The kick-off party for the KahBang Festival 2012 took place in and around downtown Bangor, ME last Thursday. The tucked-in but vibrant town is brought alive by KahBang each year and offers showcases at its multitude of quality bars and restaurants. Besides Portland, Oregon, Maine has the most home-brewers per capita in the US. This prevalent DIY ethic is what has powered KahBang into its fourth year. Somewhat surprising is how many devoted supporters of the arts live and work right here to bring this understated discovery festival to the thriving yet understated city.
One of the most intriguing aspects is the familial of the affair. (Big ups to The Hornet’s Nest - our camping home at KahBang!) While many festivals are either ostracizing or overwhelming, KahBang instead focuses on exploring the vast musical spectrum of New England and bringing them together to Bangor with some heavy hitters. They celebrate (overall) bringing like-minded people together to experience art, film, and music and the connection of that common bond.
For the opening evening of the fest, we came for the music and stayed for the drinks. The beer was flowing like water at the kick-off Beer Fest with a bunch of artists, like Trisha Mason and sultry alt-rocker Valerie Orth, entertaining the drinkers on the Pickering Square Stage.
Over on the West Market Stage, we caught performances by alt-rock oufit Beach The Whale, who reminded us a bit of At The Drive-In at times, as well as KahBang headliners Deftones. They were sharply dressed, and delivered some solid, angular power rock. They also talked about seeing the night’s headliner, Jacob Augustine, a decade ago when he and his brother were cutting their teeth in metal bands.
An exuberant Portland, ME group Sunset Hearts caught our ear and captured our hearts with their 80’s styled synthpop that Robert Smith would be proud of. They filled the pretty big stage with lots of members who all could really shred, and looked like they were having a hell of a time doing it. Besides overflowing with soul, they also had the crowd dancing more than any other act that night. Everyone keep an eye out for these guys. They are dope.
The night came to an official close with a blistering set by hometown hero Jacob Augustine, who is not actually from Bangor, but you get the idea. His “Family Band” consisted of his brother, sister, and girlfriend, among others. Together, they brought to life much of Jacob’s newest EP Bikini Island, as well as a rapturous version of Frontier standout “Pulse and Hum,” among others. Jacob’s massive voice and presence was undeniable as always, and really raised the bar for the rest of the weekend.
Make sure to check out all our photos from the night right HERE.
- Adam G.