Maine has it’s own ways. It’s up north, but refers to itself as down east, for example. Nobody’s sure why except people from Maine and other people interested in Northern New England Trivia. If you’re in Portland, ME for vacation or happen to live there, check out some live music featuring artists of all kinds doing their thang.
The Alehouse features live music including local rock, reggae, and roots acts. Tuesday nights are open mic. Plans are underway for a hip-hop open mic night too, because if Portland ME is known for one thing, it’s hip-hop. (30 Market Street, 207-253-5100.) Almost Organic pizza is the house specialty.
Big Easy Blues features a mix of local and “beyond” artists including reggae bands, rock bands, and special acoustic-only nights through the Acoustic Artist Showcase on Tuesday nights. Cover bands also compete against each other in “clash of the titans” events. (55 Market Street, 207-871-8817.)
State Theater (609 Congress Street, 207-780-8265) is not some stately venue but rather home to live rock concerts. Artists range from the local to the international (UK’s Sigur Rios). The venue also holds dance nights with DJ’d music. There’s a bar and concession stand. You must be 21 to drink (and pre-purchase a wristband). Under 15 requires guardian.
Other local venues include the Bramshall Pub (769 Congress Street 773-9873); ) and the Breakaway Restraurant and Lounge (207-541-4804, 35 India St). The latter has live music on weekends featuring blues and rock acts. There’s space for dancing, too. There’s also live music at Acoustic Coffee (32 Danforth St., 207-774-0404) . Regular events include an open mic nights and songwriters showcases on Mondays and Thursdays. Tuesdays is a spoken-word night (be forewarned). Thursdays-Saturday offer live music. Bands and performers are usually local acts in a variety of genres include blues, jazz, rock, and folk. Acoustic Coffee is home to Cat & Mouse Records. FYI.
The Merrill Auditorium (39 Park Ave, 207-773-6128 ) is, according to its website “Portland’s premiere performing arts facility). The 1900 seat venue is home to The Portland Symphony Orchestra which performs both major concerts and weekday series as well as educational events. Famous artists who have appeared there include violinist Itzhak Pearlman, Ray Charles and Jessye Norman. The Merrill Auditorium also hosts touring opera, blues, jazz, and Broadway shows. It is located in part of Portland City Hall. So, if you’ve got any local paperwork you need processed, bring it along
Cumberland County Civic Center (1 Civic Center Sq, 207-775-3458) is the indoor arena where big acts come to play in Portland. Also home to minor league hockey and U-Maine basketball, and yes, a fair smattering of Disney’s latest ice-bound performances, the Civic Center offers live acts as diverse as Carrie Underwood and Nine Inch Nails. Sting, Brooks & Dunne, Sarah Maclachlan, Kelly Clarkson, and Green Day have also graced or at least used the stage at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Tickets for events are available at the venue box office and through Ticketmaster.