If push came to shove, I could downsize my lifestyle. No more dinners out. Buck night at Movie Magic in Bangor instead of a full-price theater (and no popcorn). Frozen green beans instead of fresh. The $8 bottle of wine instead of the $10. But you’ll have to pry my coffee from my cold, dead, under-caffeinated, extremely irritable hands.
I admit, I spend easily 15 bucks a week, if not more, on coffee from various establishments around town. Making my own coffee would cut back on that, except for one small factor: I do already. And once I’ve finished that, I go to the coffee shop around the corner and buy more.
My fiance, even more of a coffee fiend than I am, roasts his own beans. For Christmas last year, we got an espresso machine, a new drip coffee maker and a new French press. I’d say I drink an average of about 140 ounces of coffee each week — one gallon and 12 ounces. And that’s a conservative estimate. If I cut that even by a third down to a little less than 100 ounces, I’d save who knows how much each week.
And yet, I don’t particularly want to stop. It’s an affordable luxury. And were I to cut back, or cut it out of my lifestyle entirely, you wouldn’t want to be around me. Not only would I be incredibly cranky, I would probably forget how to read or how to tie my shoelaces. I sometimes think caffeine is partially responsible for most successes I’ve had in my life.
You have to prioritize. Coffee is one of my priorities, as are food, shelter, peace, love and generalized grooviness. And, of course, rock ’n’ roll — another thing I consider an affordable luxury, if not a necessity. You too can figure out what’s important to you, and choose which shows in Maine you’ll be heading down to in the next couple of months. I know I’ve got a nice long list to pick from.
Port City Music Hall, Portland
Mates of State, that other husband-and-wife keyboard-and-drum duo besides Matt and Kim, will play here on Feb. 18. On Feb. 28, the bluegrass-influenced rock band Carbon Leaf will perform, followed shortly by singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson on March 3. If you’ve heard that song “No Rest for the Wicked” on WKIT, then you’ve heard Cage the Elephant, who will play at Port City on March 6. On March 24, African band Toubab Krew will take the stage, followed by jam band king Keller Williams on March 25. Prog rock emo band Coheed and Cambria close out the month on March 28.
One Longfellow Square, Portland
This haven for singer-songwriters has an enjoyable winter season set, with New England legend Dar Williams taking the stage tonight for sets at 7 and 9 p.m. On March 6, country folk singer Iris Dement will perform, and on March 26, Loudon Wainwright, progenitor of Rufus and Martha and a witty, gifted songwriter, will perform.
Space Gallery, Portland
Space will host the Grammy-nominated jazz mastermind John Hollenback on Feb. 19 in a performance not be missed for all jazz fans in the state. On March 6, Gustafer Yellowgold, an acclaimed songwriter who appeals to both children and adults will play, and on March 18 the man, the myth, the muscles, Henry Rollins, will give a spoken word performance.
There’s a double bill of awesome coming up next week for two completely different kinds of music fans. On Feb. 17, the country punk rockabilly band Supersuckers will perform and the next day, Feb. 18, the Gift of Gab, one half of hip-hop duo Blackalicious, will take the stage.
Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland
The only place in Maine to see those big-name, chart-topping acts is the Cumberland County Civic Center. What says Valentine’s Day more than a rock show? Well, maybe Three Days Grace and Breaking Benjamin isn’t my idea of a romantic time (quite the opposite, in fact), but they’re playing the civic center on Feb. 14. “American Idol” country queen Carrie Underwood will play there on March 15.
Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield
This inviting venue in the western Maine woods brings in some incredible talent. This month will bring folk hero Tom Rush on Feb. 26 and country musician Mindy Smith on Feb. 27. On March 10, Celtic troubadours Altan will play, and on March 19 Orchestra Morphine, featuring the surviving members of great Boston band Morphine, will perform. On March 26, Rhett Miller, a songwriter and former frontman of alt-country band Old 97’s, will take the stage, and on March 28, Suzanne Vega will play.
Hip-hop fans are in luck this month, On Feb. 27, the smoothest (but also one of the funniest) rappers ever, Snoop Dogg, will make his first Maine appearance at Bates College in Lewiston. On March 20, the hip-hop band and able sidekicks to late-night host Jimmy Fallon, the Roots, will play at Alfond Arena at the University of Maine in Orono.
103 Ultra Lounge, Orono
Two big metal shows here in March — featuring two bands with kick-butt female singers. March 6, check out alt-metal heroes OTEP. And on March 26, the band Kittie makes its third Orono appearance.
Sugarloaf Ski Resort, Carrabassett Valley
If you’re loafin’, you also could be rockin’. On March 13, the golden-voiced rock babe Grace Potter, with her Nocturnals, will perform at the western Maine ski resort. And on March 27, everybody’s favorite Maine band, the Rustic Overtones, will rock the house.