Bo Koster excuses himself as he pauses to catch his breath. He’s just climbed to a quiet place high atop Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, and the altitude has left him huffing and puffing.

“On its own, Red Rocks is a magical place,” says Koster, the keyboard player for My Morning Jacket, which headlines this weekend’s KahBang Music, Art and Film Festival on the Bangor waterfront. “Right now, I am watching people run the steps. This is a spot that people come to. It’s like going to a national park. It’s as cool as going to the Grand Canyon or The Gorge (in Washington). There is so much history, so much energy.”

Koster and his bandmates — Jim James, Tom Blankenship, Patrick Hallahan and Carl Broemel — tune in to the places they play. They try to pay attention to their surroundings and tap the local vibe.

Koster hopes their concerts infuse local energy, and that each show My Morning Jacket plays somehow reflects the band’s collective mind-set of that particular day, which is informed by location.

With that in mind, Koster says he is eager to get back to Maine. The band closes out the KahBang festival, which began last week and includes several days’ worth of film screenings, art showings and concerts. This weekend’s portion of the festival will feature more than 40 national and local musical acts performing on the Bangor waterfront.

Saturday’s gig in Bangor marks at least the third show by MMJ in recent years. But the band’s ties to Maine go much deeper than every-other-year concerts.

The band masters its music at Gateway Mastering in Portland. Koster says that James, the band’s frontman, enjoyed “an amazing drive” in Maine while listening to the final mix of MMJ’s most recent CD, “Circuital,” with Gateway’s chief wizard, Bob Ludwig.

So when he says, “It’s always a treat to be able to go to a beautiful place like Maine,” we have reason to believe he’s not blowing smoke.

“It puts us in a good frame of mind,” Koster says. “I feel like we are blessed to play in a lot of different, cool and exciting places. The more rural and remote kind of places lend themselves to a mystical feeling among the band. The energy of a city like New York or L.A. adds a certain thing. And the energy of a place like Maine adds another. We’re aware of it, and tune in to it.

“And we always try to get out and see things during the day before the show. We usually have a friend or two who is from there, and they show us around. So that plays into how we feel when we play the show.”

My Morning Jacket started playing in the late 1990s in Kentucky, and released its first major-label record in 2003. Since then, the band’s career has been on a steady climb, with each release out-selling the previous.

The band hit the Billboard Top 10 in 2008 with the album “Evil Urges,” and the follow-up, “Circuital,” did even better upon its release this past May, peaking at No. 5.

In general, the band has become something of a media darling, thanks to its willingness to take chances and do things out of the ordinary.

In 2008 at Bonnaroo, for instance, it played a marathon four-hour set, complete with lots of guests, a horn section and a boatload of choice covers. Last year, it played several nights at Terminal 5 in New York, and each night played an entire record from start to finish.

Not many bands do those things.

“We’re always striving to grow and push ourselves and see how far we can take it,” Koster explains. “It’s important to follow your own inspiration and your own heart and do the things you want to do. And we’re lucky, because we’re at a place with the band where we can do that. But we never let nay-saying get in the way of things we want to do.

“People said, ‘Five nights in a row is crazy’ or ‘four hours is too long.’ But we knew Bonnaroo would be a perfect place for an epic show. That’s where it starts. We try to have fun and enjoy ourselves first and foremost.”

My Morning Jacket is also active in the humanitarian realm. It recently posted an appeal on its website for fans to support Unicef, and it routinely donates $1 from each concert ticket sold to a local charity.

“We’re trying to use our popularity in a positive way,” Koster says. “We all feel lucky to be where we are and not have to have day jobs. We know this is something we can do to give back, and to give back to all the people who have given to us. We see it as a no-brainer.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]