My favorite part of my college experience at the University of Maine was the three years I spent as music director at WMEB 91.9 FM, the college station that’s been broadcasting for 38 years from campus, now in the basement of the Memorial Union. Ah, memories. The 2 a.m. radio shows. Pawing through the mail for cool new CDs. Sweating my face off in the summer months in the air conditioning-free East Annex, where WMEB lived until 2003. Putting on shows a couple times a year, bringing up bands from all over New England. Best thing I did at UMaine.
So it pleases me to note that WMEB is still going strong, and in fact is collaborating with Kingman’s in Old Town to putt on one of the biggest music events in the Orono/Old Town area in years: the first-ever All Points North Festival, set for Thursday and Friday, April 19 and 20 at Kingman’s. 31 different bands and DJs will take over three stages for a two-night, all ages bash — from the live electro bands The Cyborg Trio (Portland) and J. Wail (Boulder, CO) to Portland-via-Sebec roots rockers the Mallett Brothers Band, and an array of Orono area bands.
“This was originally envisioned as a kind of replacement for Bumstock, when that fizzled a while back,” said Tim Taylor, who owns Kingman’s. “We’ve tried to come up with a really diverse lineup of original acts from all over, and have it be a big event that can bring everyone together.”
Kingman’s has steadily been drawing in more and more bands from all over the Northeast, from local favorites to bands like The Brew and Helicopter Showdown. Taylor and the promoters he works with, like Lauren Fleury from WMEB and promo groups Carbon Vapor and FloNation, hope to bring at least one bigger regional or national acts in every month.
The foundation of the weekend is electronic music, with an array of DJs and duos from all over the Northeast, including house music duo Digital Bonesaw Society (Portland), experimental electronic DJ and producer Of The Trees (Portland), psychedelic hip hop DJ Space Jesus (Philadelphia), progressive dubstep DJ Tonas Peaks (Portland), house/dubstep DJ The Professional (Old Town), party music provider DJ Pandemic (Orono) and mashup/progressive DJ Les (Orono). Kingman’s is one of the few venues in eastern Maine that actually hosts and promotes DJs and electronic culture, so for those out there longing for a chance to dance — this is your weekend.
“Electronic music has really taken off,” said Taylor. “There are a lot of DJs around and it’s something that people have really grabbed onto. We have a big crew of people who come out every weekend to dance.”
One of the interesting things about DJ culture is how much it’s bled over into the jam scene, with the most current sound melding the typical extended instrumental jams with the hypnotic pulse of electronic music. Bands like the aforementioned Cyborg Trio and J. Wail are well within this genre, along with other All Points North bands like The Hornitz, a Boston band that mixes funk into the live electronic mix; the Portland-based Dubstank Digital and longtime Orono favorites Bootiddy.
For those happy to stay within good old-fashioned jam band grooves, there’s plenty offered at All Points North, including Roots, Rhythm & Dub (Portsmouth, NH), Restless Groove (Orono), Line of Force (Portland), Frank and the Red Hots (Orono), The Poor Folk (Orono), the Barely Brothers Band (Amherst, MA) and Gorilla Finger Dub Band (Portland). Bluegrass and alt-country fans will be pleased to hear The Mallett Brothers Band (above), folk rockers Huckleberry Binge out of Amherst, MA, and Watervilla-via-Bangor bluegrass collective Raw Chicken. The lone hip hop artist, Sandbag, from Portland, will liven up the crowd in between DJ sets.
There’s lots more on the schedule besides just the above; visit www.facebook.com/Kingmansbar for the full lineup and set times.