Considering all nine days are jam-packed with bands, movies and other cool events, it’s easy to take a look at the KahBang Festival schedule and not know where to start. Where to go? What to see? Here are my personal suggestions for your KahBang week, ranging from dirty garage rock to country-punk to electronic dance parties. Of course, you’re going to want to see all the big-name headliners, but these are some lesser-known gems that will be just as satisfying. Get some sleep; you’re gonna need it to keep up with this lineup.
9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, KahBang Kickoff Concert, West Market Square
If you never caught these guys playing at both previous years of KahBang, then you seriously missed out. Clark Westfield and Puppy Mills (yes, his name is Puppy) are a high-energy, borderline insane guitar-drum duo from New Jersey who will melt your faces off. They’ve played every year of KahBang by audience demand. I’m not sure who loves whom more: Bangor or the Gay Blades. You do not want to miss their free set in West Market Square Saturday night.
Aug. 5-7, Union Street Brick Church and Bangor Opera House
No, it’s not live music — but one of the categories for this year’s film festival is specifically for music docs. “Bob and the Monster,” about rocker Thelonious Monster and his battle with drug addiction, is set for 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 at the Bangor Opera House. “Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale,” about KahBang headliners My Morning Jacket performing with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Union Street Brick Church. “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone,” about the legendary funk-punk band, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Brick Church, followed by “Kevin,” by director Jay Duplass, about Texan singer-songwriter Kevin Gant, who mysteriously disappeared in the mid-1990s.
10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, Ipanema Bar & Grill
This super-cool trio from Asheville, N.C. is made up of Stephanie Morgan, Chuck Lichtenberger and Bangor native Tim Haney. They play absolutely gorgeous, complex, jazz-inflected indie rock. If you remember the band Cabin from last year and how well-received they were, then think of Stephaniesid as this year’s Cabin — unique, multitalented and playing everywhere. They’ve got four gigs over the week of KahBang, but Tuesday’s Ipanema show will be the most intimate.
10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, Paddy Murphy’s
One of the best new bands to come on the Portland scene, the Milkman’s Union play focused, awfully pretty indie rock, at once moody and atmospheric but grounded. Think a more stripped down Yo La Tengo. Henry Jamison, Peter McLaughlin and Alex Hernandez have played Bangor and points north several times this year; see them in their full glory Wednesday night at Paddy’s.
10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, Pre-Game Event, Sea Dog Brewing Company
What? You haven’t witnessed the epic rock fury that is the Class Machine? Nathan Raleigh and Cody Tibbetts bring the noise with their blend of garage rock, punk and a dash of metal — all contained within some excellent songwriting. Think the Black Keys meets Motorhead. The Belfast duo are, quite frankly, my favorite band currently performing in the state of Maine. Oh yeah, I said it. Gauntlet thrown.
9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, Dispatch ME Stage
It’s been a while since I’ve brought up Huak in this column, and that is totally my bad, as they’ve only gotten leaner, meaner and better in the ensuing years. The stop-on-a-dime rhythmic dynamics and impassioned songwriting bring to mind Fugazi and Mission of Burma, the latter of which they’ve shared a stage with. If you only see a few of the many bands set for the Dispatch ME stage this year, make Huak one of them.
1:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13, Dispatch ME Stage
I love these guys! They play good ol’ fashioned rockabilly cow-punk, with nods to Elvis and Johnny Cash, as well as the Misfits and Hank Williams III. Pete Witham is a native of the Pittsfield area and has been based out of Portland for several years now, where he met his band of theatrical, chicken-plucking musicians. Get to the Waterfront early on Saturday and make sure you check these guys out.
10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, Nocturnem Drafthaus
The brilliant, big-voiced Lady Lamb, aka Aly Spaltro, may be playing on the main stage at KahBang during the day on Saturday, but the best opportunity to see her will be Saturday night, when she plays an intimate set at Nocturnem Drafthaus. Her densely poetic lyrics and out-of-this-world vocals will be right there in front of you, to enjoy fully. A rare treat.
1 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, KahBang Campsite, Hermon
If you’re still up and ready to keep raging, then head over to the KahBang Campsite near the Sports Arena in Hermon and check out some of the many great DJs and performers, like Mainers DJ Les and DJ KTF, and a late-night set from Lazerdisk Party Sex, the Vermont-based DJ duo who have been pleasing crowds at festivals across the country since last summer. How often do you get to stay up all night dancing in Bangor? When KahBang happens, that’s when.