Sunshine, a pleasant breeze and diverse music filled the Bangor Waterfront on Saturday as day two of the KahBang Festival started early in the afternoon. Around 1,000 people came in and out of festival grounds throughout the day, with the crowd swelling to between 2,000 and 3,000 by the end of the evening for headliners My Morning Jacket and Chromeo.
While Chromeo’s set of irresistibly funky 80s-inspired pop brought concert-goers to their feet for a dance party, My Morning Jacket’s closing set got off to an interesting start. Something appeared a bit off when a huge stuffed bear wearing a t-shirt was placed in the drummer’s seat.
The rest of the band came out on stage a half-hour later than scheduled. After playing the first song sans drummer, vocalist and guitarist Jim James told the crowd that drummer Patrick Hallahan had an allergic reaction to some shellfish that afternoon and would be unable to perform that evening.
The rest of the band, however, was game to soldier on for an all-acoustic set, playing some of the prettiest reverb-drenched southern soul rock ’n’ roll out there for about an hour. Despite the lack of drummer, it still packed a gorgeous melodic and rhythmic punch.
KahBang organizers heard about the lobster problem later in the day.
“It happened sometime this afternoon. They had some lobster and the drummer had an unusual reaction to it, and they waiting as long as they could before he decided he couldn’t play,” said Joshua Gass, creative director for KahBang. “It definitely speaks to what a great band they are that they can come up with an acoustic set on the fly in a very short amount of time. It’s a treat for MMJ fans, for sure.”
Before the unfortunate shellfish incident, members of the band were spotted in downtown Bangor at Giacomo’s, the Rock & Art Shop and Antiques Marketplace.
“I feel like all the bands really explored Bangor more this year,” said Gass. “Jim James came back with a bunch of antiques. They’re all such good dudes. It was just cool to see.”
Prior to My Morning Jacket and Chromeo’s headlining set, festival-goers enjoyed the picture perfect weather and laid-back vibe, while still buzzing about the previous night’s epic performances. Bands ranged from the crisp, jangly indie rock of Florida’s Surfer Blood to Massachusetts jam-rock favorites the Brew. The wood-fired pizza stand was a huge hit with festival-goers and could barely keep up with the demand for their huge, crispy slices.
South Berwick residents Carter Innes, Brady Innes and Colin Tutelian all came north for both days of the festival and for all the bands — but especially to see Atmosphere, Lupe Fiasco, Chromeo and Maine rapper Spose. Spose performed a high-energy midafternoon set on the Dispatch ME stage with Portland funk powerhouse Sly Chi.
“Spose is my bro,” said Brady Innes, 14. “I’ve seen him in Portsmouth and he’s awesome. Tonight, when Chromeo is on, I’m going to dance with anyone that comes by. I can’t wait.”
His brother, Carter Innes, 18, said KahBang was his first multiday music festival.
“I think it’s pretty awesome that there’s something like this in Maine,” he said. “We’re really lucky to be able to see all these people.”
KahBang organizer Chris Michaud said late afternoon that the day was running as expected, and that the festival tends to fill up once the sun goes down.
“That tends to be the case. The daytime is super chill, and then the night just explodes,” said Michaud. “All the bands so far this year have been incredibly fun and easy to work with. Everyone is in a great mood.”
Michaud said that there were just as many walk-up tickets sold as those sold in advance. Chromeo and My Morning Jacket fans showed up around 8 p.m. to partake in the evening’s performances, but most of the people in attendance during the afternoon were in it for the whole weekend and had planned to come for weeks.
“I won tickets off the Hot Water Music Blog,” said C.J. Bearse, 24, of Milford. “I’ve definitely been planning this for a while. Atmosphere was amazing last night.”
Tessa Roscoe, 24, of Bangor, was especially excited to see Mainer Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, who performed at 4 p.m. on the main stage.
“She’s amazing. I saw her last month at the State Theatre in Portland and she blew me away,” said Roscoe. “She has an incredible voice. I’m psyched to see people like that in Bangor.”
Both Friday and Saturday nights continued well past the 11-ish end of the Waterfront shows, with bands playing in bars downtown. Saturday’s KahBang at Night sets included an intimate performance from Lady Lamb at Nocturnem Drafthaus, Portland indie rockers Brenda playing at Ipanema and DJ Miss Thang at KahBang’s official closing party at Zen Asian Bistro. Since Tuesday night, the KahBang at Night shows, film events at the Bangor Opera House and Union Street Brick Church and social events and bands at the Kaleidoscope Gallery at One Merchant Plaza had brought hundreds of people into downtown Bangor.
Though there were ups and downs, the week of KahBang closed on a positive note. Organizer Gass said he’d be glad to get some sleep but was thrilled with the event as a whole.
“It’s been a long week, but it’s been a great week,” he said.