There’s lots of KahBang-ing around town to be done this week in Bangor, and I’ve been doing my best to keep up with the myriad events in multiple venues. Sunday and Monday brought into focus the film festival, with five films Sunday at the Union Street Brick Church, starting with the music documentary “Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale” and ending with “Groundhog Day,” the crowd-pleasing selection from the “Murray vs. Murray” Bill Murray-centric category. More Murray movie magic was to be had with Monday’s screening of his lesser known 1980s film “Quick Change.”
Tuesday saw a flurry of activity as KahBang@Nite activities began to ramp up, and the film festival continued with the movie “Dying to Do Letterman” at the Bangor Opera House, which benefited the cancer research group Champion the Cure. At Ipanema in downtown Bangor the band Stephaniesid played their second of four total sets during KahBang. The weeknight crowd was unusually large and receptive, and was clearly paying attention to and enjoying the band, despite the crowd volume. The band, comprised of vocalist and guitarist Stephanie Morgan, keyboardist Chuck Lichtenberger and drummer and Bangor native Tim Haney, create a sound that weaves together indie pop, jam-band technicality and Morgan’s totally unique vocals. Her voice lands somewhere in between Bjork and Regina Spektor, with the former’s virtuosic, octave-jumping weirdness and the latter’s odd, sometimes cutesy phrasing.
But Morgan has plenty of soul in her as well, as evidenced on the gospel-inspired breakdowns throughout the set, and her hard-charging guitar playing. Haney’s lock-tight drumming kept the music grounded, while Lichtenberger’s piano solos opened up each song to more melodic possibilities. They’re a very good, very crowd-pleasing band, and they were certainly an excellent pick to play in downtown Bangor on a weeknight.
There’s lots of new things about KahBang this year, from the campsite in Hermon to the new weeknight events. But, for me, the single coolest addition to the festival this year is the Kaleidoscope Gallery in downtown Bangor. If you haven’t been in yet, please do yourself and do Bangor a favor and take a look. Kate Dawson, Megan Shorette and Alicia Champlin took an all-but-abandoned corporate building and filled the entire first floor with often challenging, often humorous, always engaging art from multiple media. There are many highlights, but the people I heard talking at last night’s Bangor Greendrinks at the gallery were struck by everything from Rama Brown’s artfully exploded guitars and cellos to a haunting installation by Maddy Ray to the gorgeously designed t-shirts by the TEAM TEAM collective. Autumn Tierney, who by day is a tattoo artist at Riverview Tattoo in Brewer, showcases some of her wickedly dark and funny paintings. Taylor’s Bone’s large painting of a prisoner being choked has generated a bit of controversy – but only because of the powerful message it sends.
What may be coolest about the gallery is how an empty building in downtown Bangor has been transformed into an uplifting and visually striking art space. It’s only up through Sunday, so take the half-hour out of your day after work to see it. You’ll be glad you did. It’s something for Bangor to be proud of, and we can only hope that it’s just the beginning of future creative spaces in the city.
I’ll be writing more about each day’s KahBang events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so come back to bangordailynews.com/kahbang for updates!