I love New Year’s Eve because, like Halloween, it’s an excuse to put on an outfit or costume and go out and have fun. And I only need the faintest of excuses to do just that. There’s of course lots to do on New Year’s Eve this year — firstly, because it’s on a Saturday, and secondly, because in the case of Bangor and Belfast, communities have been planning their annual events all year. Portland has some great stuff planned as well, along with other towns across the state. As this is Rockin’ Out, my attention of course turns to local bands. Here’s some of the best of what you can hear Saturday night, at venues all around the state. Have a fun night with friends and family, and please, do try to be responsible.
SKYSCRAPER, 8-10 p.m., Bangor Public Library, Bangor: This Ellsworth-based band came out of what used to be the Climactics, whose high energy take on funk and rock was a staple of the eastern Maine bar scene for a number of years. They’ve taken a more loose approach with their new band, bringing in elements of pop. See them in a non-bar setting, at the Bangor Public Library, on NYE.
PRESERVATION BLUES BAND, 8-11:30 p.m., Bagel Central, Central Street, Bangor: The word is that these guys, based out of Standish, have been playing all over the country for decades, and specialized in good old fashioned Chicago blues. This is their second year playing Bangor’s Downtown Countdown. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
THE BLAST ADDICTS, 10:45-midnight, West Market Square, downtown Bangor: One of Bangor’s best cover bands gets to ring in the New Year outside, among throngs of people, as the traditional beach ball covered in Christmas lights gets chucked off the roof of Paddy Murphy’s. Hallelujah!
MELLOW ENDEAVOR, 9:30 to 12:30 a.m., Paddy Murphy’s, Main Street, Bangor: Very groovy acoustic sounds from this Aroostook County trio. A little less raucous for Paddy Murphy’s on NYE, than in years past.
ERIC GREEN, 8 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., Nocturnem Drafthaus, Main Street, Bangor: A solo acoustic night from blues-country-folk musician Mr. Green, who’s laid-back, whiskey-soaked growl and deft hand at both guitar and keyboard is as charming as they come.
ROCK REVELATION, 8 p.m. to close, Hollywood Slots, Bangor: The super-powered 80s cover band does their thing at the Slots. Always a good bet for fun.
DAVID DODSON and friends, 9-11 p.m., the Colonial Theater, High Street, Belfast: This clever, engaging and versatile songwriter has been a Midcoast favorite for years now, and he’ll bring his charming songs to the Colonial stage – a great place to see both movies and music – during Belfast’s 15th annual New Year’s By the Bay Celebration. The poster to the left is from last year.
THE GAWLERS, 8-9 p.m. and 10-11 p.m., First Church UCC Sanctuary, Church Street, Belfast: This family band blends all kinds of Americana traditions in one satisfying whole, now with the added talents of Bennett Konesni and Tyler Yentes. Fun for the whole family. Danceable, too!
TANGO, 6-7 p.m. and 8-9 p.m., Abbott Room, Belfast Free Library: Tango is vocalist Kristen Burkholder and pianist Martin Gottlieb, and they’re a dynamic duo that excels at interpreting the great American songbook. Expressive and often unexpectedly moving.
KATAHDIN VALLEY BOYS and THE BAD DADDYS, taking turns all night between 6 p.m. and midnight, First Baptist Church, High Street, Belfast: The full breadth of roots traditions gets the all-night treatment Saturday night, with the Katahdin Valley Boys plying their bluegrass, country and gospel tunes, and the Bad Daddys playing a mean blend of blues and r&b.
THE 220s, 9 p.m. to close, Chummies, Ellsworth: The band that rose to prominence in Maine in 2011 as one of the best interpreters of classic and alternative rock — with plenty of their own moody, eclectic originals tossed into the mix — will close out a rocking year in Ellsworth.
THE BAR STUARDS, 9 p.m. to close, The Rack, Kingfield: These Bangor boys take a ride to the slopes of Western Maine, to bring 2011 with their trademark blend of rock, Celtic, folk and country punk. Sugarloaf won’t know what hit them.
THE AWESOME, 9 p.m. to close, Bayside Bowl, Alder Street, Portland: Yet another 80s cover band, this long-running Portland seven-piece spots flashy costumes, and plays at Bayside Bowl, a bowling alley and music venue that’s quickly become one of the best places to see live music in Maine.
KATY GAGA with Dean Ford, 9 p.m. to close, The Big Easy, Market Street, Portland: Power pop heartthrob Dean Ford and his band play a night of contemporary pop music (Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, as the name suggests).
ICING NEW YEAR’S EVE BASH, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Space Gallery, Congress Street, Portland: DJs, costumes, art, food, and much more at this yearly party.
MALLETT BROTHERS BAND, 9 p.m. to close, Empire Dine and Dance, Congress Street, Portland: The popular Maine alt-country band closes out a great year at Empire.
MIGHTY MYSTIC, ROYAL HAMMER, SOUL REBEL PROJECT and DJ QUEENDEM, 9 pm. to 1 a.m., Port City Music Hall, Congress Street, Portland: Reggae is the name of the game for Port City’s end-of-year bash.
MOE, 9 p.m to close, State Theatre, Portland: The jam band legends play a very special NYE show in Portland. Visit statetheatreportland.com for tickets.
PARANOID SOCIAL CLUB, SIDECAR RADIO and the GRANT STREET ORCHESTRA, 9 p.m. to close, Asylum, Brown Street, Portland: A veritable who’s who of Portland music puts 2011 to bed. Bring your dancing shoes.
PETER WOLF, 8 p.m. Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield: What a night – legendary J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf plays with a band featuring some Maine musicians, for what’s sure to be an incredibly entertaining, one-of-a-kind night. Tickets are $70, but they include dinner.