1. If there was any doubt that Spring hasn’t yet totally sprung, then this weekend’s 47th annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race should put your mind at ease. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Kenduskeag and travels 16 miles to downtown Bangor, with most racers crossing the finish line no later than 2 p.m. Watching it is free, so find your spot along the race route and cheer them on. Oh, and it’s also Record Store Day, so if you’re a music fan, you can grab some exclusive stuff either before or after the race at Bull Moose Music locations statewide; a full list of music set for the day is listed here.
2. After the boats are in on Saturday, your options for eating and drinking in Bangor abound, and in the evening, you can hear music from the likes of Bizzy Gruntry at the Big Easy, Chris Ross at Paddy Murphy’s, Tomorrow Morning at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and Trisha Mason at Ipanema Bar & Grill. If you’re in Bangor all weekend, don’t forget that on Friday there’s also music from the likes of Travis Cyr & the Strings of Calamity at Paddy Murphy’s, local hip hop artists at the Phoenix Pub, Dave Mello at Nocturnem, Riff Johnson at the Big Easy, and a contra dance at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Church on Park Street.
3. Two great shows to think about attending on Friday in Portland; Space Gallery hosts Maine alt-folk hero Jacob Augustine, with Audrey Ryan and Snowblink, and Geno’s has the rock show to beat, with Arcane Lore, Cryptic Overcast and the almighty Class Machine. Geno’s later hosts Harbor, Gator King, Eastern Spell and Do Your Worst on Saturday. Friday night also brings Caro Khan, Dynamo P and Radio Rahim at Slainte, followed by Techno is for Lovers on Saturday. Port City Music Hall hosts electro band Dopapod on Friday and bluegrass featuring the Dead Sessions and the Tricky Britches on Saturday, and at One Longfellow Square there’s bluesman Junior Brown (pictured) on Friday and two shows (7 and 10 p.m.) with Providence-via-Portland folk group Brown Bird on Saturday. The State Theatre hosts Sound Tribe Sector 9 and Eliot Lipp on Friday and 90s hangers-on the Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday, and out in Biddeford at the wonderful Oak and the Ax, there’s a CD release party for songwriter Heather Maloney on Friday night, and on Saturday there’s a night of circus performance and world folk featuring Bella’s Bartok and Dark Follies.
4. College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor celebrates spring on Saturday with a performance from Midcoast roots-rock trio the Toughcats (pictured), set for the Gates Community Center. Also in the MDI/Ellsworth area this weekend, you can hear blues rockers the Shambles at on Friday night at the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor, the Blast Addicts at Chummies on Saturday, and the Blue Sevilles play two shows this weekend, including Friday night at Danny Murphy’s in Castine and Saturday at Mainely Meat on Main in Ellsworth. Across the bay, there’s two great shows in Knox County on Saturday night – the Dolphin Strikers play at Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston, and Dave Mallett and the Mallett Brothers Band team up for a little father-son musical fun at the Strand Theatre in Rockland. Oh, and don’t forget songwriter Colin Nelson on Friday and folk duo Pitch Black Ribbons on Saturday at Rock City Coffee in Rockland.
5. The Focus Group, the Bangor region’s premiere improv group, celebrates its 4th anniversary at 8 p.m. Friday at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer. Also on Friday is the first-ever weekend of the Early Evening Show, a night of PG-rated comedy featuring the wildly talented Tardy brothers, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the brand-new Theater of Awesome in Freeport. Winterport Open Stage opens its first weekend of the musical comedy “Nunsense,” with shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Wagner Middle School in Winterport, and Portland Stage offers its final weekend of John Cariani’s “Love/Sick,” with performances at 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, and its theater on Forest Avenue in Portland.