The home stretch for the weeklong KahBang Festival is upon us, and the past two days have been chock full of all kinds of festivities. Thursday night saw both the KahBang Pre-Game Party at the Sea Dog and the arts mixer at the Kaleidoscope Gallery. The Sea Dog featured five bands, including Marion Grace, the Class Machine, the Wandas, the Okay Win and Jenna Campbell. The schedule of the bands was a little screwy, and the Class Machine and Marion Grace got switched around, but overall it was a laid-back affair. The nice weather meant the bands got to play outside, too, so there was ample room for dancing.
Is there a better reflection of the diversity of KahBang than Marion Grace’s beautiful cello-laced indie rock going right up against the Class Machine’s hard-edged garage punk? I don’t think so. Especially considering the fact that just up the street at the Kaleidoscope Gallery there was the Newport duo the Thrifways playing stripped down blues rock a la the White Stripes, as well as DJ Thom Cosgrove, who spun a groovy set of downtempo electronica.
Friday, of course, is day one of the two-day music festival on the Bangor Waterfront, and the afternoon crowd was chilled-out and well-behaved, sipping lemonade and ambling between the three stages. Highlights are too numerous to mention here, but to name just a few, there was definitely a lot of love for Rhymesayers rapper Blueprint’s 4 p.m. performance. Featuring a DJ, a bearded bass player and Blueprint’s intelligent lyrics and keyboard playing, it was certainly one of the most memorable of the day.
The band DOM, who played directly after Blueprint, were one of the nicest surprises of the festival so far. Their deliciously catchy, sometimes even dreamy indie rock recalled the Cure, the Smiths and 1980s and 90s shoegazer bands, with a shiny pop sheen. In the Dispatch ME stage, which features all Maine bands all day, Dean Ford showed off his crowdpleasing pop, which has taken a turn for the funky and the glam rock with Ford’s new David Bowie-inspired hair and makeup. The direction he’s taking is an intriguing one; it’ll be interesting to see where he goes with it. And Dance Atlantic, comprised of former members of Mainers the Bay State, played emo-tinged rock with a straight up house music edge — like Daft Punk meets Panic at the Disco.
There’s loads more to come this weekend, though, so stay tuned to bangordailynews.com for all your KahBang news!