Portland-based band Rigometrics is gearing up for their first official tour. From left are members Derek Haney Josef Berger and Keenan Hendricks. Drew Johnson / The Forecaster

From backyard parties to the start of an East Coast tour this week, Portland-based rock band Rigometrics is seeing their dream of playing full-time come within reach.

Guitarist Josef Berger, drummer Derek Haney and keyboardist and lead vocalist Keenan Hendricks bring elements of funk, blues, pop and classic rock to their 20 original songs, a taste inspired by Led Zeppelin, Queen and The White Stripes, among others.

Their performances are packed with energy, from Keenan leaping as he wails on the keys to Haney’s thumping solos. At a show in February, the crowd called for Berger to take his shirt off. He did and then proceeded to put the guitar behind his head and rip a solo.

“You feed off that,” said Hendricks, sitting at the electric drum kit in the trio’s living room in Westbrook. “When you play your original songs, and people are vibing with it, you’re like ‘Whoa, this is sick,’ and they’re dancing, they’re getting loud. You just feed off all of that.”

After graduating from the University of Southern Maine with little fanfare in 2021 because of the pandemic, Hendricks and Haney decided to celebrate with a two-week road trip, and Berger met them midway through after graduating from the University of New England. Their only commitment was to play at a friend’s backyard party in Virginia, but they decided to see what else they could do.

“The band wasn’t something that we thought was actually going to happen at that point,” Haney said, noting that their friends, and even themselves, considered two USM basketball players and a UNE football player forming a band to be “a joke.”


But they presented themselves to a small music venue in Virginia anyway.

Rigometrics at the Portland House of Music in February. Drew Johnson / The Forecaster

“We definitively pitched ourselves like we were pretty legit,” Hendricks said. “‘We’re on an East Coast road trip’ kind of thing, like an actual tour, which we weren’t at all.”

The fake-it-’til-you-make-it strategy paid off. They got the gig, playing in front of 50 to 75 people, with a light show and fog machine to boot.

Within days of returning to Maine, the pandemic mask mandate in Portland had lifted.

“At the time, all these venues didn’t have anyone booked,” Hendricks said, and they scheduled shows wherever they could.

As they worked the bar scene in Portland throughout the summer of 2021, they developed a following.


“We knew if a venue gave us a shot, we could get people there,” Haney said.

Their performances morphed into slightly larger shows at the University of Maine and in Hendricks’ and Bergers’ hometown of Rockland. Then they scored a gig at The Rack at Sugarloaf on New Year’s Day, which Haney said was “the turning point.”

The band’s ability to network continued to breed success as they booked shows at Bates College and the University of Vermont as a result of their performance at Sugarloaf. Returning to Portland once more, they started playing shows at venues like Geno’s Rock Club and opening for local band Coyote Island at the Portland House of Music.

After their first opening gig at Portland House of Music, they were asked to come again.

“We’ll actually be back in a couple of weeks,” Hendricks said he told the owner  — they were scheduled to open for Coyote Island again. “No, I want you to headline,” the owner responded.

Their first headliner in April aligned with the release of the band’s first single, “A Chance,” which had over 3,000 listens on Spotify in its first three weeks. Their next single, “The Way,” will be released May 20.


The band has a natural and fluid creative process. Casual jams routinely turn into full-fledged songs.

“It’s nice that it’s all happening in the same place,” Berger said of writing songs in their living room. “If there’s music being played, everyone knows what’s going on.”

“If Keenan’s playing the piano by himself,” Haney explained, “and one of us walks in, we immediately start listening and go, ‘Oh, what can I do with that.’”

Their range of sound, from classic rock to funk to blues, changes week-to-week based on what bands they’re listening to, Berger said, and some of the songs they come up with never come to fruition.

“We’ll play (a song) for a week, and then we have a show that weekend and never come back to it again,” he said.

They have “an endless amount of voice memos” of half-written songs on their phones, Hendricks said.


Rigometrics will be bringing “The Rig,” a school bus they purchased for $600 and renovated, on tour. Contributed / Derek Haney

This summer will make their first official East Coast tour, the result of lots of phone calls and hustle, they said. They’ll set off on the tour in “The Rig” – a converted school bus they acquired in November.

“My parents knew someone in the Kennebunk school system, and they were trying to get rid of five buses,” Hendricks said. “We got the bus for $600 … It was a bidding system. It seems we were the only ones to bid, and that’s what we bid.”

They gave the bus a makeover, with a couch and cots inside, and, thanks to artist Pam Chevez, a new decal wrap on the outside.

Hendricks still works at an art store in Portland, Haney is a personal trainer and nutrition coach, and Berger, who put his plans to go back to school on hold, managed to fix up and sell some cars last summer, saving enough money to simply focus on making music.

But for the next two months, Rigometrics will get a taste of their dream. Starting in New York City on Friday, they’ll play a total of 12 shows in Philadelphia, North Carolina, Virginia, Baltimore, Massachusetts and Maine, all of which they booked themselves. They’ll wrap it up with another headline show at Portland House of Music on July 22 and, throughout the tour, plan to release two more singles ahead of their first album.

“Obviously, the dream is much, much bigger than this,” Haney said. “But now we have a foundation to build off of.”

To listen, look up Rigometrics on Spotify, Apple Music, or other streaming platforms. For more info on the band and to buy tickets to their upcoming shows, follow them on Instagram (@rigometrics) or find them on Facebook.

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