LISTENING TIME | The world is on fire, but your work is most needed in your own community. Facing systematic defunding as part of the Trump administration's proposed American Health Care Act, Planned Parenthood is on the receiving end of countless creative fundraisers these days. This one, at the quietly-awesome show space Oxbow Blending and Bottling, collects the power of storytelling, where Portland folks tell personal narratives of care and treatment they've received from the health organization, and of reproductive health care in general. The Planned Parenthood Story Slam starts at 6 pm.
| By donation | 6 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland | http://plannedparenthoodevents.ngpvanhost.com/ngpvanforms/21213
DEATH BY DESIGN | Grief eventually hits us all, but for those haunted by it from a young age, this inspired informal setting at the Urban Farm Fermentory could offer helpful comfort and community, and the opportunity to talk through some shit that the everyday world rarely makes time for. Hosted by Gina Colombatto, an experienced facilitator on the topic of death (and host of the radio show DeadDogDinah), this experimental "Death Cafe" is a fine idea.
| Free | 5:30-7:30 pm | Urban Farm Fermentory, 200 Anderson St., Portland | http://portcityblue.com/
SMOKED | Takes some real ear-to-the-ground folks to make up a show this good. A product of Chris Gervais's weekly Are You Kidding Me? Tapes Thursday night concert series (which we covered last week), we'd be shocked if there were more than a couple dozen folks at this out-there evening of sounds—conjured up by blown-out overlords 'Cuse Me, radical skronkists Diva Cup, and resident shredder Tom Hamill (of Burr) — but everyone else in town besides those couple dozen will be quietly suffering.
| FREE | 9 pm | Geno's Rock Club, 625 Congress St., Portland
SAX GHOST | Legend ran away with the Boston blues-rock band Morphine, whose moody sax-driven sound cut through the alt-rock squee to find a massive cult audience in the '90s. Of course, bandleader and bassist Mark Sandman passed away of a heart attack in 1999, halting the band and sending the Boston community into shock, but the surviving members reunited in 2009, and have been carrying the banner ever since. They play with Will Bradford of the adventurous Portland-based pop-project SeepeopleS, and Pretty Sad, a winning duo of emo-rock songwriter Dustin Saucier and Renee Coolbrith, she of the voice.
| $12 | 8:30 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | http://portlandempire.com/
THIS DUDE DID THIS | With limited time left on this planet (technically true no matter your political perspective), it's crucial to appreciate the earth while you can. Join Barney Scout Mann as he shares stories, video, and slides from the Pacific Coast Trail, a 2,650-mile trek from Mexico to the Canadian border, all while sippin' on your favorite pils.
| FREE | 4 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland | http://oxbowbeer.com/
ROLL HARD | Bayside Bowl's all revamped, and if you're smart you whipped up your bowling game over the winter. Exercise both virtues tonight as the multifarious pop group Forget, Forget plays with Dan Capaldi's long-time rock project Sea Level and Akela Moon, a supergroup playing soul, funk, and Afrobeat-inspired tunes.
| FREE | 8 pm | Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland | https://www.baysidebowl.com/
FIRST CRUSHES | If you had a copy of that My So Called Life soundtrack along with everyone else in the '90s, let's hang the eff out. Track two, of course — a prime spot — was Buffalo Tom's "Soda Jerk," a fine song on a soundtrack full of fine songs. The Boston-based slacker-rock group hovered around mainstream success awhile before the bottom fell out (of the industry, not really the band). They've always produced albums at a leisurely pace, and 2011's Skins was still a fine piece of Yankee grunge music. They're celebrating the 25th anniversary of Let Me Come Over, their landmark album, at Port City Music Hall.
| $25-28 | 7 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.statetheatreportland.com/
EAT THAT | If the sun be shining, learn the merits of urban foraging today in a wandeing lesson by ReWild Maine, which teaches you to identify and use wild, edible, and medicinal plants growing in urban or suburban settings. We all need better post-apocalyptic skills.
