Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Arkells, This Century, The Maine - Electric Ballroom, London

It's not often when I drag Rob out to a gig for a band I like that he goes straight to the merch stand after their set and buys a CD.  But that's what happened with the Arkells.  They had the whole rock thing right down, the audience was fully engaged despite this being the first band on.  We'll eagerly be looking out for their return to the UK - the Jackson Square CD that we picked up at the show was on the hifi for the whole of the next day and the songs Pullin Punches and Whistleblower are firmly fixed in my head.

Second up was This Century, and it seems that although this is only the first time in the UK, a lot of the audience had done their homework and were already familiar with their music.  It was like a giant singalong/dancealong and I think even the band were surprised.  Having said that, The Maine are excellent at promoting the bands they take on tour with them, and they seem to have pretty good taste.  I think it was more my kind of thing than Rob's, but with a number of EPs and a full length record under their belts, I will be watching and listening with interest for what happens in the future.  I hope that they will be back in the UK, because it seems that they will be pretty popular with people here and again they looked and sounded great on the stage.

Onto The Maine then.  Although Pioneer was released at the end of last year in the US, it was only officially put out in the UK recently with the addition of 6 extra songs (Pioneer & The Good Love).  When I first heard the new songs, I thought, yeah, I could see maybe why they didn't make it onto Pioneer.  By the time I'd heard them through twice I was sitting there going 'These are my favourite songs they've ever done.  Ever'.  Sometimes I listen and I hear bits of old school 50's and 60's rock n roll with the 'oooh-oooh-oooh's' and the 'sha-la-la's' and the 'bye-bye-bye's', and then sometimes I hear something more modern and Killers-esqe, but there's always variety and crazily catchy guitars and drums. In the Maine's whole catalogue, there's not a single song I don't like or skip over, and this is my go-to band when I can't make my mind up what I'm in the mood to listen to.  So I know, when I go to a live show, I'm not going to be disappointed.

The gig was fantastic and it was so good for them to finally get a decent amount of time as the headliners - no offense, but they are too good in their own right to keep playing support to other bands. With 3 full length albums behind them, and this being the Pioneer world tour, we got most of what is on the latest album mixed up with some of the older songs (which are sounding better with age anyway).  

What I like about The Maine is that although you have the recording of a song on a CD at home, when it gets to the stage, they have played around with it and although it might sound a little different, it also sounds brilliant.  The average age of the audience has also gone up, and there were more fellas in the audience - the ones around me were singing along and discussing how fab the band were, which is a nice change from the girls shouting 'John, take your shirt off' - although there's still always one, isn't there? (no, it wasn't me)

So, we came home happy, having done a little dancing, a little singing, a lot of laughing (mainly at Garrett's Celine Dion impression) and now I shall eagerly await them going back into the studio for the next album.  In the meantime, their DVD 'Anthem for a Dying Breed' is out this month and for those in the UK, Pioneer & The Good Love is out on spotify right now.  Go listen.  And then go and buy it. (my favourite is Hello World - I think I may be singing it in my sleep, it's so stuck in my brain).

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