You would have thought the new Twilight movie was premiering by the looks of Pollack Tempe Cinemas last night, as a line of girl-after-teenage girl winded around the theater. They were actually there to catch a glimpse of the oh-so-dreamy local band The Maine, who also happen to have a record deal with Warner Bros. Records and were showing off their latest endeavor, the short film In Darkness and In Light.
The movie was co-written by The Maine singer John O'Callaghan and scored by the band, who conceived the plot when thinking about a treatment for a new music video. Four minutes wasn't enough for what The Maine wanted to achieve, so they set out on making a mini-movie, about 20 minutes long, complete with a cast of 25 children, polished editing skills and pretty landscapes.
Before the film, O'Callaghan and guitarist Jared Monaco played one acoustic song, a holiday track called "Ho, Ho, Hopefully" (see video below.) The band was scheduled to perform four tracks, but O'Callaghan told the overwhelmingly underage audience he was hungover from drinking so much the night before. Considering how much these teenage girls look up to him, it's a little disappointing he doesn't care about being much of a role model (he later advocated drug use.) But oh, well--he's still super-dreamy!
Then the screen lit up, and The Maine's "Inside of You" video played, sort of as a warm-up, I guess. Next up was a video of an acoustic performance of "Growing Up," complete with the kids featured in the film serving up back-up vocals. It was super-cute, since the song related to children, except for the part where they all sang about drinking alcohol. That was funny, though.
Then the audience was treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Maine's latest album, Black and White. It was a short little documentary that featured interviews and in-studio footage, and it was cute. The fans definitely were into it, laughing at many scenes and completely focused on the documentary. It also showed off just what a talented songwriter and guitarist Monaco is, which was insightful.
Then, the film premiered. There wasn't much of a story to it--basically, a group of children live in an abandoned world that is presided over by an evil queen (who is also a child). One group of dissenters wage war with the evil army, but the audience doesn't know why they're fighting nor who to root for, other than one side wears white, one side wears black (like the album title, get it?)
The story was weak, and no lessons were really learned from it, but the cinematography was pretty beautiful for what had to have been a meager budget. The costumes were great, and the child actors were precious and talented, and it was fun to watch even though the plot was lacking.
What's striking is that this young band has the drive to show off their creativity in a format other than performing on an album or on-stage. The music in the film was appropriate and beautiful and very different from the pop rock sounds you're used to from the band. They did an excellent job scoring it and would be fit to handle scoring a major motion picture.
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And maybe that's what's next for the band. As much as the group strives to stay out of a "scene" and make original music, Black and White fits right in with just about any other young good-looking band with pop hooks. But In Darkness and In Light makes them stand apart from their peers, and that is impressive.
For more info on the film, which is scheduled for wide release December 29, see www.wearethemaine.net.