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Sammy Rae and Friends befriend the UMaine Black Bears

On Friday night at 8:00 p.m., the CCA hosted their second annual indie music festival with headliner Sammy Rae and the Friends, and the local band Midnight Breakfast opened the concert. 

Madox Malaquias | The Maine Campus

When the Collins Center for the Arts doors opened at 7:15 p.m., the already long line of people began shoving their way into the theater and claiming spots up against the stage. With another 45 minutes until the show, the crowd was the only thing ready to go, as evidenced by the fact the stage’s projector was showing a game of Mario Kart being played backstage. 

By the time 8:00 p.m. rolled around, the pit took up the first four rows of seating, and many more people were scattered around the room. Jackets had been abandoned over the backs of seats as the crowd chattered over the Simon and Garfunkel song, filling time before the show started. Browns, reds, flannels, denim jackets and every floral print you could imagine made up the room. The mood was eager and eclectic and filled with hugging and excited cries every time a friend was spotted across the room.

Sam Sworts and Jordan Farnsworth were among those lining the stage, both excited to be seeing Rae live for the second time.

“We thought we were going to have to come early,” said Famsworth.

Sammy Rae and the Friends has been releasing music since 2018 and has released two EPs. They are currently in the process of creating their first studio album, and despite being an indie band, they had no shortage of fans. 

“I’ve been listening to them for a couple of years,” said graduate student Thomas Grindle. “I’ve been looking forward to this for months, and I’m sure they’ll live up to the hype.”

Rae’s performance was lively and constantly entertaining for the crowd. Between bits of synchronized choreography with the band, call-and-responses with the crowd, and playing hype-man during her bandmate’s solos, there was no shortage of energy during the nearly hour-and-a-half set.

Madox Malaquias | The Maine Campus

Of the songs played, there were fan favorites and unreleased tracks alike. Farnsworth and Sworts’ favorite song, “Denim Jacket,” and Grindle’s favorite, “Jackie Onassis,” were both on the setlist. There was also “Luck of the Draw” and “The State Song,” both of which Rae confirmed would be on the upcoming album. For the second-to-final song, there was a crowd-pleasing cover of Abba’s “Lay All Your Love on Me.”

“State Song” was the final song of the night and catered to the crowd. Rae described her love for the East Coast and Maine at the beginning of the song.

Rae was more than willing to engage with the crowd, much to their delight. Even being gifted a custom-bedazzled denim jacket with a picture of her on it. She wasn’t the only one receiving gifts, though.

“She held my hand, and she gave me her setlist,” exclaimed Katie Beal after the show, excitedly waving the paper around for her friends.

While Rae and Friends were the main attraction, Midnight Breakfast had no shortage of love thrown their way. The soul-inspired band has a 2021 self-titled album as well as an EP released in 2023.

“I love Midnight Breakfast,” said student Sonia Berghoff, “I was out front the entire time.”

As the house lights faded, the crowd and their cheers rose. The opening rows chanted as the band took up their instruments. Being up on your feet and either cheering or dancing seemed to be the standard. 

“This isn’t really a sitting sort of concert,” Grindle said.

No matter which of the bands people had come for, everyone seemed to leave more than satisfied.

“I love that they opened for Sammy Rae. They’re very similar in style and I see a lot of inspiration from Sammy Rae,” said Berghoff.

Before the show began, the CCA made sure to thank WMEB, the campus’ student-run radio station, as well as the student government for their ability to make the show possible. Special thanks were also given to Jennifer Shevlin-Fernandes, the lead singer of Midnight Breakfast and a staff member at the CCA.

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