my idol and they've become such a huge part of my life so quickly. They will be a band I'll forever be a fan of. So it was so nice to walk in and see them, especially as they are American so they don't come to the UK too often. I was very lucky to be able to see them so soon after becoming a fan. So they performed two songs for us which was nice because it was very small and intimate and then we were told to line up to meet them!

When it came to my turn I was like 'Oh my god' in my head ha. The girl in front of me gave the lead singer John a chocolate bar and he thought it was from me as well and kept thanking me ha! He was really friendly, we had a little chat and I asked him how he was enjoying London and asked for a hug. I got a hug from the rest of the band too and almost walked off forgetting the group photo! There are five members of the band and everyone who was having photos stood right in the middle of them and I was like NOPE Ima stand next to John ha so I walked over to him (he was on the end) and was like 'Can I stand here with you?' and he was like 'Off course!' ha. And then just before the last photo was taken he said to me/to everyone 'POSE'. As soon as the photo took I went to him 'I didn't pose I just smiled' and he was like 'me either!' and we both looked at each other and laughed. I can't believe how friendly he was!

From L-R, John, myself, Kennedy, Jared, Garrett, Pat & two random girls
Then me and Amy went and got changed and had a drink in a pub, then bought a cheeky bottle of Malibu to drink in the line as we waited to get into the venue. Once we were in the atmosphere just hit us immediately, you could just feel the excitement in the air. We bought drinks and ambled our way through the massive crowd to get near the front, we were like, two people back from the barriers? And we got talking to some lovely girls behind us who were also the same age as us (seriously everyone was SO YOUNG they were all like 15!). We started dancing along to the first band that came on, we were a bit miffed to why a lot of people weren't dancing because even though we didn't even know the band they were still good! The second band, This Century, were really, really good too and I'm a converted fan.

I was quite surprised at how quickly The Maine came on, I've been to gigs before where it's an hour wait between each bands set, usually longer when you're waiting for the headlining band but they were on within 20 minutes! It was just one of many examples that reminded me of how much they appreciated their fans. So of course when they came on and launched immediately into a performance of 'Identify' from their new album, Pioneer & The Good Love, everyone went crazy and started jumping and moshing together. It was such an amazing atmosphere and again even I felt a bit overwhelmed because when you listen to a band and connect with them so much, when their songs mean so much to you or help you through hard times, it's such an amazing experience to then see them live and experience them performing to you rather then just on a CD or whatever. They played nearly every one of my favourite songs and again in a weird way this made me feel so much closer to them. For example one of my favourite songs is called 'Like We Did (Windows Down)' and is about becoming old and trying not to regret the way you spent your youth and how you should live life to the full (or at least that's how I interpret it!). I love it because I agree with the message behind the song and it means a lot to me, so to see them perform that you just get that special moment where rather then it's you being a fan and them being a band just for a few moments you're all equal as you sing to each other, expressing the same message, feeling the same things and such - for a while you do connect to them. Their set was honestly amazing, some bands aren't that good live but they really, really were. You could tell they were putting everything into their performance and how much it meant to them and John's voice was just pure amazing the whole time. His voice just ran through me! It was really funny as well because me and another girl shouted to him 'GET TOPLESS' and he heard us and looked at us and started talking to us from the stage! He was like 'What I can't hear what you're saying, you have work tomorrow? Fuck work, don't go in!' ha.

I actually just found a video on YouTube of him talking to me from the stage! I'm so chuffed about this, about 50 seconds in he starts talking and if you listen closely you can hear me shout 'get naked' haha!

Is it sad that I'm so happy I've got a copy of this on film..?!

John singing 'Take Me Dancing' another personal favourite, sorry about the bad quality! LOL at the girl screaming 'Have my babies' at the end (it wasn't me, I swear!)

Their whole performance just gave me chills and if you watch that video you can see why - he has the most amazing voice and you can tell from the video that John and the rest of the band sound just as good live as they do in the studio. You can just tell how talented he is and how amazing he sounds live and that's why I love them!

After the gig we went outside and to the back of the venue where the tour bus was but then the dude (I think it was their manager?) came and told us they'd be coming out at the front of the venue, and they did within 20 minutes. They really appreciate their fans, you can tell, I don't know any other bands that would offer an exclusive meet and greet or come outside to see fans so quickly after the show, I've waited outside venues for hours to meet bands in the past!

Firstly we spotted the lead singer of This Century and I asked for a photo and he mocked/did an impression of my accent then said he loved it! We had a little chat, he was lovely too, I said I was a converted fan and promised to buy their EP. Then The Maine came out again and I got to meet John again! I was like to him 'I know I met you before but can you sign this for me as well please' and handed him my Wreck This Journal (I've got his piece Said & Done written in it) and he was like 'yeah I remember you!' which I thought was really cute. I know most bands say that anyway when you ask them but I didn't ask, he just brought it up ha. So he signed it and we had another couple of photos and then I asked him for a kiss and he went 'A KISS' in a really cute shocked face and then gave me one - he was so lovely!

After that we left because he was practically getting mobbed by fans. I would have loved to have chatted for longer and yes, I had every intention of chatting him up and I do believe that considering every single fan was 15 or so and I'm only a year and a half younger than him, I would have had a good chance! But unfortunately he's just too sexy and too many girls wanted his attention, ha. The chatting up will have to wait until next time.

But it really was an amazing night and hand on heart would probably be one of the best gigs I've been to (and I've been to A LOT!). I'd say this not only just because I met them but because they genuinely were good live, I've seen bands that have been good live but better in the studio but this definitely wasn't the case here. They were also so friendly and it was nice to go with Amy, she'd never been to a gig before, let alone a rock gig, so it was nice to experience it with her. It was also great just to have the overall experience because they've become such a prominent band in my life. We met loads of nice people on the night too and finally it was just nice to go and do something a bit different, it was fun to experience a different atmosphere and have a good time.

Finally it was also nice to see how far the band have come! I've only been a fan for about two months now but they've been a band for a good five or so years and I'm pretty sure this has been their first UK headlining tour - it was so busy and so even though they're American it's nice to see how big they're getting in the UK!

I'd definitely recommend you become a fan of The Maine or This Century and aim to see them next time they are in the UK. Before last night it had been too long since I'd last been to a gig and I've missed it so much, last night just reminded me of how amazing it is to see bands perform music live so I'll be booking another gig ASAP! I'll also be doing a LOTW based on my attire too later in the week  - I only wore the jeans in the day/to the meet and greet because it was cold, I wore something else for the actual gig :)

Do you go to a lot of gigs? Are there any bands you've always wanted to see but haven't had the chance to? What's the best gig you've ever been to? Let me know in the comments below!

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