WATER IS LIFE | We take water for granted every damn day. We go most of our day without even thinking about water, but if we were deprived of it for just eight hours, getting our lips wet would leap to top priority. Although it’s one of our most important resources, like many aspects of a privileged existence, we just expect it to be there. But, as Jessica Yu will elucidate with her compelling documentary Last Call At The Oasis, water is still a luxury in many parts of the world. Over 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered in water, but only 2.5 percent of it is fresh, and only one percent of that isn’t frozen or buried beneath the ground. And how much of that tiny fraction is even accessible to a person stuck in cycle of poverty? Yu’s documentary explores an uncomfortably prescient, and incredibly important question: what can we do to save our freshwater supplies before global calamity ensues? Necessary viewing for everyone that benefits from H2O.
| FREE | 6 pm | University of Southern Maine, Talbot Auditorium, 96 Falmouth St., Portland | http://usm.maine.edu/
NOT SLOWING DOWN | If I ever get to be an old man, my only wish is to have half as much energy as 90-year-old Tony Bennett. The legendary vocalist of American pop standards and big band jazz shows has been painting, acting, writing, and letting loose those unmistakable pipes for over half a century now, and he’s still going strong! Take advantage of this iconic American singer’s rare appearance in Portland; it may be the last chance you ever get to see this integral part of music history alive and in-the-flesh.
| $140 | 7:30 pm | Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland | https://tickets.porttix.com/
TAKE A CHANCE | Are you familiar with the Meat Puppets? They exhibit the telltale signs of a band that takes the art of performance very seriously. What’s in a name? For starters, experience; this trio of rockers have been writing, rehearsing, arranging, and evolving since the 80s. The brothers in this band played with Kurt Cobain on Nirvana's The Muddy Banks of the Wishkah live album. Also, Mike Watt is a straight-up legendary bassist with the band the Minutemen, who are one of the most influential bands in early 80s punk. They discard genre conventions, and like all solid acts, have an aversion to the term in general. It’s likely that Meat Puppet listeners have been on the fan train for a while, but if you’re new and curious to their blend of rock like me, you may want to swing into the station. They’re joined by Mike Watt and the Jom & Terry Show, and Grant Hart, formerly of Husker Du.
| $25 | 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.portcitymusichall.com/
CATHARTIC NOISE | Back from a hiatus and embracing a messy world of contradictions is Jimmy Eat World, a band set to bring sonic wisdom back from their red desert home of Arizona. After spending time reaffirming their musical mission of exploring life’s struggles in all their beautiful complexities, this seminal emo-rock is in nonstop tour mode. They’re joined by Beach Slang, a pop-punk band led by longtime scenester James Alex, that I’d describe — after listening to their latest mixtape — as fun yet serious, uplifting but moody. If you haven’t been to sparkly new club space at Aura, make this your first concert there.
| $30 | 9 pm | Aura, 121 Center St., Portland | http://auramaine.com/
THINK DEEP | Like...what even is art anymore? I’m pretty sure I saw an old pink mattress hanging in the Portland Museum of Art, so I’m having trouble determining if there’s even a standard to the craft anymore. But who am I to begin to judge what is and isn’t art? I’m sure the young people who’ve spent a great deal of time (and money) studying and exploring the amorphous world of art at MECA can better illuminate the state of it today. Nine graduating artists’ work will be on display at the MFA Thesis Exhibition offering viewers unique approaches to the global cultural landscape, and perspectives on the ever-changing philosophy of aesthetics. The exhibition’s open now until June 9.
| FREE | 11 am to 5 pm | Maine College of Art, 522 Congress St., Portland | https://www.meca.edu/
Eric Bettencourt. Photo by Robyn Kanner
CONTROLLED INTENSITY | An oddly reliable sign that summer’s quickly approaching is when Portland native Eric Bettencourt swings back home from for a string of shows. Now based in Austin, Texas, this award-winning songwriter delivers a heartfelt performance with nothing but his 12-string guitar and his naturally raw vocal style. (Preview "Baby in the Bathtub" on YouTube for proof). Ben Balmer, an adept songwriter, and genre hopper, joins Bettencourt for this reunion night of compassionate tunes.
| $15 | 7 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | https://onelongfellowsquare.com/
SOCIALISTS UNITE | Local personality Harlan Baker wears many hats. He’s an activist, a teacher, and a former legislator. More recently he’s been organizing the “Say No To Racism” rallies in Monument Square during the art walk. But this week, he’s donning his actor hat for repeat of his original one-man performance he calls Jimmy Higgins: A Life in the Labor Movement. With wit and candor, he’ll explore a life in the labor movement and recall his experiences growing up during some of the most tumultuous times in American history. If you’re easily triggered by Marx references, this show isn’t for you.
| FREE | 7 pm | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland | https://www.fermentory.com/
RECREATING MAGIC | Billed as "the best Beatles Tribute band on Earth" by Rolling Stone, 1964 meticulously recreates the live magic of the Beatles right down to their instruments, suits, and boots. Embrace the wonderful dichotomy of classic people’s pop tunes performed faithfully inside Portland’s swankiest, and arguably most modern, music venue.
