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Rock bands flock to Skate Against Drugs

By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

Think of it as one-stop shopping for all your rock ’n’ roll needs. The 2010 Skate Against Drugs, sponsored by Bangor Public Health and Wellness, Moxie, WHSN 89.3 FM and New Empire Apparel, is set for noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 1, at the Bangor Skate Park at Bass Park. The event will feature nine bands from all over Maine and New England. It’s supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny out. Oh, and it’s free. Epic win. Here’s what you’ll hear if you go:

Our Last Night The lead singer of this New Hampshire post-hard-core band is 17-year-old Trevor Wentworth. He joined the band in 2004, when he was 11. When I was 11, I was taping “Ren & Stimpy” off the TV. Anyway, the band has released two EPs and two full-lengths, the latter of which were released on legendary punk record label Epitaph. All before everyone in the band has graduated high school. It’s heavy, blistering hard-core performed by five lifelong musicians.

Vanna Also on Epitaph Records, this Boston post-hard-core band released its most recent album, “A New Hope,” one year ago, garnering them even more following among fans of the hard-core scene. They’ve played on the Warped Tour three times and remained devoted to their fans by offering Web-only content on their MySpace page, www.myspace.com/vanna.

A Loss For Words One of the pop punk bands in the lineup, A Loss For Words, also is based out of Massachusetts, but unlike many they have toured extensively outside of the U.S., including Russia and Japan. They’re known for their diverse cover songs, including a hilarious remake of Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry” and a planned Motown cover album.

Too Late The Hero The first Maine band on the list, Berwick’s Too Late the Hero has been around since 2003. It’s a group of working-class kids from southern Maine who have put out three albums and been a staple of the punk scene in New England for years. They’re really good songwriters, and they’re wicked nice guys, too, as they’ve put on a number of benefit shows for the Invisible Children Foundation, donating every cent of ticket sales to the organization.

Legend Has It Let’s hear it for the Bangor boys! These guys have been rocking it for a few years now and just this year released “No More Games,” their first professional EP. It’s bouncy, shout-along pop punk for the masses with lots of energy and good vibes. Brian Keezer, drummer for the band, is co-owner of Skate Against Drugs sponsor New Empire Apparel, which creates original designs for T-shirts and gives all of the profits to different charities.

Wolves Among Sleep This band’s MySpace page (www.myspace.com/wolvesamongsleep) says they hail from “The Dirty North.” Guess that means Bangor, since these guys have been making music in the area for quite a while. Wolves Among Sleep play a more soulful kind of hard-core, combining great melodies with searing, heavy guitar lines.

Beyond City Lights Based out of Boston, these guys landed a spot on this year’s Warped Tour, and after playing Grange Halls, American Legions and small clubs, they’ll head out on June 25 for a summer of gigantic outdoor arenas. And they’re still unsigned — as of this week, anyway. Beyond City Lights play positive, fun pop punk, with some serious technical chops and songwriting skills. Listen to them online at www.myspace.com/beyondcitylightsma.

Spies Like Us They’ve been together for only a year, and already they’re opening for big-name acts and have released an album. Not bad for some high school friends from Salem, N.H. They call themselves melodic hard-core, and they’re definitely up and coming in the New England scene.

Lie Still Sufferer Another group out of the Bangor area, they plan to spend most of June recording their first EP, “Caregiver,” in Massachusetts. Expect lots more from them this fall as they tour to support that album.

For information about Skate Against Drugs, look up the event on Facebook. There also will be a skating competition all day during the show.

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