| FREE | 1-4 pm | Eastern Cemetery, 224 Congress St., Portland | https://www.rewildmaine.org/
RHYMERS UNION | The Boston-based emcee Akrobatik burst onto the hip-hop scene by way of his singles nearly 20 years ago (this writer remembers not being able to keep "Say Yes Say Word" 12-inches on the shelves of the record store he worked at in the late '90s). Subsequent inspired collaborations with the lefty rapper Mr. Lif (as the Perceptionists) cemented him as one of cult favorites in the game, over which he's been a flagship artist on Def Jux and Fat Beats. Akrobatik's the prime draw of on a sprawling night of hip-hop artists at Oxbow (which we're aware we're hyping for the third consecutive day, but chill). Titled "Hip Hops 3," and hosted by local rapper Ben Shorr and DJ Myth, you can expect "Rap Night" veteran Ill By Instinct, P. Dank artist Lady Essence, Dray Jr., Busybars, ill Murray, and more on the mic. | $10 adv, $15 day of | 7:30 pm | Oxbow Blending and Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland | http://buytickets.at/hiphops/92522
GONE COUNTRY | Songwriter Joel Thetford lived in the Maine woods for more than half a decade, a time over which the Texas-raised songwriter got swarms of Maine devotees to his honest, direct style of lightly indie-fied country songs. He celebrates the release of his new EP, The Outer Bank, with a Bissell Brothers-produced show at Empire tonight. The former bull-rider plays with Jake Hill & Deep Creek, New Hampshire's Sarah Blacker, and Jim Betts & the Beach People—all good songs to sip beer to.
| $8 | 8 pm | Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland | http://portlandempire.com/
FATAL FLOG | Anchored in Ireland, Detroit, and Los Angeles, the group Flogging Molly have been playing their Celtic-inspired songs with a punk panache since the late '90s. They weren't the first band I'd have picked as a teenager to be headlining the biggest venue in my home town, but I don't think anyone gets that right. Their new album, Life is Good, is as direct a statement as anything that punk kids grow up to be normal, mainstream men and women, and that's okay. (It also proves that terrible band names can make sound investments if people find them fun to say.) With Irish-influenced country songwriter Jake Smith, aka The White Buffalo, and Dylan Walshe.
| $38 | 8 pm | State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland | http://www.statetheatreportland.com/
STAY GOOPY | One of the most trusted of Portland's constellation of dance parties, "Slime" returns to Flask Lounge tonight, courtesy of DJs Barfhorse and Laura Vanilla, who spin freak-forward electro, R&B, house, and whatever else makes 'em pop that night.
| FREE | 9 pm | Flask Lounge, 117 Spring St., Portland | http://flasklounge.com/
CHILL OR BE CHILLED | Some of us here at the Phoenix like to waste away a lazy Sunday afternoon occupying space at a local coffee shop until we’ve developed a caffeine headache. We recommend you do the same, but maybe, pace yourself with the espresso. This Sunday’s proves to be a fine day to get mellow at a cafe, as the alternative-folk band Hunter descends on the Arabica coffee shop. Time to settle in, sip a latte, and get lost in this dynamic four piece’s effortlessly chill vibes.
| FREE | 11 am | Arabica, 9 Commercial St., Portland | https://www.arabicacoffee.me/
AVENGERS (AND BASEBALL FANS) ASSEMBLE | For better for worse, narratives of superhumans saving the world have deeply entrenched themselves in our culture. There have been at least 67 big budget superhero movies just in the past decade! But let’s not kid ourselves, as much as we love to bemoan the tired nature of the “the hero’s journey,” we’ve probably seen (and loved) most of those films. Mingle with others that are unfazed at the prospect of Marvel and DC imprisoning our attention and milking us of our dollars for decades to come, during “Superhero Day.” Dust off your superhero costume, pack your favorite comic books, and nerd out before the big Portland Seadogs game against Trenton Thunder. A faux Ironman will be there for some photo ops because we know the real Tony Stark would never be on board with pleasing a crowd of paparazzi.