| $20-40 | 8 pm | Aura, 121 Center St., Portland | http://auramaine.com/
LAUNCH PARTY | PRIDE week is fast approaching, and it’s time for you to rise up and dance with Portland’s LGBTQ community. Despite the repeated political moves that undermine the very humanity of LGBTQ Americans, they can’t be in full-on resistance mode 100 percent of the time. Life is short! Pride Portland offers a carefree kick-off party that calls for the community to come together under the banner of unconditional love and unapologetic realness. I’m sure the perpetually bubbly Chris O’Connor can easily get you in the party mood with his down-to-earth friendliness and killer DJ skills.
| $15 | 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.portcitymusichall.com/
FALL WITH STYLE | When was the last time you had a true adrenaline rush? No, not the fluttery feeling from something fairly common like speeding through a red light. I’m talking about the uncontrollable torrent of organic chemicals that makes your heart beat fast, and your muscles go numb from a strange coalescence of anxiety and badassery. If you’re craving that euphoric jolt to your senses, and a test of your personal boundaries, might I offer a chance to rappel down Portland’s tallest building? Rippleffect, a youth development organization, is hosting an experience called Rappel for Ripple that will see nearly 100 people rappelling down One City Center. Crazy? Maybe. Totally rad? Definitely. You may not actually get a chance to go over the edge with them, but the sight itself will be something to behold.
| TBD | 9 am to 3 pm | 1 City Ctr., Portland | https://rappelforripple.net/
HARD CIDER RUN | Runners of 5Ks must have “the good life” all figured out. I know this because their sneakers are always clean, and they seem to wear a perpetual grin. Hell, anyone that pays to run must be oozing in privilege. Or maybe they just get off from the endorphins released after running the 3.1 mile length of the Eastern Promenade. Maybe we can snag a piece of the good life too, and tap into this fuzzy feeling of accomplishment by joining the Hard Cider Run. There’s a cold, crisp glass of hard cider at the finish line (at Urban Farm Fermentory, producing this run). If you want in on this, you’ve got to sign up online first!
| $45 | 10 am | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland | https://runsignup.com/
SECRET TOUR | Most of us walk the streets of Portland completely oblivious to its long and storied history. Many of the historic buildings from the twentieth and nineteenth centuries hide behind their bricks fascinating tales, leaving us with only the outside architecture to appreciate. But wouldn’t it be nice to step inside like Longfellow did, or some other old timey Portlander might have? Appreciators (and might I say preservers) of Portland’s history at the Maine Historical Society have curated a "Magical History Tour," where those secret sites will be unlocked to the public for one day only.
| $35 | 10 am to 4 pm | Maine Historical Society, 485 Congress St., Portland | https://www.mainehistory.org/
MAY MARKET | Don’t let the farmer’s market in Deering Oaks be the only spring market you frequent this season. The Fork Food Lab offers a chance to stock up on speciality foods, and sample the latest and greatest culinary creations from their members during this special event. This place has a very Portland feel and features a really nice outdoor space for parties and barbecues. Proxemics matters, people!
| FREE | 11 am to 3 pm | Fork Food Lab, 72 Parris St., Portland | http://www.forkfoodlab.com/
SCHOOL OF ROCK | Are the high schools in the area ready to unleash the next shining rock star onto the world? Or will our state stay quiet? Judge for yourself when the finalists of the 2017 MAMM SLAM take over Empire for a night of explosive competition. Competing artists include The Asthmatic, Mikayla Gallows, The Rubber Band, Liam Swift, and Yard Sail. Who’s going to take home the $1000, and get one step closer to making their music dreams a reality? Join this Maine Academy of Modern Music tonight.
| $12 | 1 pm to 6 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | http://portlandempire.com/
Arc Iris. Photo by Jo Chattman
PINNACLE OF POP | Fans of Joni Mitchell’s seminal album Blue won’t want to miss this creative reimagining of the work by the art-pop power trio Arc Iris. The core of each iconic song is preserved by the Rhode Island band nestled between layers of boldly innovative synths, heavy drum beats, and generous sampling.
| $12 | 7 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | https://onelongfellowsquare.com/
GET LIT | Some of the prices on this week’s edition of 8 Days are a little steep, eh? Well, let me remind you that dance nights at Flask are usually free. Tonight, the Party Bear Squad, Ryssa, Tmber, Be See, and Nic Optimistic are DJing and unleashing some fire similar to the fire found on their Soundcloud pages. Heavy bass, a packed dance floor, and a dazzling new light display are your party favors during this sweaty celebration of life.
| FREE | 9 pm | Flask Lounge, 117 Spring St., Portland | http://flasklounge.com/
CHEST FEST | Etain Boutique and the community organizations Speak About It, and Portland Outright have joined forces to dedicate an evening to tales of the torso. A line-up of speakers will share stories about an important and treasured part of humanity: boobs. Could this be the strange and unexpected event you needed in your life? Don't forget to bring in any gently used bras for their collection drive!
