1. Hey kids! Welcome back to your regularly scheduled weekend update, from which I took a wee break over the holidays. What’s the haps in Bangor this weekend? Here we go: Paddy Murphy’s hosts the blues band the Blood Orange Martinis on Friday and funkmasters Juicebox (pictured) on Saturday. Nocturnem Drafthaus has got First Friday Jazz on Friday (obvs) and songbird Trisha Mason on Saturday, and Ipanema hosts River Bottom Funk on Saturday. Also, don’t forget that Tantrum – the swanky new nightclub located on the second floor of the building just past the corner of Broad and Washington Streets – is now open. They have an awesome light show and good snacky appetizer food, so if you feel like dancing, that’s the place to be.
2. After a wild New Year’s Eve, settle into 2013 with a few fun shows in Portland. At Empire, there’s Yellow Roman Candles and Kelly Ravin on Friday and comedy with Ian Stuart and John Tole on Saturday. The Big Easy hosts the Ghost of Paul Revere and the Running Gags on Friday and Jimmy and the Soul Cats on Saturday, while at Space Gallery Friday night there’s a very unique show featuring women’s choir Murmurations with Alex Nathanson and Dylan Neely. At One Longfellow Square there’s a night of bluegrass Friday with Dark Hollow Bottling Company and Hot Day at the Zoo, and on Saturday there are two excellent punk shows in two venues: the Rattlesnakes (pictured), Cuss, Leaves Leaves and Billy Carr at Geno’s, and Butcher Boy, Acid Smoker and Where’s My Friend at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford.
3. The Lompoc in Bar Harbor starts its Saturday night winter music series with a doozy of a lineup: Coke Weed (pictured) and Asa Irons, starting at 9:30 p.m. Comedian Bob Marley is at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth on Friday through Sunday, through all shows are sold out except the 7 p.m. Sunday show. In Trenton, there’s a benefit on Friday for Hurricane Sandy relief featuring Trisha Mason, Bobbi Lane, Chris Ross, and Leachfield, starting at 6 p.m. at the Trenton American Legion Hall. In Belfast, there’s the big First Friday Contradance at the American Legion Hall on High Street, with the Free Raisins and caller Chrissy Fowler; family dance at 6:30 p.m., full dance at 8 p.m.
4. Fortunately for all of us, this unholy cold snap we’ve been experiencing the past few days will (supposedly) break on Friday, with temperatures reaching a balmy 29 degrees in most parts of the state. And with all that snow we got, is there a more perfect weekend to ski in Maine? Apres ski fun starts with funk monsters Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket at the Widowmaker at Sugarloaf, who play Friday and Saturday night, while Sunday kicks off College Ski Week, and also means that the four-man jam band Potato Gun Showdown is at the Rack in Carrabassett. In the Bethel area, around Sunday River, there’s Hello Newman at the Phoenix on Saturday night. Oh, and Sunday is $29 to ski for all Maine residents at Saddleback Resort in Rangeley. Get out and have some fun!
5. The first Portland First Friday Art Walk of 2013! Again, with that less frigid weather it’s a great weekend to check it out. While you’re at it, there are plenty of ways to warm up while you’re out and about – check out one of Portland’s many lovely coffee shops, for a latte or hot cocoa or other toasty treat. Me, I recommend anything from the old standby Bard Coffee on Middle Street, to newcomers the Speckled Ax on Congress Street. There’s Arabica on Free Street, and – just a little out of the way from downtown – is Tandem Coffee Roasters, on Anderson Street. Oh, and Coffee By Design, of course. And Crema, from the folk at Arabica. So much coffee! Best way to warm up ever.