"O'Callaghan is the ringmaster of this little circus, Carlton-dancing, shimmying and drawling his way into the crowd's hearts."
With the guitarist fresh from sitting behind the kit for first opener Far Away Stables, With Confidence takes to the stage with their cheeky, upbeat pop-punk. They're a household name when it comes to supporting international punk bands but they suit the title well. Recalling early All Time Low, the modest-sized crowd know the words to their songs and eagerly humour the band with their clap-alongs. Their sound is pretty cookie cutter, but judging by audience reactions they definitely have the potential to crack the big time.
Shrieks immediately emit from the packed room for The Maine event — it doesn't help the crowd's hysteria that lead singer John O'Callaghan is considered universally attractive and has a wide grin plastered on his face more often than not. The band rip straight into newer, more rock'n'roll-tinged songs like Another Night On Mars, Right Girl and My Heroine. Both O'Callaghan and bassist Garrett Nickelsen have boundless energy — almost too much for the small-ish stage. The band's bluesy foray away from traditional pop-punk a la I Must Be Dreaming (which they do play to an extremely stoked and nostalgic room) suit them as they've matured, with O'Callaghan's Arizonian drawl sitting atop distorted solos and strong bass lines in songs like When I'm At Home.
The band are tight and intuitive but don't take themselves too seriously. O'Callaghan is the ringmaster of this little circus, Carlton-dancing, shimmying and drawling his way into the crowd's hearts. Slowing down the show, O'Callaghan plays Into Your Arms solo and acoustic, and we're sure there's not a sight more rewarding than a musician's face lighting up upon hearing a crowd singing "aaaaaarms" like a choir back to the stage. They finish the set with their new album's title track, American Candy, wrapping up an endearing ramble from O'Callaghan about how much fun they've had, how "progressive" we are for not watching the show through our iPhones and that they'd add us on LinkedIn so we could complete a survey about their show. A+, boys. A+.