Way back in 1983, the now-storied Geno’s Rock Club, located in a what was then quite literally an underground space on Brown Street in Portland, began booking local bands.
That first show featured a band called Average Rage, fronted by a local musician named Kip Brown, who himself went on to become something of a local music legend; Kip, in fact, was the first to play at Geno’s.
In the years that followed, Kip emerged as a force in the Portland local music scene, playing dozens of shows at Geno’s — and many more at other clubs throughout Maine and New England — with an impressive roster of bands, including The Pontiffs, The Vagabond Kings, Wild Hearts, Idol Threats, Restless Hearts, The Technicians (one of Portland’s first punk bands) and many more.
Tragically, Kip passed away from cancer back in July.
And while he may be gone, he’s certainly not forgotten, and on Friday, Geno’s — now located at 625 Congress Street — will honor Kip’s legacy with a show that features a lineup of bands whose members include either friends or family of the Portland stalwart.
The bill, put together by Kip’s daughter Gina, includes her band, Euphemia, as well as the Kurt Baker Band, the Gamma Goochies, The Pontiffs (who reunited specifically for this show), The Seaside Graves and The Wallhangers.
“There are really so many wonderful people who could be a part of this tribute, but it would have to be broken up into multiple shows,” Gina said. “I really just wanted the bands on the bill to be his close friends and family.”
cGina said her Dad was a self-taught musician, starting with the accordian at the age of 8 and moving on to drums as a teenager.
Starting in 1973, he played drums for 10 years in various bands and then became a front man. Kip loved all kinds of music, Gina said, but really idolized Chuck Berry, Link Wray, Johnny Thunders, and Ian Hunter.
“He worked extremely hard to learn his craft, but never took music too seriously,” Gina said. “He believed music should be fun. He hated rock star attitudes, didn’t play any games, and he didn’t like being so rehearsed that there was no fervent energy left once the band hit the stage. He didn’t believe in set lists, never used pedals, and always played through a cherry red 1959 Les Paul Jr., with an Orange amp.”
Gina said she can still see her Dad’s influence in a lot of bands playing around town, particularly in their approach to music and their attitude.
The tribute show, Gina said, is something her Dad would’ve appreciated, because it’s going to rock.
“He LOVED music and always believed in being a fan first,” Gina said.
The Kip Brown Tribute show is Friday, Nov. 19 at Geno’s, 625 Congress St., Portland, ME. Doors at 8. $10 at the door.