PORTLAND — Two original psychedelic Maine bands will perform “A Night of Space Rock” at Portland House of Music and Events, Friday, Feb. 24 at 9 p.m.
The Great North Band and Diamond Sky, both based in southern Maine, delve into psychedelic rock, presenting sets that combine their original music with favorite classic rock covers.
“These bands offer two unique takes on Maine’s homegrown psychedelic sound,” said Ben Meiklejohn of Seal Harbor, who is producing the show with his new company Hoboe Productions.
“The Great North Band is a psychedelic funk rock jam band that digs into hard rock and blues, and Diamond Sky brings a diverse mix of psychedelic rock and blues from a roster of veteran Maine musicians,” said Meiklejohn.
Psychedelic rock is a musical genre of rock music that originated in the 1960s and was influenced by the popularity of hallucinogenic drugs at that time. Some of the characteristics of psychedelic rock are the use of “trippy” sound effects such as reverb or phasing, surreal lyrics and extended improvisations.
“Similar but different, these two bands make a complementary pairing that will provide a glimpse into Maine’s homegrown psychedelic rock,” Meiklejohn said.
Musicians from both bands have played in numerous Maine Grateful Dead tribute acts. The Grateful Dead is one of the most popular bands to have originated as a psychedelic rock band.
Craig Weaver of Portland, who plays bass for The Great North Band, said, “Music has always showcased humanity and soul in the world and psychedelic music in particular strikes a chord of wonder about the universe and our place in it.”
Weaver said The Great North Band “continues that journey with improvisation and vibe.”
Weaver was also the bass player of 6gig, a successful alternative rock band that received national notoriety in the 1990s and 2000s.
Rob Carlson, of Standish, plays guitar and sings for Diamond Sky. Carlson said bands from the 60s and 70s such as the Grateful Dead, Hawkwind, Moody Blues, and Jefferson Airplane “broke through to the other side, creating psychedelic soundscapes for mind journeys and new experiences.”
“These early psychonauts paved the way for later jam bands like Diamond Sky that adopted the improvised jams, space explorations and ethereal soundscapes,”he added.
Carlson said he met Phil Lesh, bassist for the Grateful Dead in 2003.
“He told me to help carry the torch,” Carlson said. “We keep it burning brightly with original songs like ‘Space Queen,’ ‘Hold On’ and ‘Diamond Sky’ and pay tribute to the psychedelic warriors of the past.”
While both bands typically play longer performances combining their original music with favorite classics, both bands will focus more on their original material for this concert.
Tickets are $7 in advance / $10 at door. 21+.