| $5-10 | 5 pm | Etain Boutique, 646 Congress St., Portland | http://etainboutique.com/about-etain/
SHOW GOES ON | Aura, Portland’s newest music club, hosts its first truly big star (sorry Dwight Yoakam, not a fan) this week, testing the waters to see how the atmosphere jives with a mega-celebrity. The Grammy winning rapper Lupe Fiasco’s in town, and will bring his interesting flow, smart rhymes, and chart-topping singles to this spacious, yet still surprisingly intimate venue. (Attendees will be able to see the rapper from all angles, some might smell him). Fiasco’s been described by listeners as a “hip hop saviour,” for his truly unique style that hits hard with deep lyrical themes that don’t rest on the typical rap crutches of vulgarity, sex, drugs, and violence.
| $50 | 8 pm | Aura, 121 Center St., Portland | http://auramaine.com/
EAR RETREAT | Tune out the bullshit in your life and let the Apohadian Theater’s curated lineup end your Sunday on a harmonious and folksy note. Grab a dark Oxbow beer and settle in for a easy night of winding down a river of eerie rhythms, vast soundscapes, and cool alt-country vibes thanks to the talents of Dimples (Colby Nathan), Maine songstress Caethua & the Cool Blue Shadows, and Fragile Harm (a new collaboration between Cal Clark and Brendan Evans of Video Nasties).
| $5-10 | 8 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland | http://oxbowbeer.com/
SEIZE THE MEANS | Wondering if the hard-to-define “Resistance” is running out of steam? Curious to see how Portland’s progressives are planning for the next wave of political battles? Need a mental break from capitalism? All this and more starts at the local level. Exchange ideas or simply kick back and listen during the Maine Democratic Socialists monthly meetup.
| FREE | 7 pm | Portland City Hall, 389 Congress St., Portland | http://www.dsausa.org/
DOOM BANGERS | Throw yourself into a cyclone of unrelenting noise rock at Portland’s oldest pub with these three summoners of chaos and catharsis: Earthworm Von Doom, Forget the Times, and Cop Funeral. Just by their band names, you can tell these cursed rockers aren’t screwing around, and are prepared to toss out mediocrity out the the window.
| $5 | 8 pm | Mathew's Pub, 133 Free St., Portland | https://www.facebook.com/mathewspub/
HIPSTER CHIC | Hear me out. Building your own succulent terrarium is a really interesting, fun, and unique way to express yourself. Think about it, you get to play designer with living things! They also make thoughtful gifts. The plants, stones, soil, and shells at your disposal will serve as your building blocks, and paired with a couple beers, will make you feel like the benevolent creator of mini mason jar worlds. Hosted by ArtSea Maine, an art therapy organization.
| $30 | pm | Oxbow Blending & Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland | http://oxbowbeer.com/ |
Jessica Deutsch. Photo by Kaitlyn Raitz
FIDDLE HEADS | Gracefully balancing between styles you’d hear in a stuffy ballroom to ones you’d hear in a rural dive-bar is the chamber-folk outfit Ozere, led by Jessica Deutsch, a Canadian folk starlet. Her imaginative string music paves the way for an emotionally stirring, seamless, and wholesome live experience.
| $15 | 7 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | https://onelongfellowsquare.com/
The Record Company.
VINTAGE ROCK | The Los Angeles based trio The Record Company are set to transform Portland's Port City Music Hall into a smoky, backwoods Mississippi jukebox joint with their time-tested take on classic rock-n-roll. They’ll be singing the blues and stomping around alongside Smooth Hound Smith, a duo well versed in the same hazy, memorable, yet admittedly cliche American sounds.
| $20 | 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.portcitymusichall.com/
SONGWRITING LEGEND | This week, Portland’s graced with the presence of yet another old but highly treasured folk-rocker: Gordon Lightfoot. Yes of course this Canadian hall of famer is still around — you didn’t fall for his death hoax back in the early days of Twitter, did you? He’s going to be doing what most of the still-touring greats from the '60s and '70s do today: attempt to conjure the energy, enthusiasm, and artistic spark of concerts lost to time. Reviewers of his live show swear that this 78-year-old star’s still got it.
| $100 | 8:00 pm | Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland | www.porttix.com
PUCKER UP | The warm air brings with it an onslaught of spring concerts that I’m excited to string words together and tell you about. From the London Souls tearing up the stage at P.H.O.M.E. and Todd Rundgren lighting up Aura, to the xx playing Thompson’s Point and the return of the All Roads Music Festival up in Brunswick, there are a lot of acts to highlight. However, you’ll have to pick up next week’s issue to get the full lowdown on these events, and more. I doubt Phoenix readers have the brain space is in this information-soaked world of ours to remember each show a full 8 Days in advance, so flip through these pages next week. But in the meantime, put down your phone, and go experience something.