Somewhere between the 1987 release of Revenge of the Nerds Part II: Nerds in Paradise and America’s favorite never-ending parade of mediocrity Chris Hardwick being fired from his own talk shows due to allegations of abuse (and then being reinstated because everyone with power in Hollywood is basically trash), being a pop-culture nerd became mainstream. But! There are a few areas of nerdery that remain untouched by Chad from Sales who “is so totally into” Star Wars. One of those areas is synth culture and the intersection of electronic and analogue wizardry in music. SYNTH CLUB is a monthly, inclusive event for all synth nerds, beginner to expert, to meet and play around with gear, learn and teach each other techniques and just find out what’s going on in the scene with like-minded individuals. Synth Club meets at the Apohadion this Thursday, and it’s anything goes, up to and including “accordions with contact mics,” whatever that means. | Sep 20 | Thu 6 pm | Apohadion Theater, 107 Hanover Street, Portland | Free | 18+ | theapohadiontheater.com






Waking Windows Portland takes place this year on Friday and Saturday (see our feature for a full dive), but the pre-party that opens this growing, meticulously-curated music, arts and culture festival happens on Thursday night. Organizers have put together a particularly compelling bill over at SPACE that features the politically-charged rock group ALGIERS, with their powerful, boot-stomping Nick Cave-meets-The Strokes intensity and plainly revolutionary lyrics. Portland’s KAFARI, a composer, pianist, and electronic producer, joins them to release his new record of piano music. It’s one of the last few times you can see Kafari live here in town before he sets off on a long international tour with R.Ariel in January. Rounding out the bill is ACHENE, a core artist in the Biddeford-based Soulfolks Records family who plays haunting electronic-acoustic compositions with an ethereal smokiness that commands silent reverence from her audience. Passes for Waking Windows will be available at the show for their advance price. | Sep 20 | Thu 8:30 pm | SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress Street, Portland | $12 | 21+ | www.space538.org




It’s been a minute or two since the Bissell Brothers tasting room has hosted a show, but this Friday they happy your after-work hour for you with sets from Fort Worth, Texas-native and longtime Mainer JOEL THETFORD alongside one of Portland’s music scene steadies JOHN NELS, who does everything from producing records, holding down guitars in a multitude of bands, running sound for various venues and generally providing a level-headed “voice” for the swirl of players running through Portland’s musical veins. While Thetford brings his solid stable of dark, lonely outlaw-country songs that ruminate and lament lyrically over his husky guitars and harmonica, Nels errs on the side of alt-country, with influences like Wilco and Jeff Buckley. Both know how to work a post-work room, keeping the energy up for those who came to watch, while not being deterred by those who came to have boisterous conversations. | Sep 21 | Fri 5:30 pm | Bissell Brothers Taproom, 4 Thompson’s Point, Portland | Free | 21+ | bissellbrothers.com




Speaking of Biddeford, you don’t have to leave the “Williamsburg of Portland” (careful not to hurt yourself with that over-the-top eye roll you just threw me) to ingest some unique performances this weekend. SWINGTIME CANTEEN debuts at the City Theater to take attendees back in time to 1944 London at the tail end of World War II. At this canteen show for soldiers on leave from the battlefront, Golden Era film stars and pin-up girls entertain with big band and jazz standards from the era in a celebration of women during WWII. The historic City Theater is a charming, logical fit for a show like this, but if a woman dressed like Miss Hannigan from Annie isn’t serving gin from a dirty claw foot bathtub in the lobby, I call shenanigans. | Sep 21-Oct 7 | Fri-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm | City Theater, 205 Main Street, Biddeford | $20 | All Ages | citytheater.org 




Tigerman WOAH (Photo by Paris Visone)



Massachusetts-based... uh, folk band? What are TIGERMAN WOAH? They self-describe as “drunken, cultish, group-work-oriented, always woah-singin’ with too much heart.” That’s probably as good a description as any, though I’d maybe throw “burly,” and “boisterous” somewhere in that list. Tigerman WOAH disappeared into the ether for the first half of 2018 to put out an EP, Do It All Again. They’re back on the touring circuit since the height of the summer, hitting smaller venues and festivals to promote the new material. It’s a smart move on their part, as a big element of the band’s performance is an intimacy, a big dirty bear hug of a vibe that keeps people on their feet and engaged with them whether they like it or not. Harder to pull off in bigger venues, the Thirsty Pig might present the exact opposite problem. Prepare to be sensuously regaled by the body odors of your fellow fans as you squeeze yourself into the narrow confines of the Pig. Godspeed, intrepid soul! | Sep 21 | Fri 8 pm | The Thirsty Pig, 37 Exchange Street, Portland | Free | 21+ | thirstypigportland.com





