The bar is small. There’s no stage. The crowd of college kids and tattooed punk rockers stands on the floor just a foot from the band.

When Lewiston punk band Connelly plugs in their guitars, it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone in the room that the venue is tight or the crowd is small. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, all energy and motion, and the kids dance in the space they have, sing along and jump on their friends’ backs to be closer to the microphone.

The consensus among the die-hard punk kids is that Maine’s scene has been quiet for a few years. “It was pretty dry for a while,” Dustin Day, 26, an Edward Little graduate and Connelly’s energetic lead singer said last week.

Although Connelly has slated its last shows as a band for later this month, Maine’s punk scene is poised for a revival.

“It’s starting to come back,” he said. “I think a big part of it is the bands are closer knit,” said Day, whose band is one of a trio of acts with Lewiston-Auburn roots that are leading the resurgence.

While Day now lives in South Portland, three of Connelly’s members currently live in L-A. The band plays frequent shows with Steiner Street, a pop-punk act lead by Edward Little High School graduate Eric Cyr, 22, and Background, a blend of ragged, driving hardcore and catchy punk choruses, with members from the Litchfield area.

“It has to do with people … missing the music scene that they had in high school,” Steiner Street’s Cyr said Monday, noting that as an EL student, he went to local punk shows held at Bates College and Auburn’s Unitarian Universalist Church.

“Being a kid, you want fun and excitement. I remember going to my first punk show and thinking it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen,” Day said, thinking back to those early Auburn punk shows.

Those venues have stopped hosting punk shows and the groups that performed at them have disbanded. Day, Cyr and their friends have stepped in to fill the void. “No one was stepping up. We all love music, so we started our own bands. Now you see a big burst punk, hardcore and alternative rock bands,” many of them entwined in Portland’s burgeoning arts scene, Cyr said.

The groups and their down-to-earth attitudes have brought new life to the state’s punk scene, said Jake Simcock, a promoter for local punk and hardcore events. “Everyone in the local music scene is doing what they love,” he said.  


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