Early June stays mostly quiet at the State Theatre in Portland, but mid-month the schedule picks up full force. Michael Franti and Spearhead return to the State stage with Beat Horizon on June 16, and the weekend of June 22-23 it’s KahBang alum and indie hip hop star Atmosphere (pictured) on Friday, and rockers Halestorm and Prospect Hill on June 23. Fiona Apple’s July 1 show sold out well in advance, and on July 12, 90’s favorites Bush perform. The Yonder Mountain String Band brings its prog-bluegrass on July 14, and Hasidic Jewish rapper Matisyahu returns to Portland and plays with the Dirty Heads on July 25. Pop singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson is set for July 28; indie folk band Of Monsters and Men is set for July 30; and the fabulous Rufus Wainwright plays songs from his new album, “Out of the Game” on July 31. French electro band M83 plays its first Maine appearance on Aug. 7, and jam band faves Old Crow Medicine Show are set to appear on Aug. 8.
New Orleans funk storms the Port City stage on June 6, with the return of Trombone Shorty; indie songwriter Mason Jennings is set for June 15. Victor Wooten, a longtime Portland visitor, is set for June 29, and on July 6, the legendary Fishbone (pictured) will perform. Donavon Frankenreiter takes to Port City on July 11, and indie folkers Blind Pilot are set for July 27. The end of July and beginning of August are particularly busy, with jam band Dopapod on July 28, the diverse indie band Yeasayer on Aug. 3, Jamaican rapper Versatile on Aug. 4, and metal gods High on Fire on Aug. 7.
Portland’s most intimate venue has all kinds of stuff throughout the summer; some of the bigger names to grace its stage include Crooked Still vocalist (pictured) Aoife O’Donovan on June 13; guitar superstars Sharon Isbin and Doug Wamble on June 28 (as part of the Portland Performing Arts Festival); Maine-via-Texas songwriter and perennial favorite Slaid Cleaves on June 30; country singer Elizabeth Cook on July 13; bluesman Roy Book Binder on July 20; and country songwriter Mindy Smith on July 27.
Indie rocking trio Jukebox the Ghost plays with pop group Savoir Adore on June 16, while folk duo Bowerbirds will take the stage on June 20. It’s not a live show, but is a musical event: the only Maine screening of “Shut Up and Play the Hits,” the LCD Soundsystem concert video, will be shown on July 18. Japanese power pop band Shonen Knife (pictured) makes a rare Maine appearance on July 25, and just a week after that, the newly reformed Canadian ensemble Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra will play a set of experimental orchestral rock on Aug. 2.
Come to the woods of Western Maine, and see Don McLean at Stone Mountain on June 7. Cajun masters the Pine Leaf Boys are set for June 9, followed by bluesman Robert Cray on June 11. The Flatlanders (Jimme Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock) will play a special show on June 23, and English folk-punk legend Billy Bragg will perform on June 29. Eileen Ivers – the Canadian fiddle version of Jimi Hendrix – is set for July 5, and Leon Russell will play on July 22 (that’s two days after his July 20 appearance at the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft). That’s followed by a very strong run of songwriters – Greg Brown on July 26, Kathy Mattea on Aug. 2, Suzanne Vega on Aug. 5 and a special appearance by Lyle Lovett on Aug. 6.
The summer’s heating up on the Bangor Waterfront! Up next is Govt Mule and Moe (pictured) on June 21, followed immediately by the Beach Boys – featuring Brian Wilson – on June 22. Shinedown and Papa Roach are set for July 5; Rascal Flatts and Little Big Town bring sweet country on July 6; classic rockers and rejoice by Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted “The Nuge” Nugent on July 8. A few weeks later, it’s the Happy Together Tour with a host of late 60s pop bands, set for July 27.