Now that you’ve spent all of your money on the beer and illegal* fireworks required for celebrating freedom, you most likely were planning on taking it easy this week. Think again. Summer finally decided to show up so don’t blow it by being a hermit. There’s a bunch of cheap ways to spend your summer evenings in the Greater Portland area; your “lack of money” is really just a euphemism for lameness.
*despite the fact that a certain governor wishes us all to blow ourselves up on the Fourth of July, the new bill legalizing fireworks does not go into effect until January 2012. Anything you set off yesterday, save sparklers, was still against the law.
Tuesday, July 5—Darlingside and Elijah Ocean Band play Port City Music Hall. The New England string-rock quintet Darlingside is definitely worth checking out. They’ve got an imaginative sound, blending rock, classical and folk. Doors open at 8 pm, and you get two bands for only $2. If you were responsible over the holiday weekend and didn’t destroy your liver, then you may be interested in Port City’s $2 beer specials. However, fear not college freshman itching to get out of your parents’ house: the show is 18+. Port City seems to be one of the only venues in Portland that understands underage people sometimes listen to music. Who would’ve guessed?
Wednesday, July 6—Summer Concert series at Mill Creek Park. If you’re a bluegrass fan, cross the bridge into Mill Creek and take advantage of the free Wednesday night concert. Since Americans celebrate everything with alcohol, you may still be hungover by Wednesday evening. Instead of hiding in your bedroom with the shades drawn, enjoy a chem-free night outside of your apartment. Skip the booze and pack a summer picnic to snack on while enjoying this week’s bluegrass band, The Dave Rowe Trio. All concerts are from 6:30 to 8. This is a great all-ages event, perfect for a family outing, a friendly get together, a date, etc. Again, this is a free event, so no excuses!
Thursday, July 7—Alive at Five Concert Series. This annual series kicks off at 5 pm this Thursday at Monument Square. This week features The Mallet Brothers and Paranoid Social Club. It’s free, so again, just show up. Loosen your tie and head over after work with some friends. Have a cold drink in the Sebago Brewing Company beer garden while soaking up the free entertainment. It’s a great way to unwind after the work day, listen to some local/national music, and socialize.
Saturday, July 9—5th Annual Radiance Arts and Culture Fest,. This block party-style festival is a celebration of summer, local art, and Portland culture. Admission is free and there will be plenty of live music, local food, arts and crafts, and even yoga demonstrations. The festival prides itself on promoting a healthy mind, body, and soul. This festival is probably going to be pretty darn cool; I always like to see Portland recognized and appreciated for its creativity, even if most references to “mind, body, and soul” make me cringe a little.
I’m aware that most of these suggestions are music events. I didn’t really plan it this way; I guess the Maine music scene really amps up in the summertime when the weather is fine. Or maybe I just have music on the brain. Either way, I think it’s pretty cool that these concerts are free or very cheap, allowing for your average “waiting-til-payday” Joe to stop being such a sweet bitch and have some fun. Portland’s got some very talented musicians out there and they deserve some recognition (well, some of them do anyway—see this for more on that subject).
Until next time…