1. It’s a first for downtown Bangor: improv comedy troupe The Focus Group will make its premiere in the Queen City, with an 8 p.m. show on Friday night at Nocturnem Drafthaus; admission is $5. Also at Nocturnem this weekend is blues band the Bad Daddys, who will play on Saturday. Friday and Saturday the Big Easy at the Charles Inn hosts Eric Green and Cory Deschane; Friday hosts heavy rockers OneSixtyOne at Raena’s, and at Paddy Murphy’s on Saturday night Ellsworth songwriter Chris Ross rocks the house. Finally, Sunday brings the return of P.U.N.K. Fest to the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono – 2 until 10 p.m., 20 bands (20!), $5, all ages. Yes, you read that right. There will also be ice cream sandwiches and a SEGA Genesis video game competition. Alternately, you can see the Country Throwdown tour on the Bangor Waterfront, also on Sunday. There will not be a SEGA Genesis video game competition there, but there will be beer and cute country singers.
2. Singer-songwriter and pop ingenue Amy Allen will ply her lovely music at an all ages show set for 6 p.m. Friday night at Empire in Portland; Lady Zen and Stereocom play a late show that night at 10 p.m., and on Saturday, there’s Morrissey’s Unhappy Birthday Party, featuring the music of Morrissey and the Smiths performed by the likes of Scott Girouard, Shawn Saindon, Elf Princess and Grand Hotel. The band Post Provost plays a record release party at the Space Gallery on Friday, and there’s an Alley Cat Bike Race and after party at Space starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the Asylum hosts a benefit concert featuring the Mallett Brothers Band, Spose and the Other Bones, sponsored by Elykssor Clothing. And finally, the mesmerizing experimental folk duo Arborea performs at One Longfellow Square on Saturday night; watch them perform a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR Music.
3. Speaking coastally, well, it’s Memorial Day weekend, which means the Island is starting to get crazy. On MDI, you can hear songwriter Christopher Paul Stelling at the Lompoc Cafe on Friday night, and Bangor’s own power trio Temperature of the Sun at Sips in Southwest Harbor on Saturday. In Ellsworth, the 220s rock the house at Chummies, and in Rockland, Rock City Cafe’s got Gypsy Caravan on Friday and Ale House String Band on Saturday.
4. Three fun things happening in the world of theatre and comedy this weekend. The Mid Coast Actor’s Studio opens its inaugural production, Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. In Bar Harbor, at College of the Atlantic, students mount a production of the rarely produced “No Exit,” the existential drama by Jean-Paul Sartre, with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday on the COA campus. Also in Bar Harbor, Improv Acadia opens it’s eighth season with shows at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a 10 p.m. show on Saturday as well.
5. Oy vey, blockbusters. ‘Tis the season, right? “Men In Black III” opens this weekend, so if you’ve been feeling like there’s not enough Will Smith in your life, you’re in luck. Also opening this weekend – and for what I’m sure is an entirely different demographic – is “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” which has venerable British actors like Judi Dench and Bill Nighy in it. “The Chernobyl Diaires,” which sounds like exactly what you think it is, opens, along with an adaption of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” which I expect to be as teeth grindingly cloying as I… well, expect. The Bob Marley documentary “Marley” shows at both Railroad Square Cinema and the Strand Theatre in Rockland, and the Grand Theatre shows the action flick “Haywire.” Or you could just go see “The Avengers” for the third time.
PS: With that headline, I made a reference that was simultaneously referring to John Denver, the Dead Milkmen and the Pet Shop Boys. If you picked up on that, you get to drink from the firehose. And if you got THAT reference, you might be my new best friend.