The Freemasons are the world’s largest and oldest fraternal organization, with origins in guarding the high-level math needed by stonemasons when building complex structures. They might be stuck in the past (some fishy stuff about not allowing women in there for sure) and shrouded in Illuminati-style secrecy, but they build cool shit. In 1911 the PORTLAND MASONIC TEMPLE opened its doors and has four floors of lovingly crafted, fascinating spaces to explore, including a small library and museum. The Temple hosts an open house on Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm. While we’re pretty sure it’s because the company that rents the space out wants to sell you on having your wedding there, you don’t need to have put a ring on it to go explore the great halls, reading room and armory by yourself or on one of the Temple’s guided tours. Old spaces like this are cool, particularly when a lot of money goes into keeping them up, and the Masons have that added element of the occult to make this just a smidge more interesting than your average “tour of an old building” situation. | Sep 22 | Sat 9 am | Portland Masonic Temple, 415 Congress Street, Portland | Free | All Ages | trianglelodge.org   




Waking Windows continues into Saturday with a perennial favorite, CRINGE! In this little event, performers are tasked with finding a cringe-worthy piece of writing from their past — perhaps an angsty poem, an old diary entry, or a terrible song with lyrics about a summer camp crush written during first-year guitar lessons. Whatever they choose to bring, the performers head up to stage, set a scene or context for the work, and then read or perform it for you. While it’s definitely hilarious to hear these seminal works from days of yore, it can send you reeling into an abyss of self-flagellation as you remember all the dumb stuff you created back in the day. No matter! Be brave! Isn’t laughter worth it, given that we have to eat Kavanaugh burgers with a side of Tomi Lahren for dinner every day? Up and coming Chicago comedian Annie Russell hosts this hour of humiliating-yet-empowering comedy in the late afternoon to loosen you up for the evening’s rock shows. | Sep 22 | Sat 4 pm | Empire, 575 Congress Street, Portland | $5 | 18+ | wakingwindowsportland.com 



Portland classic/occult metal band HESSIAN is heavy on the scene right now, doing some regional touring behind their new record Mercenary Retrograde. A satisfying mix of classic ‘70s British hard rock, heavy metal and unorthodox vocals, the album recalls a certain time when leggings and motorcycle hats were considered casual street wear and loving Satan was something about which your parents might have concerns. With an all new lineup of Portland aggressive/hard music stalwarts holding down drums, bass and guitar/additional vocals, Angus McFarland’s long time project serves up a particular sound that could be called particularly Portland. This show is also a part of Waking Windows, so festival passes will get you in, but there are single tickets too. Expect the city’s best battle jackets out on display, and a coterie of Rob Halford-lookalikes doing some heavy boozin’. | Sep 22 | Sat 8 pm | Geno’s Rock Club, 653 Congress Street, Portland | $10 | 21+ | genosrockclub.com   



Joel Thetford



As apartment prices soar and craft beer rains down upon us like hot gentrifying hellfire set to a piercing soundtrack of bands that debuted earlier this year in a side tent at Coachella, another new event has set upon Portland. This particular event, however — the RIPPLE ACROSS PORTLAND adventure challenge race — sounds like a whole lot of calorie-burning fun. Teams of six will tap into Ripple’s scavenger app to compete in a series of challenges throughout the greater Portland area, earning points for each completed activity. In true scavenger hunt tradition, some challenges will be easy (asking a stranger a question) and some will be much more difficult — like building a raft with duct tape and found items and floating it in Casco Bay. The whole Midnight Madness sans Michael J. Fox affair ends with a boozy party on Saturday night, and it’s for a good cause: funds raised by the entrants benefit Ripple Effect, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting youth development and leadership through adventure, healthy communities, and living sustainably. | Sep 22 | Sat 9 am | Oxbow Brewing Company, 49 Washington Avenue, Portland | $40 | 21+ | rippleacrossportland.org    




It is once again time for the COMMON GROUND COUNTRY FAIR. Sponsored and produced by the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, the three-day event is your favorite place to wear your Birks with socks, rock those Carharts and smoke weed behind your car all weekend while learning about sustainably managed food production and gardening and all the stuff that goes along with it, from contra dances and kids’ activities to vendors offering stuff like homemade chai tea and sustainably produced food. Bring water and wear comfortable footwear (it might actually be a little cold for Birkenstocks, break out those hiking boots) as you’ll be on your feet a lot if you attend with the 60,000 other people expected to come out over the course of the weekend. | Sep 21-23 | Fri-Sun 9 am | Unity Fairgrounds, 294 Crosby Brook Road, Unity | $15, Kids Free | All Ages | mofga.org 



