Riot Fest might just be the largest three day punk rock music festival in the Midwest; Think of it as Rolling Loud for emos (kids and elders alike). Taking place in Chicago, bands from all over the world turn Douglass Park into one huge backyard party for three full days. While the noise needed to stop by 10 p.m. like any other backyard party, that did not mean the party couldn’t be moved inside. That is exactly what The Maine did. The Arizonian rock band played at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago, not going onstage until midnight.
Prior to the show, The Maine said that it had been a long time since they played Bottom Lounge, so they were going to make it special. The show, with a capacity of 700 people, was sold out with bodies packed all the way to the back of the venue. The band even printed a Chicago Bulls championship concert tee for the gig (and then sold it online for 24 hours due to popular demand). When The Maine walked on stage, a roar swept across the room: screams of pure excitement from fully grown adults. Absolutely beautiful. Opening with a track off of their 2008 album “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, it set the tone for the night.
Two of my personal favorite tracks got me and the whole crowd into the mood for what would be a very long set: “Diet Soda Society” and “Numb Without You”. I, personally, had never heard “Diet Soda Society” live before, but it was euphoric. The whole band was excited and the crowd was scream-singing their hearts out, the band feeding off the crowd and the crowd feeding off the band.
After playing a slew of songs off of their more recent albums, The Maine pulled out a deep cut, “Ice Cave”, from their album “Forever Halloween” (my personal favorite). The whole crowd could feel the slow, hard-hitting intro with every chord that was struck. The faster, harder, The-Maine-style breakdown produced a momentary mosh pit, fitting perfectly with the lighting from the venue. Another show-stopping moment was when the band pulled Charlotte Sands on stage to sing her part in their latest single (until “Box In A Heart” comes out this Thursday, September 29), “Loved You A Little”.
The Maine interacted with members of the audience, playing guessing games with song titles prior to playing them, talking about their families and even bringing a fan onstage to sing. After promising the crowd early on that they would play old songs, drummer Pat Kirch did not feel like they had fulfilled their promise. The band let the crowd request old songs to play, which resulted in “Right Girl” off of “Black and White” and “Misery” off of “Pioneer”. I screamed my lungs out to “Misery” with no remorse for the eardrums of the people around me.
The show closed out with “Another Night On Mars” off their album “American Candy”. Friends grabbed each other, singing endearingly to the people they love (at least enough to be at a concert together in the middle of Chicago at 1:30 in the morning). The last verse of “Another Night On Mars” belonged to the crowd, and The Maine just took it all in. This moment was one I will remember for many years to come.
The Maine is available on Spotify and Apple Music, and check out their newest song “Box In A Heart” coming out September 29.