Change can be a good thing. I like it when things I previously appreciated are made bigger, better, faster, more efficient. It does take a little getting used to, however. So when my editor suggested we move Rockin’ Out to Tuesday, from its original run date of Friday, I was a little leery at first.
Since 2005, Friday has been my day, where we talk about Maine’s music scene, and I crack lame jokes and name-drop obscure bands, like the rock nerd that I am. Will you folks who have always read my ramblings switch over to the new day? Yes, of course you will — and in fact, it’s a much better idea because it gives you an extra three days to plan to see all the bands and artists we talk about within this column.
So, welcome to the new Tuesday edition of Rockin’ Out. Different rock time, same rock channel. Now, here’s some cool stuff happening around the state in the next two months!
The lineup for this fall at the State Theatre is just ridiculous. I mean, really. For starters, the Warren Haynes Band will play on Sept. 10. British dance-rockers Cut Copy, along with hyped indie band Washed Out, are set for Sept. 14. Blues guitarist Jonny Lang will play on Sept. 16. Jam band heroes Umphrey’s McGee takes the stage on Sept. 17, and more jam band action continues on Sept. 23 with Lotus. The Fab Faux, a Beatles tribute band featuring more than half of Conan O’Brien’s late night band, will play on Sept. 24, and Keb Mo’ will perform on Sept. 28. And that’s just September.
October brings the recently sold-out appearance by alt-funk gods Primus on Oct. 2, so you better make friends with somebody who’s got an extra ticket. Then there’s a jazz singer-songwriter double bill, with Madeleine Peyroux and Nellie McKay on Oct. 6. Hanson still exists, and they’re playing on Oct. 11. Wildly popular DJs Skrillex are set for Oct. 12. Amos Lee will play on Oct. 20. A Rat Pack tribute show is set for Oct. 21, and the Royal Family Ball, featuring Soulive, Lettuce and possibly local legend Nigel Hall, will go up on Oct. 22.
The amazing psychedelic experience that is the Flaming Lips will play with indie songwriter Kurt Vile on Oct. 24. And then, finally, there’s a one-two-three punch of Stephen Stills on Oct. 25, Yonder Mountain String on Oct. 26, and Panic! At the Disco on Oct. 28. See? I told you it was a ridiculous lineup.
While the State Theatre has size on its side, Port City is easily the best club in Portland. Check out JJ Grey and Mofro on Sept. 15, Dirty White Hats on Sept. 23, and Rubblebucket on Sept. 29. In October, Afrobeat-influenced jam band Toubab Krewe will play on Oct. 2, ska survivors the Toasters are set for Oct. 5, and EOTO will take the stage on Oct. 8. Two former members of the Black Crowes will play at Port City in October; Rich Robinson on Oct. 12, and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood on Oct. 19. In between that is the Spin Doctors, who also still exist, on Oct. 18, and reggae supergroup John Brown’s Body on Oct. 20. October closes out with North Mississippi Allstars on Oct. 23 and Rachel Yamagata on Oct. 24.
Bangor Waterfront and Androscoggin Bank Colisee ( waterfrontconcerts.com)
We may be getting into fall, but outdoor concert season isn’t over yet. The Dropkick Murphys, of course, are set for Sept. 10 on the Bangor Waterfront along with a ton of other Celtic rock bands. Reba McIntire will perform on Sept. 17, and George Thorogood and the Destroyers will play on Sept. 23. And then Pretty Lights, the Internet sensation electronic musician, will perform at the Colisee in Lewiston on Sept. 25.
There’s several great shows at this western Maine venue this fall, including Shemekia Copeland on Sept. 22, Asleep at the Wheel on Oct. 2, Crooked Still on Oct. 6, Peter Wolf on Oct. 7 and 8, and Hot Club of Cowtown on Oct. 13. A week or so later, there’s Dar Williams on Oct. 21, Martin Sexton on Oct. 27, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on Oct. 30.
Other neat venues around the state
The Space Gallery in Portland hosts lots of great film and art events, and there’s some awesome rock shows too, such as punk rock marching band the What Cheer? Brigade on Sept. 10, psych-rockers Oneida on Sept. 17, alternative bluegrass band O’Death on Sept. 18, Dark Dark Dark and a A Hawk and a Hacksaw on Sept. 26, Screaming Females on Oct. 11, and Modern Lovers frontman and underground legend Johnathan Richman on Oct. 12. There’s also a super-special show at the Skowhegan Opera House on Oct. 15, featuring singer-songwriter Andrew Bird and Dosh; tickets are available at the State Theatre box office. Merrill Auditorium in Portland has a couple cool concerts this fall, including the Moody Blues on Sept. 13 and Jackson Browne solo on Oct. 5.