American Candy Tour Makes for a Sweet Sunday Night Performance


Six years ago, when the Maine stepped onto the stage of the 9:30 Club, they were long-haired kids with high energy and and an infectious pop-rock sound.  That night, the Arizona boys were one of the opening acts for the popular 2009 Alternative Press Tour.  Sunday (May 10th), those kids were back as headliners — this time, with years of international touring experience and four studio albums under their musical belts.

The American Candy Tour rolled into Washington DC with a lineup reminiscent of the summer music festivals that the bands have often been a part of.  The Technicolors were the first to take the stage.  Their indie sound and youthful energy provided a great introduction to the night of entertainment. Their songs found an ideal balance of catchy melodies and electric guitar rifts.  Frontman Brennan Smiley impressed with a quiet charm and strong vocals.  Next to the plate was Chicago-based Knuckle Puck. The pop-punk newcomers spent most of their time mid-air — keeping the crowd upbeat with both their music and stage presence.  Their edgy sound was combined with a visible love for performing.  The final opening act was a band by the name of Real Friends.  It was clear as soon as they hit the stage that they had a large amount of passionate fans in the audience.  They continued the fun with a varied set of crowd-pleasing melodies.  The lead singer, Dan Lambton, had a carefree yet endearing demeanor — one that had clearly won over many members of the energetic audience.


Finally, the Maine took the stage drenched in blue lighting and the attention of a room full of adoring fans. It was immediately apparent that the kids from the AP Tour of six years ago had transitioned into a solidified rock band with a unique sound and independent style. The frontman, John O’Callaghan, navigated new songs and old and even threw in a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” The crowd favorite, a love song titled “Into Your Arms,” was preceded by O’Callaghan interacting with the lively crowd and answering a slew of questions ranging from his favorite animal to “will you go to prom with me?” When drummer Pat Kirch and bassist Garrett Nickelsen switched instruments for a song, it was clear that the Maine is a band that does things their own way.  By the time the music ended, the lights went out and the confetti fell to the ground, there was a sense of quiet appreciation for all the performances of the night — performances that demonstrated that rock music is best two ways: loud and genuine.