Through misty and, at times, rainy weather and a handful of scheduling mishaps, the overall vibe of the 2012 KahBang Festival on the Bangor Waterfront and in downtown was one of laid-back summertime fun, and lots and lots of dancing. Three stages of music kept alive the now four-year-long tradition of an eclectic lineup and a youth-friendly atmosphere.
Headliners Wale, the Deftones and Bassnectar brought about 4,000 people to the Waterfront on Friday, and approximately 7,000 on Saturday, to hear music ranging from the epic electronic music of Bassnectar, Lazerdisk Party Sex and Paper Diamond to heavy rock from the Deftones, hip-hop from Wale, Astronautilus and Maine’s own Spose, to eclectic regional indie rock from the likes of Pearl and the Beard, Bangor band When Particles College, the Other Bones, Black Taxi, My Pet Dragon and four-time KahBang artists the Gay Blades.
Friday’s concert, though slow to start, picked up steam as rapper Wale and beloved hard rockers the Deftones closed the night out, preceded by the high-energy, delightfully funky bands Reptar and Bad Rabbits. Maine favorites including the Mallett Brothers Band and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper were complemented by up and coming regional bands like MiniBoone, Darlingside and Late Cambrian.
Aside from music, there were a wealth of other activities, including a demo bout from Bangor Roller Derby, a skateboard demo from local skaters, a graffiti tag wall, chainsaw art from Pasco Grove, movies in an air-conditioned tent and an art auction from KahBang Arts. The audience was overall very young — concertgoers in the under-21 section of the field vastly outnumbered those in the legal-drinking-age section.
Neon clothes, crazy hats and costumes and seemingly boundless energy to dance were the order of the day on Saturday, while Friday was more about listening and rocking out. After the Waterfront festivities were over, concert-goers headed downtown to check out more festival bands at bars and venues around town — or they went to the KahBang campsite in Hermon to dance the night away to late night DJ sets from Lazerdisk Party Sex and Portland’s Of The Trees.
The festival kicked off on Thursday with a well-attended free concert in West Market Square featuring an array of Maine bands, ranging from Lincoln-via-Portland songwriter Jacob Augustine to electro-pop acts Sunset Hearts and A Severe Joy. There was also a brewer’s festival in Pickering Square with more music and beer and other brewed beverages from Maine makers.