1. Bundle up, my little elfings: it’s going to be a chilly one this weekend, with temperatures in the mid-20s during the day, and dipping down to the teens and even single digits at night. Warm yourself up in downtown Bangor, where on Friday night it’s a blues lover’s paradise, with the Bad Daddys at Nocturnem Drafthaus and the Juke Rockets at Paddy Murphy’s; you can also hear singer-songwriter Samantha Lynn at the Big Easy at the Charles Inn, and up in Orono you can rock your face off with OneSixtyOne at the Bear Brew. Saturday, there are two personal favorites of mine playing: the hauntingly gorgeous folk duo Arborea (pictured) at the Rock & Art Shop on Central Street, and acoustic warrior Travis Cyr & the Strings of Calamity at Nocturnem Drafthaus. There’s also the groovy sound of Knotty Pine at Paddy Murphy’s, the Blood Orange Martinis at the Big Easy, and in Brewer, the Main Street R&B Revue plays a holiday show at the Next Generation Theatre.
2. There’s an epic night of reggae Friday night in Portland, with area supergroup Royal Hammer plays at the Big Easy with East Wave Radio; the Big Easy also hosts local soul with Lady Zen on Saturday. Friday night has also got the Trickle Down and the John Clavette Band at Empire, rockabilly legends the Reverend Horton Heat at Port City Music Hall, and a night of hip hop at Geno’s. On Saturday night, take your pick from Marco Benevento and Whale Oil at Empire, the evening Yulegrass show – Christmas bluegrass, natch – at One Longfellow Square, flamenco music with Olas at Space Gallery, and hardcore with Paige Turner, Cryptic Overcast and Contrapposto at Geno’s. And don’t forget Sunday, when pop-alternative 90s band Sister Hazel plays with local boy Pete Kilpatrick at the Asylum.
3. One of the last nights of the year to enjoy Three Tides in Belfast before it closes up for the winter months is Saturday night, when you can catch acoustic ensemble Bearkat (pictured) at the waterfront bar and eatery. In Rockland, there’s rockers the Ruckus on Saturday night at Myrtle Street Tavern, while at the Smokestack Grill in Camden there’s local band Two Dollar Bill, again on Saturday. Across the bay, young chanteuse Alice Limoges plays Friday at the Maine Grind in Ellsworth; Saturday there’s the allmighty Blast Addicts at Chummies in Ellsworth, and at Sips in Southwest Harbor catch r&b group the Shambles, also on Saturday.
4. I don’t even know where to begin with all the holiday stuff happening this weekend! How about we break it up into two halves, shall we? For the performing arts side of things, you can see weekend two of “Annie” at Penobscot Theatre, though tickets are dangerously close to selling out, so get ‘em now. There’s also the big “Nutcracker” spectacular (pictured) with the Robinson Ballet and the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono. The Grand Theatre in Ellsworth hosts “Home for the Holidays,” an original Grand production at 7:30 p.m Friday and Saturday, while the Camden Opera House hosts John Bielenberg’s adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
5. OK, away from the performing arts side of thing, and more for the shopping, eating and do-gooding side. The German Christmas Market is set for the daytime at the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor, and it’s also Good Deeds Day, sponsored by the Bangor Elves, so if you feel like helping a random stranger, Saturday is a great day to do it. There’s the Winter Window Walk in downtown Portland, where you can stroll through downtown on Saturday evening to see all the storefront windows decorated. And a wacky option for your weekend holiday fun could be the annual Santa’s Reindeer affair at Witter Farm at the University of Maine, set for 5 p.m. Sunday; the Standardbred Drill Team will bring out their team of horses dressed as – you guessed it – Santa’s reindeer. Santa and hot cocoa also provided. PHEW!