This morning, as I got out of my car to go into the WKIT-FM studios — I’m on-air with Bobby and Mark on the “Morning Show” at 7:30 a.m. each Thursday, talking about things to do over the weekend — I smelled something.
No, it wasn’t the smell of sulfur and ash, somehow drifted to Maine from Eyjafjallajokull, the crazy Iceland volcano. Yes, I copied and pasted that name. No, it wasn’t burned hair, after a tragic straightening iron accident (actually happened, though not that morning). And it definitely wasn’t Stephen King grilling burgers in the back of the building.
It was the smell of cut grass. If the color green had a smell, it would be that. Which means spring is definitely here. Which means spring and summer concert schedules at Maine venues are being put into place. For our purposes, we’ll just go into early July — we’ll get into the rest of the season around July 9 — but for now, clear your schedules, reserve your vacation days and get ready to rock this summer.
Nateva Festival, Oxford (www.natevafestival.com)
When this show was announced back in February, all we heard was the Flaming Lips in western Maine. Now that the full lineup is out there, we know it’s a whole bunch of fantastic bands playing at Oxford Fairgrounds, July 2-4. Bands include Furthur featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, the Flaming Lips, Moe., The Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Sound Tribe Sector 9, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Umphrey’s Mcgee, Zappa Plays Zappa, Keller Williams and many more. Early-bird tickets are still available, with a weekend pass with camping working out to $219.
Port City Music Hall, Portland (www.portcitymusichall.com)
It’s a busy spring for Port City Music Hall, and the fantastic Portland venue hosts a diverse group of bands in the coming weeks. Punk band Against Me performs on April 28. Then, starting May 10, five straight days of shows are scheduled. May 10 brings the tuneful rock stylings of the ’60s-loving Dr. Dog, followed by country favorites Dierks Bentley on May 11, former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf on May 12, bluegrass-y jam band Railroad Earth on May 13, and finally poet and rapper Sage Francis on May 14. Take a little breather, and then come back on June 7 for rapper Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek. On June 22, you can hear experimental metal gods Isis play with New England rockers Cave-In. Bass legend Victor Wooten is set for June 25, and singer-songwriter Amos Lee will play on July 7.
Space Gallery, Portland (www.space538.org)
On May 6, the indie pop performing artist Khaela Maricich, better known as The Blow, will perform, followed by UK indie folk star Laura Marling on May 11. Contemporary punk rock idol Ted Leo and his band, the Pharmacists, will play on June 16, and on June 24 the indie rockers Bear in Heaven will take the stage.
One Longfellow Square (www.onelongfellowsquare.com)
Longtime punk folk songwriter Michelle Shocked will play at the intimate and inviting One Longfellow Square on May 15. Folk blues songwriter Guy Davis is set for June 11, and Maine native Catie Curtis will perform June 19.
Asylum, Portland (www.asylumportland.com)
Reggae masters Eek-a-Mouse will play at the Asylum on April 24. Twangalicious, camel-walkin’ raucous rockabilly band Southern Culture on the Skids will play on May 19, followed up shortly by rockabilly-on-speed king the Reverend Horton Heat on May 25, who will play with ’90s alternative heroes Cracker. On June 11, jam band fans can groove out to Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.
He’s a joker, smoker and midnight toker, even after 30-something years: the Steve Miller Band will play at the CCCC on June 2. American Idol rejects turned testosterone rockers Daughtry also will play there on June 17. And, if you’d like to relive the early ’90s, you can go see Korn play with Maine rockers Dead Season on May 8.
Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield (www.stonemountainartscenter.com)
Craggy-voiced folksinger Greg Brown plays here on May 7, followed by bluegrass pickers Crooked Still on May 21. Sara Watkins of the dearly beloved indie bluegrass group Nickel Creek will play on June 17.
Bowdoin College, Brunswick (www.bowdoin.edu)
Back in the day, most colleges had a big spring show, before the semester is over. Not so much anymore, but at least Bowdoin carries the torch: on Saturday, May 1, the Brunswick school will host a full day of music, including ’90s ska band Reel Big Fish and hot new indie electro band Passion Pit. On May 12, the critically acclaimed electro-rock band Free Energy, hot off a well-received set at the South by Southwest Festival, will perform there as well.