Kyle Poissonnier had an idea. Convince his favorite Maine musicians to throw a concert to promote his fledgling company Katalyst Lifestyle Brand and showcase the state’s burgeoning music scene.
Last year the inaugural State of the State concert was a mega success. On Friday the Smithfield native and Husson University grad does it again, taking over the State Theatre in Portland for a night of homegrown harmony.
Some of the musicians — The Mallett Brothers Band, The Wrecking, Spose and The Other Bones — return for a second State of the State tour. Others, like firebrand Kenya Hall, add new vitality to the banging blitz. We asked the tattooed, kind-hearted Poissonnier who produces, promotes and presents the concert for the rundown on this summer’s supershow.
What is the current state of rock in Maine?
So exciting. It’s definitely flourishing now more than ever. This show is a prime example. Soul, funk, alt-country, rap, and electric rock. I’m not sure you can find that genre mixing anywhere else. It all comes from Maine and it’s all so good.
What’s the biggest change this year for State of the State 2.0?
We made it more of an event and spectacle statewide. We added Kenya Hall and Model Airplane and a 10-piece orchestra, Maine Youth Rock Orchestra. Each band will perform two songs from their set with these kids, who range from 12 to 17 years old. I have sat in on rehearsals and it has blown everyone away with how amazing it sounds.
How do the acts you’ve chosen represent Maine?
These bands show what is so great about Maine, which is variety, everyone supporting one another, and coming together for a common cause. That is Maine, that is what this show says.
What did you learn from running last year’s State of the State?
You can never stop reaching people, even until the minute you take the stage. Every tweet, every Facebook message, ever radio ad, every TV appearance or radio matters. Work is never done. It takes a lot to bring this many people out to a show. We did so much prep work and the bands and people involved are beyond proud. Oh, and that hosting is fun.
With one year under your belt, does it get easier pulling this off?
No. Plain and simple. I haven’t slept in a few days I think. But this is my big event every year. I can sleep next week.
Your company Katalyst started out as a lifestyle/apparel company, has your business model changed?
I knew Katalyst would shape itself, it’s going great. I have speaking engagements in New York, at youth camps, a TV show spawned from it, we are booking schools now for 2014-2015, planning our next custom item. We are easing back on clothing and doing more production and marketing. We even booked a graduation for next year with some special Maine musicians.
Very cool. As the promoter/producer do you get to rock out during the show?
Yes, it’s my reward as the host. I believe they are letting me play some drums this year, not kidding.
It all sounds great, but tell me honestly, this really all about getting chicks, right?
Ha, ha. No. It’s more about finding the right woman, since not many want a boyfriend that has zero free time.
State of the State is Friday at the State Theatre in Portland. Tickets, $20, are still available and can be purchased here. The show starts at 7 p.m.