1. Sad to say it, folks, but it’s true: summer is basically over. Sure, we’ll have another few weeks of 70-80 degree weather, and there’s certainly a few more swimming and summery activities to be had. But it’s Labor Day weekend. You know what that means – and I don’t mean that you’re for some reason not supposed to wear white anymore (why is that still a thing, anyway? What is this, 1952?). In Bangor, you can send out Summer 2012 with some solid aural adventures – Saturday is a quadruple threat, in fact. You can hear funk/r&b band Juicebox at Paddy Murphy’s, you can groove with Rotating Taps at Ipanema, you can relax with guitarist Mark Miller at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and you can enjoy a night of indie punk at the Big Easy Lounge at the Charles Inn, with Bangor’s own dirty rockers Wizard Diary (pictured), Massachusetts band Codeine Schoolboy and Bangor post-punk up-and-comers Outre. Of course, there’s also a very good chance that you’ll be catching one of three of the biggest shows the Bangor Waterfront Pavilion has offered this year: boy band Big Time Rush on Friday, country megastar Keith Urban on Saturday, and another country megastar, Jason Aldean, on Sunday. Now that is how you end a summer!
2. The same pretty much goes for Portland: it’s a very tasty weekend of musical fun. A short selection for Friday night includes Station 85, Ginlab (pictured), the 220s and Oliver Waterman at the Big Easy, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons at Empire, and the Jon Herington Band at One Longfellow Square. Saturday night, you can hear Model Airplane at the Big Easy, Gorilla Finger Dub Band at Brian Boru; there’s Ogre, Iron Man and Revelation at Geno’s and an Americana double bill featuring Tumbling Bones and Little Jimmy Findlan and his Aroostook Hillbillies at Mayo Street Arts. On a separate note: I just found out that Lucid Stage – a small, black box theater just outside of downtown in Portland, that hosted everything from the Mad Horse Theater Company to improv comedy to burlesque – is closing its doors for good in October. This is sad for a number of reasons, but first and foremost because there are so few spaces in Portland and in Maine in general for intimate performances, theater or otherwise. The loss of such a venue is a loss for performing arts in Maine.
3. Speaking coastally, we’ll start in Hancock County this weekend. The Blast Addicts take the stage Friday night at Chummies in Ellsworth, and at the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor, also on Friday, you can hear the Blue Sevilles. At the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor there are two weekend performances from the band True Jacqueline; they’re accompanied by Friends Of Yours on Friday and Steve Aoki on Saturday. The Last Friday Coffeehouse at Hammond Hall in Winter Harbor hosts songwriter Claudia Schmidt.
4. Seeing as every weekend this summer has brought its share of festivals and fairs, it makes sense that the unofficial end to the season would have three really good ones. The Portland Brew Festival is set for Friday and Saturday at the Portland Company Complex – more than 30 brewers from all over New England will be set up for you to sample, from established favorites like Allagash and Samuel Adams, to bold microbrews like Clown Shoes and Bunker Brewing. Admission is $35. Moving east, the family favorite the Blue Hill Fair runs all weekend, with all sheepdog trials, lumberjacks, country music and rides you can handle. And in Eastport, the Eastport Salmon Festival runs from Friday to Sunday, and includes everything from a Paint Eastport exhibition, a farmer’s market, musical and theater performances from Scot Cannon, Live Bait and Slim Chance and the Can’t Hardly Playboys, and, of course, a big salmon dinner from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
5. “But what about Monday?” you ask. “What about my day off?” Here’s what you do: you spend time with your family and your friends. You drink lemonade on the front porch. You drive to the coast and walk on the beach. You take the air conditioner out of the window and cut your electric bill by a third. You craft a makeshift slip n’ slide for the kids on the lawn. You take advantage of our terribly low lobster prices and some in-season farmer’s market corn and potatoes, and you have a feast. You sleep in, drink coffee and read, and go to a movie that night. Don’t do anything. Enjoy yourselves.