| $14 | 1 pm | Hadlock Field, 271 Park Ave., Portland | http://www.milb.com/
SCREW PHYSICS | Those thirsty for an off-grain dance night might find something they like in tonight's "Deep Sea Reserve," a night of beats and dancing, with proceeds benefiting the Wounded Warrior program in honor of Memorial Day.
| $15-25 | 9 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St, Portland | https://onelongfellowsquare.com
YOUNG AND WISE | Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (and Mainer) Travis Mills, a celebrated military man who lost his legs on assignment in Afghanistan in 2012, is the beneficiary and namesake of an annual 5K in Augusta called Miles for Mills. Proceeds benefit the Travis Mills Foundation, which raises funds for combat-wounded veterans.
| $20 | 8 am | 50 Front., Augusta | https://www.runreg.com/miles-for-mills
YOUNG AND WISE | Are the Orwells the best new live band in America right now? Surely that must be hyperbole, the number one tool in a music writer's handbook? We’ll leave it up to you, but note that several music mags across the country are lauding the garage-punk-rock band’s new album Terrible Human Beings as mandatory listening for anyone that wants to hold hope for the future of modern rock. They fuse strong influences from the past (think early Strokes and Iggy Pop) with a modern flair reliant on back-breaking intensity, youthful spirit, and a sprinkle of calculated sloppiness. The Walters from Chicago are set to open.
| $21 | 8 pm | Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland | http://www.portcitymusichall.com/
LET’S REVISIT | Full disclaimer: I actually haven’t seen Netflix’s new and contentious young adult drama 13 Reasons Why, but many who have are calling for a broader, more nuanced discussion of its often misconstrued themes of tragedy, mental illness, and suicide. If those directly affected (or deeply knowledgeable) on those heavy subjects are decrying the TV series as problematic, then perhaps we should hear what they have to say. The discussion will be led by Meg Rooks, a librarian, Devon Mulligan from the Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, Jenna Rodrigues from the Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program of Family Crisis Services, and Greg Marley from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
| FREE | 4 pm | Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Sq., Portland | https://www.portlandlibrary.com
DEAD HEADS UNITE | If you’re one of those music heads yearning for a show that conjures the magic of the early days of psychedelic rock, a la the Grateful Dead, then you’re in luck. All summer long, every Wednesday, the Portland House of Music is offering a double dose of dead, through the musical resurrection skills of The Maine Dead Project and the Working Dead.
| $5 | 5:30 pm | Portland House of Music and Events, 25 Temple St., Portland | https://www.portlandhouseofmusic.com/
SIMPLE GIFTS | They say it’s hard to get young people engaged with classical orchestra music, but if any group’s going to do it, it’s going to be Palaver Strings. This Boston team of veteran musicians is “dedicated to the collaborative interpretation of classical masterworks,” and reports fresh young faces in their crowds! With a musical mission rooted in healing and promoting social issues, perhaps it’s time to pit their talents against your easily distracted attention span.
| $14 | 8 pm | One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland | https://onelongfellowsquare.com/
LOOKING AHEAD | This first week of June brings with it an onslaught of curious cultural offerings. Pick up these pages next week for detailed previews on events that will easily make you laugh, cry, shout in glee, and think deep thoughts (but not all at once). What’s on our mind? Well next week the Costume Society of America will screen a film at the PMA called Suited; which shakes heteronormativity to its outdated core, Bella’s Bartok will showcase the darker side of Eastern European music with a show at the Portland House of Music; Portland’s favorite coffee shop chain will throw a party; two-time Grammy winner Laurence Juber plans a tour stop at One Longfellow Square; Spencer Albee will kick of the album release party for his hotly anticipated new album Relentlessly Yours; and the first First Friday Art Walk of the summer will (naturally) be a bit more politically charged. Good stuff; see you next week.