On Friday, March 25, Tech’s spring break was coming to an end. As the evening drew near, there was a slight chill in the air, and the Atlanta Underground came to life as the Masquerade prepared for a night of live music.
From the outside, early concertgoers could hear Arizona-based band The Maine running through their soundcheck inside Heaven, one of the three stages within the venue. Eventually, the doors opened and people streamed into the darkly-lit space.
The first name on the lineup was a local band by the name of Stay Here. Energetic with the charmingly-awkward demeanor of a small band, they were more than successful in getting the crowd’s energy going.
By the end of their set, the audience was fired up and ready for more.
Next up was female pop-punk singer Charlotte Sands. Returning to Atlanta for the second time this year with drummer Dannen Reed Rector, Sands is a blue-haired powerhouse who knows how to work a crowd.
Her lyrics champion individuality, and her stage presence is one of pure, high-spirited fun. The audience clearly felt the same, screaming lyrics alongside her, cheering, jumping and dancing.
As a highlight of her performance, Sands grabbed two fuzzy cowboy hats from a pair of girls in the front row, who were overjoyed. The singer and Reed Rector both wore the hats for the remainder of their set before coming to the front after they were finished to return them to their original owners, hugging each one.
Finally, the time had come for the headlining band, rock group The Maine. Comprised of lead singer John O’Callaghan, lead guitarist Jared Monaco, bassist Garrett Nickelsen and drummer Patrick Kirch, the band is currently on tour all over the US following the 2021 release of their eighth album: XOXO: From Love and Anxiety in Real Time.
The band has been together since 2007, so they are no strangers to being onstage.
O’Callaghan balances strong vocals with a jocular between-song demeanor that created an environment that felt natural, friendly and lively.
From excitedly talking about his newborn child to laughing as the group played one of their earliest releases, a cover of Akon’s “I Wanna Love You,” the set was filled with personal connection between the band and the crowd of concertgoers.
Towards the end of the show, The Maine welcomed Charlotte Sands back to the stage to sing a recently released song on which the two had collaborated, “Loved You A Little.”
Sands and O’Callaghan played off of each other perfectly, each amplifying the other’s energy as their voices blended seamlessly.
Two songs later, the concert drew to a close, and the venue lights came on.
As people filed out, the air was buzzing with overlapping voices, music and energy. For those who attended, it was surely another great show for the books.