Maine rock musician Todd Erickson (right) is organizing a fundraising concert for the Maine Lobstermen's Community Alliance in May as a way to support his lobstering son, Eliot Erickson (left) as he starts his career on the water. Credit: Courtesy of Lisa Erickson

PORTLAND, Maine — Todd Erickson, bassist and singer for the band Holy Smoke, has been a musician all his life. His son, Eliot Erickson, is taking a different path.

At 22-years-old, this is the younger Erickson’s third season lobstering out of Portland Harbor aboard his own boat, the Lisa Lee.

With the lobstering industry under pressure from increased federal regulation, blacklisting by environmental groups and looming wind power projects, Todd Erickson knew he wanted to help his son, somehow.

So he’s doing what he knows how to do best: put on a show and rock-n-roll like crazy.

On Sunday, May 7th, rock and lobster will combine for Band Together: A Concert to Celebrate Maine’s Lobstering Heritage. Featuring four bands and two comedians, the show kicks off at 2 p.m. at the Portland Elks Lodge on outer Congress Street.

All proceeds from the show will go to the Maine Lobstermen’s Community Alliance, a Kennebunk-based, non-profit organization supporting the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Save Maine Lobstermen campaign.

Through that campaign, the Lobstermen’s Association filed suit against the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Secretary of Commerce in Sept. 2021, challenging a 10-year whale plan that Maine lobstermen believed would decimate the industry. The lawsuit is now in appeal.

“As if lobstering weren’t hard enough, now lobstermen are dealing with federal lobbyists, environmentalists blacklisting their catch — and windmills, too,” Todd Erickson said.

Beside’s Todd Erickson’s band Holy Smoke, which just released the first single from its new album due out this fall, Biddeford singer and songwriter Mike Maurice will perform. Also appearing are John Hughes Radio, purveyors of 1980s new wave and post punk-inspired indie dance rock, and four-piece ensemble One Hundred Thorns.

“This concert is our way of inviting the public to a topic that might not be on their radar,” Todd Erickson said. “They should know how that lobster got to the store, and who caught it.”

Kevin Kelley, of the Maine Lobsterman’s Association, said his organization is grateful to have the musical help. Kelley said money raised would be invested in conservation research that could lead to the development of new gear solutions that would better protect marine life without seriously harming the lobster industry.

“It’s always heartening to work with fellow Mainers who understand the importance of protecting our lobstering heritage and preserving the livelihoods of the families and communities up and down our coast,” Kelley said.

According to the Lobsterman’s Association, there are about 4,800 licensed lobstermen in Maine. Each is an individual small business owner supporting roughly 12,000 jobs on the state’s coast, and at least 5,000 more in the lobster supply chain.

Portland comedian Connor McGrath. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Comedian Connor McGrath, twice voted Maine’s favorite funny man by readers of a local paper, will perform and handle MC duties at the show. McGrath said he jumped at the chance to be part of the fundraiser, even though he’s never set a lobster trap in his life, being from the landlocked side of Portland in Deering Center.

But he said he understood lobstering was Maine’s “backbone” and a central part of its identity.

“I love lobster in all of its culinary forms. At least the reasonable ones,” McGrath said. “I did not like the lobster ice cream, although it was more the texture than the taste.”

Tickets for the show cost $20 and are on sale now.

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.