After ten months of preparation, year two of the KahBang! Festival kicked off last night in downtown Bangor. The three different events showcased the efforts of the festival planners to make this year’s KahBang a completely different beast than the one-day concert that took place on the Bangor Waterfront last August. This year’s festival is eight days longer, and includes a film festival, art galleries, and a true variety of music events at venues all over Bangor.
The Kickoff Concert took place at Bangor’s historic Brick Church last night, featuring four bands from all over the US. While the four bands really showcased the variety that this year’s festival has to offer, sound issues plagued the early set from local band Autopirate. Their auto-tuned power pop would have come across better if they hadn’t had to constantly deal with issues with their equipment.
Thankfully, those sound issues were fixed by the time the Minneapolis duo, Bella Ruse took the stage. Kay Gillette, and her guitarist, Joseph Barker, treated the small crowd to a mixture of delightful catchy pop songs, and heartbreaking slower tunes. Their minimalist setup of two voices, a guitar, glockenspiel, and organ really set them apart from the other groups, and didn’t get in the way of Gillette’s enchanting voice.
Seattle bands Ravenna Woods and Hey Marseilles rounded out the Friday night show with two completely different takes on traditional rock with unique instrumentation and arrangements. The sound issues were mostly dealt with by the time the headliners took the stage, however the cavernous room at the Brick Church, while beautiful, really made it hard to pick out individual instrumentation.
The Kahbang Film Festival also got its start at the Bangor Opera House with a screening of two films, “New Low,” and “Cleanflix.” The films continue today with separate screenings at the Bangor Opera House and the Brick Church, starting at 1 p.m. Tonight’s music offering is a DJ night at Thai Lounge on Main Street, starting around 10 p.m, with yours truly behind the decks.
The Observer will be continuing daily coverage of KahBang all the way up to the final concert on Aug. 14. We’ll bring you highlights of the art, film, and music that are making this one of the most ambitious and unique events to be hosted in Maine.