A photographic account of heavy music in Portland, Maine
It was a good year to see national heavy bands in Portland.
Geno’s, in particular, was ground zero for a sudden influx of well-respected underground acts in 2014. Within that dark, cavernous setting, a Portlander could stand mere inches from legendary Maine band Today is the Day or legends-in-the-making Lord Mantis, Morne, and Mortals.
The Mortals show was especially mind-blowing, which was surprising because the timing couldn’t have been worse. After a week-long gauntlet of Halloween parties in Portland, Mortals arrived on Nov. 1 — a cold, rainy and tragic day for the city. It was a perfect shitstorm of shock, grief, exhaustion, and bone-chilling cold, which undoubtedly kept attendance light. Nonetheless, the band played a blistering set for the lucky few who braved the elements.
Since then, Mortals (an all-female blackened sludge band from Brooklyn) has wrapped a 19-date U.S. tour with Pallbearer and Sólstafir and announced plans for a month-long European tour with Skeletonwitch and Goatwhore.
Clearly, this is a band on the rise.
It strikes us that Portland is full of stories like this. We’re just big enough to entice cool up-and-coming acts to our shores, but small enough that we needn’t push or shove to get close to them. For the time being anyway, each person is entitled a space on the floor, near the stage, with plenty of room to close your eyes and let the next big thing wash over you.
None of this would be possible without the hard work of impresarios Justin Curtsinger, Robin Goodhue, Angus McFarland, J. Morse, “Geets Romo,” Gabe Sobczak, Paul Simisky and others. These are people who often put their own money on the line — sometimes paying guarantees out of their own pockets — in order to draw good acts.
Next time you see them, thank them for making our cozy little city a wee bit bigger and brighter.
In the meantime, here are our 14 favorite photos of out-of-towners from ’14.
If you’d like to see other examples of our work, here’s a Best of 2014 collection culled from The Forecaster and elsewhere.