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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the WCHS TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Posted: June 4, 2018

Listen local at these outdoor venues

Written by: Aimsel Ponti

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my picks for the best big outdoor summer concerts. I’m following that up with some suggestions on where you can see local acts perform on decks, patios, parks and other outside locales, now that we can truly throw our arms around the warmer weather and transition completely into flip-flop mode.

I decided the best course of action was to hop onto Facebook and ask for suggestions. The floodgates opened with many terrific suggestions, and I decided the best course of action was to select five to highlight, then list some other ones, so as to provide a decent snapshot of outside musical offerings.

At some spots, you’ll enjoy a frosty pint. At others, you’ll plunk down on a blanket with a picnic. But in all cases, I hope you’ll savor the experiences because summer here doesn’t hang around nearly long enough.

Max Caitlin, left to right, Colin Winsor, and Ryan Haliburton of Ryan Haliburton and the Stills perform at Portland Lobster Company in Portland.
Staff photo by Joel Page

PORTLAND LOBSTER COMPANY, 180 Commercial St., Portland.

I had to include Portland Lobster Company because its schedule is as jam-packed as it can possibly be with live music happening seven days a week and on Saturdays and Sundays twice. Yes, you’ll be jockeying for real estate with tourists, as the place is wildly popular, but I surely do love how they clearly support local musicians by scheduling such a massive number of acts. It’s almost worth heading to PoLoCo’s website and going old-school by printing out its monthly calendars and sticking them on the fridge. I took a gander at the rest of the June schedule, and there’s so much good stuff to choose from. Highlights include Mitch Alden at 12:30 and Pete Kilpatrick at 5:30 on June 17, Sam Shain & The Scolded Dogs at 6:30 p.m. on June 20, Jason Spooner Band at 6:30 p.m. on June 23, Gina Alibrio & Friends at 12:30 p.m. on June 24, The Boneheads at 5:30 p.m. on June 24, and O.C. & The Offbeats at 6:30 p.m. on June 25. I don’t even eat seafood, but I make sure to hit this spot every summer because it’s always a fun time.

Waterfront Park in Bath
Staff photo by Derek Davis


The Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath invites you to sit in a park by the water and hear live music, and I think that sounds like a mighty fine idea. Their summer concert series has been happening for several years and they always put together a diverse mix of acts. All shows are on Saturdays at 7 p.m., and the series kicks off with singer-songwriter Matt Newberg on July 7 and closes out on Aug. 25 with Pan Fried Steel. Six shows are in between, including the Big Chips Jazz Trio on July 28, Duquette Trio on Aug. 4 and Pretty Girls Sing Soprano on Aug. 11. I don’t get to Bath nearly enough, but I’ve had a crush on it for years and always pat myself on the back when I find myself there. It truly is a charming little city by the sea, with art galleries, restaurants and that certain midcoast je ne sais quoi.

Photo by Samanta Schnare


Since this is, after all, a music column, let me start with a few key lines from a favorite Carole King song: “When this old world starts getting me down and people are just too much for me to face/I climb way up to the top of the stairs and all my cares just drift right into space.” That’s from King’s “Up on the Roof,” and up on the roof at Bayside Bowl is a little slice of heaven. Its rooftop concert series is already under way, and while the schedule for July and August is still being filled in, what I can tell you is that the June calendar has some fantastic shows on it. At 6 p.m. on June 19, catch Americana act Shanna Underwood & Wanderlost, and you can thank me later when you hear Underwood’s sensational singing voice. Two days later, on June 21 at 8 p.m., you can see organ trio MicroMasse. Their sound fuses Hammond organ, guitar and drums, and, no joke, I don’t know any other band anywhere that is doing what this one is doing. On June 26 at 6 p.m., you won’t want to miss singer-songwriter Clara Junken, who will be putting on a solo-acoustic show. Be sure to request my favorite song of hers, “Out to See.”


The Maine Academy of Modern Music, along with Friends of Deering Oaks and the Portland Public Library, presents a special series of shows with kids and their parents/caretakers as the target audience. The series has been happening at the library, and for the four Fridays in July, it’s going outside because, well, it’s July. All shows are at 10:30 a.m. You’ll see a local act play for 30 minutes, followed by another 30 minutes from a MAMM student band. Sponsors are Machias Savings Bank and Maine Red Claws, which is worth mentioning because Crusher the mascot has been know to show up at these shows.

Photo by Claire Jeffers

THE BRUNSWICK, 39 W. Grand Ave., Old Orchard Beach.

You’re darn right I’m sending you to Old Orchard Beach this summer. The Brunswick is right on the freaking beach, and they’ve got a pretty packed live music schedule. This is as good a reason to drink cheap beer and chow down on fried haddock fingers as any. Play hooky and catch the Dapper Gents Duo on June 19 at 1 p.m., or head there at 6 p.m. for Christie Ray. Dance band Tickle will be there at 8:30 p.m. on June 23, and The Inflatables will be playing at 8:30 p.m. on June 29, and there are several other acts on the schedule. I’ll level with you, I’m not familiar with many of them, but my feeling is that live music is always better than the pre-recorded kind, and you never know when you’re going to discover your next favorite band. Furthermore, after catching some rays or goofing off at Palace Playland, isn’t it comforting to know there’s a place to hang out with a terrific beach-side patio, where you can kick back with some tunes and watch the sunset?

THANKS TO THE POWER of social media, here are six other places you can see live music outside. I double-checked all of them, so you’re good to go.

Music on the Mall in Brunswick Summer Concert Series, Brunswick Town Mall. All shows are at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays with one Thursday show on July 5 (no show on July 4). The schedule starts on June 27 with Cilantro and ends on Aug. 29 with Three’s County.

The Porthole Restaurant & Pub, 20 Custom House Wharf, Portland. The deck is giant, and it will be rocking all summer long with shows.

Amigo’s, 9 Dana St., Portland. Tucked in the lower part of the Old Port, the back patio at Amigo’s will have live music every weekend all summer. Plus you can get tacos. Tunes kick off at 9:30 p.m. On Facebook.

Slab Sicilian Street Food, 25 Preble St., Portland. The winning combination of a massive slice of pizza and live music can be found at Slab. The patio area is huge, and the elevated stage is, too. The summer music schedule kicks off on the June 17 with A Band Beyond Description at 5 p.m., and things don’t wind down until mid-September.

Easy Day, 725 Broadway, South Portland. It’s a fabulous place to bowl and watch sports on TV, and during the summer, Easy Day is also a sweet spot for live music. Shows happen at 5 p.m. every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer.

Woodhull Public House, 30 Forest Falls Drive, Yarmouth. There’s a gorgeous deck surrounded by trees and plants at Woodhull. Catch Austin Stirling at 8 p.m. on the June 14 and Sweet Thieves at 8 p.m. on June 21, and keep an eye out for a bunch of more shows on Woodhull’s Facebook page.


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