It’s the simple things that really make a difference. An iced coffee on a hot summer day. Finding a dollar on the sidewalk. Reruns of “The Golden Girls” (R.I.P. Estelle Getty). Taking goofy pictures of yourself in front of the Paul Bunyan statue.

That’s why it warms my little four-chambered rock ’n’ roll heart to hear that this fall is one of the best in years for cool shows in Maine. I click on various Web sites, scouring the Internet for what’s going on, and am pleasantly surprised to find a diverse and adventurous few months of bands passing through our fair state.

Barring gas prices taking another hike, I’m so there for a bunch of these gigs. Like I said: It’s the little things that make your day better.

The Asylum, Portland (Tickets available at Bull Moose Music stores)

This venue must have gotten some new promoters, because there’s all kinds of stuff happening here this fall. Extreme funk-punk band Fishbone plays Aug. 30, and extreme Celtic-punk band Flogging Molly takes the stage Sept. 12. Everlast, formerly of early ’90s hip-hop crew House of Pain, will play with The Lordz on Oct. 4, while bizarro rapper Kool Keith is set for Oct. 9. Finally, JJ Grey and Mofro play with Hill Country Revue on Oct. 18.

Merrill Auditorium, Portland (Tickets available at


Legendary songwriter John Prine will play here with Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion on Sept. 12, while The Black Crowes and Howlin’ Rain will rock the stage on Oct. 15.

Space Gallery, Portland (Tickets available at Bull Moose Music stores)

Ooh, the Space has some really, really good stuff coming up. Personally, I’m very excited about the fact that Anticon Records’ Why? is playing Sept. 20 with labelmate Alias; Why?’s latest album, “Alopecia,” is one of my favorite of the year, blending hip-hop with dense, interesting, electronic-tinged indie-rock. A month later, Jonathan Richman, former frontman for the brilliant ’70s punk band The Modern Lovers, will play Oct. 18, and classically trained chanteuse (and former Sufjan Stevens cheerleader) My Brightest Diamond will perform Oct. 30.

South Portland Auditorium (

Old Crow Medicine Show is one of the foremost purveyors of what’s often called “newgrass” — bluegrass with a contemporary, rock-influenced spin, and they play here Sept. 21. Guitar God and another personal favorite, Richard Thompson, will take the stage Oct. 17.

One Longfellow Square (

The Bad Plus is composed of three stellar musicians who play an aggressive, rockin’ brand of jazz — check out their covers of the Pixies and Nirvana sometime. They play two shows here Sept. 21 and 22. New England folk favorite Dar Williams makes a Maine stop Oct. 1.

Bates College, Lewiston (

There are few hotter DJs out there right now than mashup man Girl Talk; he’ll throw a dance party here Sept. 12. Later, Yeasayer will play Oct. 23 — its album “All Hour Symbols” was one of my favorites of 2007, blending psychedelic guitar, impassioned vocals and Afrobeat rhythms with electronic beats. Think Peter Gabriel meets Talking Heads. The word is, their live show is incredible.

Bowdoin College, Brunswick (

Broken Social Scene is playing here Oct. 25; they’re a big, satisfying band of Canadian indie rockers.

The Big Easy, Portland (Tickets available at Bull Moose Music stores)

Ah, to be 17 years old, hanging out at the skate park and listening to punk rock again: Rancid and Need to Breathe will play here Sept. 1. Experimental rockers The Slip, along with Sonya Kitchell, will play Sept. 26.

The Station, Portland (Tickets available at Bull Moose Music stores)

Man, there’s lots of hip-hop around this fall: Minneapolis-bred rapper Atmosphere plays with Abstract Rude, DJ Rare Groove and Blueprint on Oct. 17.

Colby College, Waterville (

The reliably entertaining State Radio will play with the Ryan Montbleau Band here Sept. 13.

Unity Centre for the Performing Arts (Tickets available at http:/

I am totally sold on Grace Potter; she’s a rock ’n’ roll babe with a killer voice and awesome guitar chops. Love them. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are set for Unity on Sept. 12.

Jonathan’s, Ogunquit (

Kaki King is about five feet tall, and she’s very pretty, and she plays guitar better than anyone else mentioned in this column (with the exception of Richard Thompson). She plays here Sept. 5. The legendary Richie Havens also plays at Jonathan’s on Sept. 27.

Thomas Point Bluegrass Festival, Brunswick (

You pretty much can’t beat the headliners for this festival: Del McCoury Band and Ricky Skaggs. It’s set for Aug. 29 and Aug. 30.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.