1. Friday appears to be the low key night in Bangor, while Saturday things ramp up to 11. Friday night, you have your choice of musical entertainment, be it an acoustic set from the 220s (pictured) at Nocturnem, the Bad Daddy’s at the Big Easy or Trisha Mason at Paddy Murphy’s; you can also check out the winter edition of Pecha Kucha Bangor, with presentations beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Eastern Maine Development Corp. headquarters on Harlow Street. Saturday, however, you can start across the river, when River City Cinema shows Maine documentary “Betting the Farm” at 7 p.m. at the Brewer Performing Arts Center; at 8 p.m. at Jeff’s Catering there’s Comedy Riot 4, featuring comedians Ryan Waning, Brian Beaudoin, Adam Hatch and Cory Guglietti, hosted by Rich Kimball. Back in Bangor, the Haus of Paradigm hosts its Holiday Hafla at 6 p.m. at Chopsticks on Center Street, while at Nocturnem Drafthaus there’s Mark Miller, the 220s playing a full electric set at Paddy Murphy’s, the Blast Addicts at Ipanema and Wicked Blue at the Big Easy. In Orono, there’s an EDM night featuring lots of Maine DJs at the Bear Brew on Saturday, and on Sunday at 7 p.m. there’s the first Story Slam of the season, set for Verve.
2. A very good weekend for live music in Portland indeed, hot off a Thursday night with indie rock legends Dinosaur Jr at the State Theatre. Friday night, you have your pick of dance parties, depending on your preference of distortion in your guitars. On the louder side of things, there’s good ol’ fashioned punk rock at Geno’s with the Nasty, Jimmy Jacked, USA Waste and Urban Waste, while at Mayo St. Arts there’s indie garage punk with the Rattlesnakes, Dead Trend, Brick Mower and Alex Keaton. Dance parties can be found at the Big Easy Friday, with Sly-Chi and Roosevelt Dime sharing a bill, and Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Hollis Brown and Whale Oil at Port City Music Hall. You could head out to the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford to see If and It and Mount Sharp, or you could stay in town and see Enter the Haggis at Empire. Saturday night at Bayside Bowl there’s a pretty cool show featuring French and gypsy bands Britta Pejic et Les Frenchmen (pictured above) and Ryan Flaherty and friends, there’s a benefit for Big Meat Hammer frontman Jordan Katz at Geno’s featuring Hessian, the Donner Party, the Lynn Rebels, Thee Icepicks and more, while at Space Gallery the acclaimed ensemble School of Seven Bells plays with Twin Sister and Moon King. Or you could see the Smashing Pumpkins Saturday night at the State Theatre. No big whoop.
3. On the coast – Belfast, to be specific – there’s the first New Vaudeville Revue of the season, a hoot of a local variety show set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at Troy Howard Middle School; it’s $12. At the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday you can check out roots band Roosevelt Dime (pictured), and also on Saturday there’s a big, special contradance at High Mountain Hall in Camden, featuring Sassafras Stomp. Friday night at Rock City Coffee you can catch the Bill Barnes Jazz Trio, while Midcoast rockers MLC are set for the Myrtle Street Tavern on Saturday night, also in Rockland. Finally, across the bay in Ellsworth, Sunday afternoon brings the Grand Theatre’s Holiday Celebration, set for 4 p.m. and featuring Noel Paul Stookey, Paul Sullivan and Bill Raiten; admission is $22.
4. The holiday season kicks into full gear this weekend, with lots of towns hosting their big Christmas event on Saturday. Bangor has its annual Festival of Lights, a sparkling holiday parade set for 4 p.m., followed by the tree lighting in West Market Square. Camden’s Christmas by the Sea is all day Saturday, with Santa arriving by tug boat at noon, the Atlantic Ballet Company performing “The Nutcracker” at the Camden Opera House at 3 p.m., and a tree lighting, bonfire and carriage rides in nearby Rockport from 4 to 7 p.m. Another option is the Stonington Holiday Fair, at the Stonington Community Center, with more than 35 vendors from around the island and beyond, and a dance party at 7 p.m. at the Stonington Opera House with calypso band Hoot!.
5. Plenty to do on the theater side of things, too, with Orono Community Theatre’s one weekend only performance of “Our Town” set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono. Next Generation Theatre performs “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at their performance space in Brewer, while down south Portland Stage hosts both “A Christmas Carol” and “The Santaland Diaries,” with performances of “Carol” set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and noon and 5 p.m. Sunday, and “Santaland” set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.