Three local bands and one from NYC settle in to Sun Tiki for a night of off-kilter tunes. THIS WORLD HAS BEES is a post-rock outfit playing behind their album Nearer, released earlier this year. SHAKE THE BABY TIL THE LOVE COMES OUT, from NYC, are a two person guitar/drums garage band; BUDDUSKY brings rural Maine desolation rock; and WIZARD PARTY does it full nerd style with a strange, loose and irreverent indie rock. Sun Tiki is still all ages for now, though the venue is looking into ways to keep the space all ages while still offering beer to those 21+. So get your teens off the X Box or whatever and get them out to hear some live music they might actually like before you have to go with them to get them through the door. | Sep 23 | Sun 8 pm | Sun Tiki, 375 Forest Ave, Portland | $5 | All Ages | suntiki.skedda.com  





Mad Horse Theatre Company's By Local series offers all-local productions of works written by local humans. This iteration gives us a staged reading of DEPRESSION: THE MUSICAL (A DEPRESSED GIRL’S GUIDE TO DEPRESSION) written by Mainer Marianne Pillsbury. Everything is done by townies in these productions, from direction by Christine Marshall and music from Emma Stanley, to performances by Joanna Clarke and Viva (of the jazz group Viva and the Reinforcements). The play is a darkly humorous pop-rock musical about falling apart and putting oneself back together. Delving into the difficult but so very relevant in 2018 subject of depression in a humorous and uplifting way, Depression: The Musical is an insider’s guide to the issues of mental illness that so many of us face every day. Get a ticket and get ready to relate, whether you’re in it yourself or worried about a human in your life going through it. | Sep 24-26 | Mon-Wed 7:30 pm | Mad Horse Theater, 24 Mosher Street, South Portland | $10 | All Ages | madhorse.com 



Carl Broemel (Photo by Brian Stowell)



My Morning Jacket had a pretty intense moment about a decade ago when their beloved album Z came out and kind of slayed everyone with its Allman Brothers-inspired guitar riffs and dinosaur-dad-rock style. CARL BROEMEL was responsible for a lot of that, holding down guitar, pedal steel, saxophone and additional vocals for the Louisville, KY, band. He’s out there right now promoting his record Wished Out, his third solo effort, officially out on September 21. The record is a result of some traveling Broemel did during which he had a chance to “reset” in the woods of California. With personal lyrics and a tightly controlled release (advance reviews are fairly nonexistent, who got the exclusive on this?) Broemel’s solo albums are satisfying for MMJ fans as well as anyone who gravitates toward riffy troubadours like Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams or Neil Young. Eclectic Nashville instrumental rock band STEELISM open. | Sep 25 | Tue 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State Street, Portland | $20 | All Ages | onelongfellowsquare.com   




Milky Chance (Photo by Jonas Holthaus)



MILKY CHANCE are the biggest band in Europe that you’ve never heard of. Well, some of you must have heard of them, since they’re playing the State Theatre on Tuesday. A folk duo from Germany with #1 hits in places we don’t think about that often, like Belgium and Czech Republic, Milky Chance have meandered their way stateside with plays at Coachella and on a couple of late night talk shows. The duo combine folk conventions with electronic beats, and on tour they round out their sound with a full live band. You might have heard their song “Stolen Dance,” an irritatingly ear-wormy little song that had some adult-alternative play in the US. This is a band that sits alongside Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers and the Americana acts from that scene, while adding a bit of that electronic producer’s edge — but not too much. Their “thing” still appeals to the acoustically-inclined listener. Bonus: they also have this Eurotrash version of the beardy-bro look going on, which is closer shorn, but also somehow greasier? I can’t tell if it attracts me or repulses me, which might be just the thing that makes this band fun. | Sep 25 | Tue 8 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress Street, Portland | $30 | All Ages | statetheatreportland.com




Choose Yourself, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering young women and girls, brings the latest in their GIRL TALK series to Mayo Street Arts. The program is an active space for women to connect through conversations that focus on social change. Each Girl Talk is different, and this episode focuses on gender expectation and gender roles, like: What are the expectations placed on young women here in Portland and all around the world? If those expectations are harmful, what can be done to empower change in our community and abroad? Though a donation is requested at the door, everyone is welcome to attend, no matter what she can pay. Speakers at this installment include Coffee By Design founder Mary Allen Lindemann, Carla Irakoze of Girl Talk and Ilana Schreiber from the Opportunity Alliance Behavioral Health Home. Attendees are welcome to attend in any capacity, from participating via questions and comments to listening and learning. | Sep 27 | Thu 5:30 pm | Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo Street, Portland | $5 | All Ages | mayostreetarts.org




Victoria Karol is a contributing writer for the Portland Phoenix, covering local music and the Dance Card listings. She produces Music Video Portland, Maine's video music awards and writes about feminism and culture on her blog hottrashportland.com.

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