1. Now that the holiday season is officially over, your weekends are suddenly free. If you’re looking for a low key way to blow off some steam, may I suggest the Friday Night Jazz Jam at Nocturnem Drafthaus, set for 8 to 11 p.m.? Or, for a more rock n’ roll experience, there’s the mighty Midcoast rock gods the 220s (pictured at left), at 9:30 Friday at Ipanema Bar & Grill. In Orono, metalheads unite for a loud show featuring End of Idols, Bury the Myth, Hellcarver and Lions in the Sky, at Curva Ultra Lounge starting at 8 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, for something a little more danceable, there’s Roots Rhythm & Dub at Paddy Murphy’s, starting at 9:30 p.m. There’s also the jam band extraordinaire Mudseason at Hollywood Slots on Saturday, starting at 9. Take it easy this weekend. You deserve it. And even if you don’t deserve it, well, do it anyway.
2. Across the Mason-Dixmont, there are some fantastic shows this weekend in Portland. Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade will light up the stage Friday night with her delicious old-timey jazz folk, at 8 p.m. at One Longfellow Square. It’s also the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Portland, so bundle up and make your way around town for some interesting visual arts, and probably some free wine and snacks. And at Geno’s Rock Club, also on Friday, Flannel Magazine hosts four amazing metal bands, including prog-metal lords Last Chance to Reason, Waranimal, the excellently named Falls of Rauros (AWESOME TOLKIEN REFERENCE) and Death Cloud. There’s art from Flannel artists in the lobby from 5:30-8:30, and the show is from 9 to close. Admission is $8. Cool. Or, alternately, you could go salsa dancing with Grupo Mofongo at Empire Dine and Dance, from 8:30-12:30 p.m. Friday. Up to you!
3. What better way to warm up this winter — and get some seriously fun exercise while you’re at it — than with a community contra or swing dance? There’s four set for this weekend, starting with Belfast’s monthly Friday night Flying Shoes Contradance at the American Legion Hall, with the $2 community dance at 6:30 p.m. and the full dance at 8; admission is $10 for 21 and over, $7 for youth, $4 for children. Then there’s a swing dance with the Delta Knights, set for 8 p.m. Friday at the Deering Grange Hall in Portland; lessons are at 7 p.m., full dance at 8, and admission is $10. There’s two more contradances Saturday night — the first at 7:30 p.m. College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor with the Big Moose Contra Band; admission is $6; the second at 7 p.m. at the Falmouth Congregational Church, with caller Maggie Robinson, and it’s $10/$5 kids. Burn those calories the fun way.
4. Care to laugh? Of course you do. Maine’s king of comedy, Bob Marley, will do three shows at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth this weekend. Marley’s trademark skewering of Maine life is funny at all ages, and he’s also the Guinness World Record champ for most hours of standup comedy done in one sitting, a record he set in September 2010 at the Comedy Connection in Portland. Shows at the Grand are at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, and tickets are $26 at the Grand box office.
5. Saturday night brings the fifth annual Trekkapalooza at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, a battle of the bands type event that benefits the Trekkers, a youth outdoor learning organization. Want to know who’s playing what in the Midcoast? Check this out. Slated to play are Chaos Sauce, Downtown Antonio Brown, The Educators, The Fall That Never Ends, Juke Rockets, Just Teachers and Sideways Highway. Seven bands, fifteen bucks. Fun starts at 7 p.m.