Eight years ago, when I first started writing this column, it wasn’t this good. You young whippersnappers, with your Instagrams, and your Pinstagrams, and your fancy magic astronaut phones. I remember when you had to call people! On a phone that was plugged into a wall! I remember when you actually had to go to a Ticketmaster booth to buy concert tickets! Now you just click on the ol’ Interwebs, and boom – everything you want, right there.
And oh, the concerts! I remember when there would be one good concert every month or two, and it would be at either the Cumberland County Civic Center or the old, far less clean and safe State Theatre, and THAT WAS IT. And we were grateful! Now you’ve got multiple shows per week, in multiple venues, in multiple towns! You kids. You don’t know how good you’ve got it. And it’s only getting better.
State Theatre, Portland
Just two shows left in February at the State Theatre – a night of jam bands with Big Gigantic, Kill Paris, Manic Focus on Feb. 14, and the rescheduled show from the legendary Jeff Mangum with the Tall Firs on Feb. 17. Moving onto March, there’s the almighty George Thorogood and the Destroyers on March 8, alt-country with the Drive-By Truckers and Old 97’s on March 9, indie rock with Minus the Bear and Circa Survive on March 16, electronica with Paper Diamond and Excision on March 20, and an epic punk show with Bad Religion (pictured above) and Against Me on March 29. April brings acapella group Pentatonix on April 7 and Canadian band Great Big Sea on April 24.
Lots of heavy rock at the Asylum in Portland this month, starting with Nonpoint with Hinder on March 2, and then Soulfly set for March 10. Want something that’s the complete opposite? Eddie Money makes a stop on his solo tour on March 21. Then you can wrap up the month with alt-rockers Local H, who are set for March 26.
Port City Music Hall, Portland
There are two wonderful Americana acts back to back at Port City Music Hall – the Dunwells and Darlingside set for Feb. 16, and the entrancing Punch Brothers (pictured at left) with songwriter Anais Mitchell on Feb. 17. In a rare intimate show, you can check out They Might Be Giants on Feb. 27, followed immediately by rapper Talib Kweli on Feb. 28. On March 1, Portland’s homegrown big band the Fogcutters join 90s songwriters John Popper (Blues Traveler) and Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) for a night of horn-powered rock. Finally, songwriter Todd Snider is set for March 24, and indie rockers Family of the Year on April 7.
Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield
Out in the woods of western Maine at the lovely Stone Mountain Arts Center, this Valentine’s Day (that’s Feb. 14) there’s the Grammy nominated country band the Time Jumpers. On Feb. 22, there’s Sweet Honey in the Rock, and on Feb. 25 there’s the Indigo Girls in a rare instance backed by a full band. In March, you can hear songwriter Rosanne Cash on March 9 and blues vocalists Shemekia Copeland on March 22, and on April 5, wildly under-appreciated songwriter Alejandro Escovedo (pictured at left) is set to perform . April wraps up nicely with the Carolina Chocolate Drops on April 14 and 15, and guitar guru Leo Kottke on April 18.
Other venues across the state
Via Porttix.com, the site that handles tickets for Merrill Auditorium in Portland and Hannaford Hall at University of Southern Maine, you can grab seats to see jazz trio the Bad Plus perform Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on Feb. 17 at Hannaford Hall, Celtic Woman at Merrill on March 2, 90s songwriters Jewel on March 10 and Tony Trischkas Banjo Project at Hannaford Hall on April 6. Angelique Kidjo is set for the Strand Theatre in Rockland on Feb. 21, and before their appearances in Brownfield, Alejandro Escovedo plays at the Strand on Feb. 4, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops are set for Feb. 11. Finally, Matchbox Twenty play at the Augusta Civic Center on March 1, and Carrie Underwood (pictured) and Hunter Hayes are set for the Cumberland County Civic Center on April 9; tickets for both shows are available via Ticketmaster.