Mike Dow

Mike Dow

edge staff writer

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Melodic metal band Weapons of Anew are set to perform their first Maine show on August 3 at Aura in Portland, as openers for Creed’s Scott Stapp and Texas rockers Messer.

Weapons of Anew released their debut album “The Collision of Love and Hate” in the fall of 2017, and have already recorded most of its follow-up, due for release early in 2020, according to lead singer Ray West.

Weapons of Anew is comprised of West (also a member of the band Spread Eagle), former Axiom/HavocHate guitarist Freddy Ordine, bassist Stefan “Reno” Catrupi, Chris Manfre on drums and guitarist Kris Norris on guitar.

In the following interview with The Maine Edge, West credits each band member’s broad range of musical influence for Weapons of Anew’s unique sound, and he reveals how the band’s second album will differ from the group’s debut.

He’s irreverent, he’s unapologetic and he’s outrageously successful. Comedian Ron White is scheduled to bring his “If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up” tour (with ever-present cigar and glass of Scotch) to Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on July 26.

The tour shares a name with White’s current Netlflix special, but he assured me that his Bangor audience will hear material they’ve never heard before – along with his favorite stories from the special.

Nearly 20 years ago, White – along with Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy – launched The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, a series of concerts, specials and CDs that sent the careers of each comedian into the stratosphere (or at least into your home in one form or another).

That success has placed White in the enviable position of calling every aspect of his career. He does what he wants how he wants and when he wants to do it. He’s sold well over 10 million CDs, while all four of his DVDs have gone platinum.

A Texas native, White spends as much as time as possible in the Lone Star State but he also maintains a residence in Beverly Hills. He says he doesn’t take himself seriously, but he takes his comedy very seriously. When he isn’t touring, he says he’ll perform three sets per night at one of the local comedy clubs near his home.

In the following interview, White explains why he can’t wait to return to Maine and why he never wants to return to Omaha.

“If we were living today like we did at 20, we would positively, undoubtedly be dead by now,” Robby Takac said when I asked the bassist and co-founding member of the Goo Goo Dolls about some of the changes he and band mate Johnny Rzeznik have experienced after more than three decades together.

Takac’s matter-of-fact response was a refreshingly honest reaction to a question about some of the myths and realities of life in 2019 for the mega-successful rockers, as their July 30 concert at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor with co-headiners Train and soul-singing opener Allen Stone draws near.

I got a lot of that honesty from Takac, as he explained why the Goo Goo Dolls today are - in some ways - the same band they were in the ‘80s, when they were cranking out punk records in Buffalo and opening shows for bands like Motorhead, Bad Brains and The Dead Milkmen.

Actress Jodie Sweetin was all of five years old when she was introduced to the world in 1987 as Stephanie Tanner for seven seasons of ABC’s “Full House.” The sitcom was rebooted by Netflix as “Fuller House” in 2016 with most of the original cast resuming their roles. A fifth and final season of that series is scheduled to premiere in late 2019.

Sweetin, a mother of two, and her best friend, therapist and life coach Celia Behar (of parenting blog “The Lil Mamas” and also a mom of two) have joined forces for a weekly podcast from Main Event Media and Audioboom.

Each episode of “Never Thought I’d Say This” revolves around a phrase that neither mom thought they would ever speak out loud … before becoming a parent.

The series features several recurring segments, special guests and stories from listeners. New episodes of “Never Thought I’d Say This” can be found each Wednesday from iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and most digital platforms.

Sweetin and Behar tag-teamed for a preview of “Never Thought I’d Say This” during the following freewheeling exchange with The Maine Edge.

Dispatch, the long-serving multi-genre indie roots jam band, is set to play their only New England headlining show of the year this Saturday, July 20, at Thompson’s Point in Portland, with special guests Moon Taxi.

Dispatch is performing a limited number of Summer Stops 2019 concerts in support of the new live album “Live 18” and their 2018 studio album “Location 13.” The band is currently working on material for its eighth studio album.

“We’re no strangers to Maine and we’re wicked psyched to be returning for this show,” says Dispatch front man and multi-instrumentalist Chad Stokes.

Comedian Tone Bell coined the perfect title for his first standup comedy special: “Can’t Cancel This.”

The title refers to the fact that the Decatur, Georgia native has featured in a number of network comedy series that ultimately ended up on the chopping block. Among them: 2014’s “Bad Judge,” 2015’s “Truth Be Told,” Netflix’s “Disjointed” (2017-2018) and 2019’s CBS comedy “Fam.”

Bell’s work in the latter series led to “Can’t Cancel This” when CBS-owned premium channel Showtime began airing the special earlier this year. It’s available on-demand from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Spectrum and most digital platforms.

“I’m really proud of this special, man. Thank you for giving it a shot,” Bell said at the outset of my interview with him.

ROCKLAND - Blues lovers from around the world are fixing to pitch a wang dang doodle at this year’s 26th edition of the North Atlantic Blues Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14 at Harbor Park in Rockland.

“There’s something at this festival for every blues fan,” says Paul Benjamin, founder of the North Atlantic Blues Festival and a member of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.

“If you like female vocalists, Texas blues, Mississippi blues, Chicago blues, piano-based blues – you’ll find a lot to like at this year’s festival,” he said. “We try to represent as many different styles of blues as possible with our festival lineup.”

Benjamin says this year’s edition of the North Atlantic Blues Festival will feature seven acts making their first festival appearance with four others that last appeared years ago.

“There’s so much great talent out there, we try to keep the lineup fresh each time,” Benjamin explained of his methodology used to determine the festival’s artist lineup each year.

“We have a five-year rule that if you play the festival, it will be at least that long before you can play it again,” he added.

As a musician, composer and producer, Robert Berry has been part of an elite musical sector for decades. Perhaps best known for his work with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer as songwriter, vocalist and bassist for 3 (an offshoot of prog-rock legends Emerson, Lake & Palmer), the trio released one album for Geffen Records – 1988’s “To the Power of Three.”

A planned follow-up record was never finished, and the trio disbanded as friends after one successful tour. Emerson subsequently reunited with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer while Berry busied himself with a dizzying succession of musical projects including GTR (with Steve Howe of Yes), Alliance, and the Greg Kihn Band.

Fast forward to 2015 and the release of an archival live recording titled “Live Boston ’88.”

Berry and Emerson were thrilled not only because the album was so well received but that 3’s brief existence had been given new life.

The musicians began calling each other, and soon plans were hatched for 3.2, with a new label (Frontiers Records) and a deal for a full-length album. New songs were being written and recordings were underway when the unthinkable happened.

Just days before Emerson was due to arrive in Japan to fulfill a promise for a concert promoter, “The Jimi Hendrix of the keyboard” (in Berry’s words) took his own life at home in Santa Monica.

Emerson had been grappling with a series of escalating health issues, including a pending heart problem, impacting his ability to play at the level he felt his fans expected.

“That, combined with Keith’s love/hate relationship with live performance made him feel powerless,” Berry told me during an interview.

Have you picked up a whiff of 50th anniversary nostalgia? It seems to have permeated most pop culture corners this year. Poor 2019 can’t catch a break while that pesky summer of ’69 keeps coming back in the form of lunar commemorations, Woodstock box sets and Chappaquiddick documentaries.

Expect another round of 50th anniversary music box sets to be announced for this year’s fourth quarter as labels canvass the vaults for previously unreleased content. Until then, a number of intriguing archival releases and reissues are anticipated.

BANGOR – Anticipation was high when Phish performed two distinctly different shows back to back at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor on July 25 and 26.

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