American Candy

These crossing paths between me and The Maine predate me. Years and years ago they did a tour with my friends in Anberlin and From Indian Lakes. That tour didn't come through Texas. I remember the amount of genuine bummed feelings I had about that tour not gracing the Lone Star State. A year or so later I would catch my first set of The Maine at Warped Tour. This was before I knew what a camera was and I was mostly there just to be the professional hanger outter that I was. I remember hanging out with my homie Scoot and watching The Maine from the Anberlin merch tent in the million degree weather. My nose was already toast and I likely had all the classic symptoms of heat exhaustion but that set, I remember it because it was good, they were great. Fast forward a couple of years later and through some exchanged text messages I was slated to shoot The Maine at The Parish in Austin. That was a fun one. There wasn't a barricade, it was the second story of a bar and from front to back, the place was full of fans who knew every word as if they wrote it. You don't get that kind of a following without having a real connection to those who follow your music. Below is a picture I took in Austin on my first outing with the guys. So many rad times were had. 

A photo posted by Joe Ortega (@joeortega) on

Fastfowarding from 2015 to 2016, The Maine stopped in San Antonio for a quick show before meeting up with Mayday Parade for a tour that would slay the masses. From Austin to San Antonio, the love for The Maine is simply unmatched. I've been going to shows for a long time and I can honestly say the passion their fans put into these shows is unrivaled. Here's a little video I did at that show. 

A video posted by Joe Ortega (@joeortega) on

Now onto something a little more recent and topical, Warped Tour 2016. When the guys were in town last, they were hinting at this summer and more opportunities to come out and photograph them again. I'm not sure if it's because I have more going on than ever or if the folklore tales of time going by at an accelerated rate when you get older but it feels like weeks and not months from the time they just left town to the time they were coming back. It's one thing to be in attendance of Warped Tour, it's a whole other monster to be a part of the process. So many tents, stages, port-a-potties and relentless band peoples handing out their newest release, the whole thing is a giant effort. The morning of the San Antonio show, while the band gets settled for the day, I headed to Rosella Coffee in here in San Antonio to meet some friends before the chaos ensued. I'm getting whatever nutrition I can. I have something that involves bread, cheese, egg and some leafy green with a cold brew coffee. As we disband and make our way to the venue, I make sure everything is set, and it is. 

While I know well that this world is cruel, mean and unforgiving place, for just moments out of our lives, we are allowed to experience music from our favorite bands, singing our favorite songs, all while locking arms with our comrades. We share these moments with hundreds of thousands of strangers. That's the beauty of this. That's a big part of the appeal. From 11 AM until sundown, we can walk this asphalt wonderland, watching one band after another sing our anthems that they wrote. The first part of the day was nice start and around 3 PM The Maine are set to play main stage at Warped Tour. If you've ever been to Warped Tour then you know that the struggle is staying hydrated and finding shade. This year, I'm not sure what we did to be thrown a bone from the universe, but there was cloud cover and small rain showers throughout the day. We rejoiced and praised that the clouds and the sun were on our side for once. 

In true form, The Maine gather behind the stage, in the trailer where all the equipment is loaded in and hauled off. They start putting on their in-ears, dialing into the right channels. They turn a dial, listen, look up, re-dial, look back up and wait for the right signs to tell them they're ready (foreshadowing). The band walks out, one by one, everyone waives to the crowd, the fans lose their minds. It's great to watch. During the change over they just all stand there and stare, waiting for the first glimpse of any band member. Since it's Warped there is an easy tell of when the next band goes on...it's immediately after the counter stage is done. The kids see Garrett, Pat, Kennedy and Jared (and my favorite homie Andrew DeStefano) and the screams are loud and then John takes the mic, center stage and all bets are off. The waive of hands in the air, the sway of the audience and the chanting alongs all set the stage for The Maine. One of the things that I've always enjoyed about these guys is that they have real interaction with their fans. Since I've had the privilege of shooting these guys before, I can attest first hand that their following is loyal and they absolutely love these dudes. 

 

As far as the aforementioned foreshadowing goes, just as anything goes that involves electronics, you're prone to technical difficulties. At some point during set the fine, young gentleman you see playing keys, the tambourine and guitar, all whilst sing back up vocals, who goes the by the name of Andrew, leans over and tells me "All I hear is John's mix". For those that may not be familiar with the in-ear monitor process, basically the short of it is each band member gets to have their own mix of whoever they need to hear, usually it at least consists of their own instrument, in their ears via expensive earbuds. What Andrew was really saying was "I can't hear anything that I'm playing or singing" and that's not really the best thing in the world but if you're Andrew, it's actually not the worst. For years, I've tried diligently to surround myself with people who respectively  are the best at what they do. It may come as a surprise, as it did for me, Andrew is in fact a drummer first musician. Which is remarkable! He basically plays every instrument in some iteration on every song except drums. So when he's saying the in-ears aren't working but he continues to play as if his mix was perfect speaks volumes to this guy and his talent level. It goes without saying but there are so many unsung heroes in bands. Sure, the dudes who play and who we all see are the catalyst but if it's the tour manager (Tanner), the lighting guy (Jordan) or the guitar tech (Adam), it takes a village to raise this child. So many moving pieces and I love this band for a million reasons and the first one will always be that great dudes have surrounded themselves with incredible talent in every position. 

Dudes 📷: @joeortega

A photo posted by The Maine (@themaineband) on

Despite having shot this show a couple of weeks ago, the visual of Adam running out to the pedalboards to save them from the rain or the directing of traffic by Tanner or the sound check process with Andrew and Jordan, I can recall all of this as if it was yesterday because hard work is easy to remember. As a matter of fact, that was the theme of the conversations for the day, how we work by putting our best foot forward and not taking any short cuts. That and there was a comment made by John about how Kenny from The Starting Line and Dan from Real Friends sound the same, it's officially messed with my head. Honestly, I can't tell their voices apart anymore. There's not much else to say about The Maine that hasn't already been said except that I'm extremely grateful for the chance to photograph them again and hang for a bit. In classic married with children form, I ended my night early so I could run my Babies R Us to get my daughter a pacifier since she had no functional ones available. Catch these dudes all summer on the main stage and they're also doing FREE meet and greets because they're right, it's weird to pay money to meet another human.

Below are all the pictures I sent the band. i was thinking of only picking a few but instead, I felt like sharing with you what I shared with them only felt right in this setting. 

As previously mentioned in older blogs, for those interested, I shot with my Nikon D610 body and 24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.8 and 90mm f/2.8 lenses.