First Fleet Concerts presents
A Rocket To The Moon, This Century, Brighten
504 E. Locust St,
Des Moines, IA, 50309
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 6:30 PM
This event is all ages
You're the type who knows what music is all about: the careful melodies, the heartfelt lyrics, the catchy hooks and vocal harmonies. To you, it doesn't matter whether a band wear matching t-shirts or whether they take the stage sporting the latest trend. It's all about the music. And that's a good thing, because The Maine feel the very same way.
Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, The Maine throw their hearts and souls into making genuinely good music, no matter the image. Noted for their fun, fresh rock and smart mix of originality and polished talent, The Maine creates the type of music you want to play with the windows rolled down, the wind whipping through your hair, and the warm sun on your face. With down-to-earth lyrics and a bright energy, it's no surprise that success has come quickly for the rock quintet, who forged their identity as a band before some members had even finished high school.
The group got its start in early 2007, when bass player Garrett Nickelsen and drummer Pat Kirch teamed up on a new project. Knowing they needed to find a great vocalist, they asked their friend John O'Callaghan to audition during a local party and decided he was a perfect fit. The stage was set for an exciting tour and The Maine made their way across the nation, burning up every night as they attempted to sleep in their hot Suburban. Joined by guitarist and vocalist Kennedy Brock not long into the tour, The Maine rounded out the lineup when they asked guitarist Jared Monaco to become a part of the band.
The Maine's abilities and efforts hadn't gone unnoticed on the road. Fearless Records president Bob Becker had taken note of the memorable group after seeing them play their first show in Southern California. As soon as the tour ended, The Maine decided to sign with the label. With Fearless behind them, Pat and Garrett worked to finish high school while the band set its sights on an EP. Playing as many shows as they could, The Maine tackled their first EP while maintaining a strong presence online, building a solid relationship with fans as they spent hours on MySpace every night. "Our main focus from the beginning was definitely to respond to as many messages as we could," says Monaco. "It helped get the word out, and we connected with the kids."
Released in December 2007, The Maine's debut EP The Way We Talk debuted at #6 on the iTunes Top 100 Alternative Chart and shot to #10 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. It sold more than 50,000 copies, prompting Alternative Press Magazine to laud them as one of the "Bands You Need to Know in 2008."
It wasn't long before the group dove into their first full-length, heading into the studio with producer Matt Squire (Panic at the Disco, All Time Low) and mixed by Chris Lord Alge (Green Day, My Chemical Romance). Released July 8, 2008, The Maine's debut full-length Can't Stop Won't Stop showcases a deeper exploration of the band's range and depth, reflecting on stories of life and relationships while expressing, with a smile, an appreciation of the good times and the tough times. "We know there's going to be bumps in the road," John says, "but what would life be without those? It wouldn't be fun. We want to inspire people not to take life for granted, not take it too seriously." Things aren't always as bad as they seem, Kennedy adds. "The title explains our mentality. We don't ever want to take steps backward and we never want to stop being enthusiastic. Having a positive outlook is important."
The Maine's upbeat message is an important one for their fans. "The kids who say 'Your music has done something for me,' seeing that connection translate at shows when we talk to kids afterward, those are the standout moments," says John. "They make me realize why we do this." As a young band, adds Pat, The Maine hope to connect with fans on a personal level. "Our focus is to interact with our listeners, to turn them into friends rather than fans. We want to be able to hang out with our friends, because we're really just one of them-- we just happen to play music and tour."
The band hit the road hard supporting the album, touring with All Time Low, Good Charlotte and Boys Like Girls, as well as selling out rooms with a co-headlining spot (along with 3Oh!3) on the Alternative Press Tour. Their legwork paid off: Can't Stop Won't Stop has sold over 80k copies so far.
The Maine has also seen great success on television and on the big screen. The video for "Everything I Ask For" off Can't Stop Won't Stop was featured on MTV's Discover and Download, and their songs have been featured in MTV shows such as The Hills, Real World, Parental Control, and Bromance.
Warner Bros. Records caught the enthusiasm of The Maine, signing them in May 2009. On July 14, 2009 Fearless Records will be releasing a deluxe edition of Can't Stop Won't Stop which features a remix, an acoustic track and a cover of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me", as well as two music videos and a 30-minute documentary on the band.
The Maine's new album Black & White was released by Warner Bros. Records on July 13th, 2010.
