1. You can get a head start on St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, when Irish brawlers the Napper Tandies (pictured) play a special reunion show on Friday night at Paddy Murphy’s; follow it up with Chris Ross playing with a full band at Paddy’s on Saturday. At Nocturnem Drafthaus you can hear Stesha Cano on Friday and the Bill Barnes Jazz Trio on Saturday, and at the Big Easy, Larry and Leslie Latour and Dave Meek play a set of upbeat folk on Saturday. Ipanema offers up the debut of Hancock County band the Junkyard Cats, as well as the 220s on Saturday. For something a little more low-key, there’s the Skyliners Big Band on Saturday night at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, and acclaimed concert pianist Jonathan Biss performs at 3 p.m. Sunday at Minsky Recital Hall at the University of Maine.
2. It’s a big weekend at Geno’s, starting Friday, when Maine punk rock takes over the venue with Covered in Bees, the Rattlesnakes (pictured), Pinko and the Action Boys and a one-night-only reunion of the Tom Savage Explosion. Saturday brings the Action Slacks, Gravel and the The Rest The South the West, and on Sunday there’s a hip hop show featuring J Jones, Violently Ill, Dynamo-P, and Entricut and Grave Stranger. At Empire, you can catch Beat Horizon and Gorilla Finger Dub Band on Friday and two sets from Della Mae on Saturday, while at the Big Easy there’s Doubting Gravity on Friday and the Tonekings and HD R&B on Saturday. Friday night at the Space Gallery Phantom Buffalo play a record released for their new album “Tadaloora,” with An Anderson and Video Nasties, and at Port City Music Hall on Saturday there’s more hip hop, with Moufy, Cam Groves and Trails. Also on Saturday, at the Asylum you can hear some fabulous local electro-pop with Dean Ford, the Other Bones and Sea Level. Out in Biddeford, the intriguing Herbcraft plays a record release show on Saturday with Bar Harbor’s Coke Weed at the Oak and the Ax. And don’t forget that Friday there’s George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the State Theatre, followed by the Drive-Boy Truckers and the Old 97′s on Saturday.
3. More early St. Patrick’s Day fun in Rockland, with traditional Irish ensemble Dervish at Strand Theatre in Rockland, set for Friday night; something a little more upbeat is set for the same night at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, with country rockers Waylon Speed. On Saturday, Hancock County denizens have their choice of Trisha Mason at Chummies in Ellsworth, r&b group the Shambles at Sips in Southwest Harbor, or out at the University of Maine in Machias, a very special 8 p.m. performance from guitar great Gary Lucas, known for his work with everyone from Captain Beefheart to Jeff Buckley. Or, you can check out College of the Atlantic’s production of John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine,” set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Gates Community Center. And if you feel like traveling and supporting young Maine performers, the regional competition for the Maine Drama Festival is set for this weekend – a.k.a. the One Acts – with performances to be held Friday and Saturday at MDI High School, Oceanside, Bonny Eagle, Caribou, Morse, Thornton, Skowhegan, Cathering McAuley and Bangor.
4. Some very unique movies are out this weekend, starting with “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” the sort-of prequel of “The Wizard of Oz,” starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz; that’s at mainstream cinemas statewide. Also on screen this weekend is the wild, weird “Holy Motors,” one of the strangest, most entertaining French films of recent years, set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Portland Museum of Art. Reel Pizza Cinerama in Bar Harbor’s got dramedy “Smashed” and “Django Unchained,” in case you missed it the first time round, and Railroad Square Cinema’s got “Quartet,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” German film “Lore” and food documentary “A Place At The Table.” Finally, the Maine International Film Festival’s MIFF in the Morning series brings the touching film “Hello I Must Be Going” to Unity College at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
5. So the weather is getting nicer, and praise sweet baby Jebus, Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend, so life will suddenly not be quite so dark and cold and depressing. What better way to celebrate the onset of warmer weather than with the Cabin Fever Reliever show in Brewer this weekend? It’s set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Brewer Auditorium, and there will be booths from lots of outdoors enthusiasts to get you ready. And, of course, our incredibly well-informed, friendly and attractive BDN Outdoors staff will be there, so you can ask John Holyoke about fly fishing, Aislinn Sarnacki about hiking, and Aimee Thibodeau about how she manages to handle such otherworldly talents as the people on her team. Bassmaster Jonathan Carter (pictured), who recently completed in the Bassmaster Classic event, will also be on hand. See you there!