On April 5, The Happy Fits and Charlotte Sands opened up the ‘XOXO Tour’ In Buffalo, New York for The Maine. This tour also marked the 15 year celebration of The Maine. Formed in 2007, The Maine consists of lead vocalist, guitarist and pianist John O’Callaghan, lead guitarist Jared Monaco, bass guitarist Garrett Nickelsen, drummer Patrick Kirch, and rhythm guitarist Kennedy Brock.
This show was just two days after Joywave celebrated the release of their album Cleanse in the very same room. You can view my coverage on that here.
Writing and publishing this review just over a month later was not the plan but other music industry related opportunities came my way (ex. my first tour as a photographer). Even though it is over a month later, I still think about the ‘XOXO Tour’. It meant a lot to me, as well as others.
In July 2021, The Maine released their eighth studio album XOXO: From Love and Anxiety in Real Time. Shortly after, in October 2021, this tour was announced. From the second that announcement was made, I knew I had to take the night off from classes and go. Hearing later that The Happy Fits and Charlotte Sands would be their openers made me even more excited to attend.
It was my second time seeing The Maine play at the Town Ballroom. My last time seeing them was November 2019 supporting their March 2019 album You Are OK.
Other fans reported on social media that they first saw The Maine in 2009 at the Town Ballroom. Yes, that’s right, 2009 with Family Force 5, 3OH!3, A Rocket to the Moon, and Hit the Lights.
It was my first time seeing The Happy Fits and Charlotte Sands (and it won’t be my last).
This tour was a celebration for many reasons. As said previously, it was the tour in support of The Maine’s 15 year anniversary and their eighth studio album. Along with that, The Happy Fits were finally able to celebrate their August 2020 album What Could Be Better. Charlotte Sands was celebrating the release of her 2022 EP Love and Other Lies along with the “Loved You A Little” single that she collaborated with The Maine and Taking Back Sunday for (more on that in a little bit).
Kicking off the show in Buffalo was Charlotte Sands, who was raised on 2000s pop-punk and is rooted in the lyricism of folk singers and songwriters. The Massachusetts artist effortlessly connects with listeners through messaging that tells a story with positive and bright sounds that make it nearly impossible not to move.
Her live show is described as electric, and that would be correct. She establishes a bond with fans through an energetic and uplifting human experience. After the show in Buffalo, she hung outside the venue to meet and chat with friends. Along with that, at her merchandise table, she had signed CDs available to take (yes, take for free!).
Second performer of the night was alt-rock-pop trio The Happy Fits. The Happy Fits had a cellist, something I had never seen at a show of this genre before.
Though the ‘XOXO Tour’ has finished, The Happy Fits still have some shows planned for the month of May and June! Their tour with The Maine was paired with a headlining tour, with one date being the BottleRock Festival at the Napa Valley Expo in Napa, California later this month.
On the tours Calvin Langman, the electric cellist and lead vocalist, says, “‘The What Could Be Better Tour 2021’ was absolutely life-changing, so it’s needless to say we’re just as ecstatic to be hitting the road for our ‘What Could Be Better Tour 2022’. We’ll be headlining smaller US cities and fans in those cities usually don’t get to see their favorite band passing through, so they’re always ready to go and give it their all! It’s so cool that we get to bring Sarah And The Sundays on the road with us, too, since we’ve been fans of their music for a while. Touring with The Maine is going to be an experience unlike any other, as we’ve never played the 1500-2000 capacity rooms they’re headlining every night. We’re excited to pump up their crowd with our bangers-only set, and we’re also looking forward very much to seeing the amazing Charlotte Sands perform.”
Along with these tour dates, they have been busy releasing some amazing new music. Their most recent single “Dance Alone” was released on April 29 and it was the perfect follow up to their March 16 single “Changes.” These singles, especially “Dance Alone” are the ideal companion to a lonely night, one that will brighten any mood and bring anyone to their feet.
My recommendation is simple: listen to and support The Happy Fits.
The Maine, our favorite pop, emo, and alternative band from Arizona, started their performance with “Sticky,” the very first track off of XOXO: From Love and Anxiety in Real Time.
Over the years, I have had the chance to see the band perform multiple times. Through the American Candy era, Lovely Little Lonely era, You Are OK era, and now the XOXO era. After taking some time to think, their performance in Buffalo last month was my favorite performance of theirs yet. From the production to the setlist to their interactions with fans, this was truly a night for all to remember.
They brought a fan on stage to sing part of “Right Girl” with John, there was a proposal, John wore a cowboy hat for a minute or two, and there were so many conversations held. One including an interaction that happened earlier in the day before the show. I cannot remember the exact situation, but fans ran into John and the others before doors opened and John had to shout it out during the set. Both a key memory for me and the fans involved and another great example of their care and inclusion of fans.
The setlist was wonderful. Kicking off with “Sticky” and ending with “Another Night On Mars,” songs from a variety of albums were played like their brand new album, You Are OK, Lovely Little Lonely, and American Candy.
My favorite part of their set is when Charlotte Sands came on stage to perform. In January 2022, The Maine teamed up with Charlotte Sands and Taking Back Sunday to release the song “Loved You A Little.” So they, of course, performed it together!
Did you miss the ‘XOXO Tour’ and wonder what is next for The Maine? They just announced that they will be playing a 45 minute set at So What?! Music Festival later this month in Texas. There is also a Summer Block Party on June 5 in Philadelphia and The Maine along with a few others will be performing at this free (yes, free) show.
Along with this, there is some big news coming. The Maine has recently teased and announced something called “Lovely Little Weekend” on the east coast for late September and early October. Hoping for more information on that soon!
I recommend staying up to date with all three performers on social media to find out more information about their next adventures! These are three acts you don’t want to miss.