A Rocket To The Moon
Looking back now, it's difficult to believe that A Rocket To Moon all started in Nick Santino's bedroom three years ago when he harmlessly posted a few songs on the Internet. However what began as an electro-tinged sonic experiment quickly snowballed into a full-fledged band that's toured with acts like 3OH!3 and Cobra Starship, played festivals like the Vans Warped Tour and Bamboozle and gained fans all over the world. "I never actually intended for A Rocket To The Moon to get this far," Santino admits, adding he couldn't be more thrilled about the current incarnation of the band. "I always wanted to take it to the next level and put a couple of guys in the act instead of having all the focus on me, so after Bamboozle '08 we started performing as a full band and right now the sound is perfect."
The current incarnation of A Rocket To The Moon—Santino, guitarist Justin Richards, bassist Eric Halvorsen and former The Receiving End Of Sirens drummer Andrew Cook—have put their collective experiences into the band's full-length debut On Your Side, an instantly infectious collection of upbeat pop music that was produced by Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Boys Like Girls). "We had never recorded a full-length before and we learned so much from working with Matt," Santino explains, adding that On Your Side was recorded in a scant seventeen days—a fact that only adds to the album's sense of urgency. "We did it really quickly but we didn't feel any pressure because we spent so much time preparing before we went into the studio," he continues. "Justin and I are big country fans, so it's got that feel to it mixed with a '90s pop-rock kind of vibe; it's just an all-round fun album that doesn't fit into one genre."
From heartfelt piano ballads such as "Like We Used To" to energized radio-friendly rockers like "Dakota" and electronica-inflected tracks like "Sometimes," On Your Side is an exercise in versatility that shows how much the band have evolved as musicians and songwriters over the past few years. "There are so many different styles of music on this record, but I think Matt Squire helped us pull it off tastefully so it definitely all still sounds like A Rocket To The Moon," Santino says. "One of my favorite songs is "Like We Used To" because it has a lot of pedal steel and banjo on it, which is something that's totally new for us," he beams. "What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good love song."
Lyrically On Your Side is a concept album of sorts that pits the characters of "Dakota"—the protagonist of the band's breakthrough single—against "Annabelle" (the new album's opening track). "We kind of developed this theme that all the negative songs are about this character Annabelle and all the love songs are about Dakota—and that concept just came together when we were in the studio," Santino explains, "I think the album is a good balance of those two dueling feelings." While On Your Side is rooted in personal experience, the band were careful not too make the songs too literal in order to allow each listener the opportunity to have his or her own unique interpretation. "A lot of the time Justin and I will find ourselves making up stories or writing from other people's points of view and I really think that's the beauty of writing songs," Santino explains." You can do whatever you want, so why limit yourself?"
This attitude carries over into the band's mission statement—and from their inception A Rocket To The Moon have never had any interest in pigeonholing themselves into one style. "I think it's pretty awesome that we're able to tap a couple of genres instead of getting stuck in just one," Santino says. "Your options are pretty much unlimited if you can do a radio tour with a band like the Fray and then come back and tour with Boys Like Girls and Cobra Starship and have all different types of listeners embrace your music," he continues, adding that the restless band are already working on songs for their next album. "We just want to try new things and crossover into different places; one of the most validating things you can experience as a musician is to turn listeners on to something they wouldn't normally be exposed to on their own."
Speaking of which, the band's connection with their fans runs deep, a fact that has helped separate the act from their peers and forge lasting relationships. "A lot of bands have different onstage and offstage personalities, but we are always true to ourselves and try to get the fans as involved in the band as possible," Santino says, adding that he personally mailed out copies of his debut EP to fans who supported him when A Rocket To The Moon was just starting out. "We go up there and be ourselves and don't pretend to be rockstars; our job is to bring music to our fans, not to act like we're better than them and that's something I think people can really sense."
"I just can't wait to get these songs into people's hands," Santino responds when asked how he feels for the album to finally be completed after all the work that's gone into the On Your Side. "We got the masters back the other day and I was sitting there with a big smile on my face as I listened to it. I was thinking, 'You just recorded with one of the best producers around and you're about to release a real record—and a couple of years ago you were just sitting in your bedroom at your parents' house not doing anything,'" he explains, taking a moment to reflect on the band's whirlwind success that is looking to only grow more dizzying upon On Your Side's release. "It's been an amazing ride so far and I can't wait to see what happens next."
This Century is a pop rock band from Tempe, Arizona. The members are Joel Kanitz (vocals), Alex Silverman (bass), Sean Silverman (guitar) and Ryan Gose (drums)
Brighten is an up and coming band with a lot of potential. They've got catchy lyrics and without a label they've been doing pretty well on their own. There is not only one way to interpret Brighten and who they are. Take Jimmy Eat World and stir in a little James Taylor, add a little Get Up Kids and top with a pinch of Phil Collins and out comes Brighten. They are rock and roll boys that you can take home to mom. They also perform amazingly.