1. After a whole week of 70-degree daytime weather and unlimited sunshine, I’d dare say we’re getting a bit spoiled. Start your weekend out with First Friday Jazz featuring saxophonist Roy de Klerk at Nocturnem Drafthaus, the funky sounds of Tomorrow Morning at Paddy Murphy’s, and a double shot of local rock with Sound and Vice and One Shot Nothing at Tantrum. On Saturday, however, it’s the third annual Halfway to Halloween event in downtown Bangor, in which you have an excuse to put on a silly costume and party (as if you really needed one). To celebrate, check out an indie rock show featuring When Particles Collide and the Box Tiger (pictured above) at Paddy Murphy’s, an early show with Mark Miller and Friends and a later (10 p.m.) show featuring the spooky dancers of the Haus of Paradigm at Nocturnem Drafthaus, the Blast Addicts rocking the house with lots of new original songs at Ipanema Bar & Grill, and at the Big Easy Lounge, it’s newcomers Sus 4. Wrap your weekend up on Sunday afternoon with Stesha Cano at 4 Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport.
2. The Big Easy in Portland has three super fun shows this weekend, starting with the aforementioned When Particles Collide and the Box Tiger with Forget, Forget on Friday; Jimmy and the Soul Cats and Lay Z Gait on Saturday, and – who knew? – 1990s British alt-rockers Spacehog with Spencer Albee on Sunday. Friday night, there’s songwriter Maia Sharp plays at One Longfellow Square, there’s a four-band bill featuring Old Night, Wood Burning Cat, Billy Carr and Stefen Henegar at Slainte, the Asylum hosts its own Halfway to Halloween celebration with the band Covered in Bees, and don’t forget, it’s First Friday Art Walk night, so take advantage of that gorgeous weather and stroll around the Old Port for some cult-chah. Saturday night, you can rock with Clutch (pictured) and the Sword at the State Theatre, there’s Keller Williams at Port City Music Hall, and at Geno’s it’s Throttle and El Grande.
3. What a perfect weekend to be on the coast! In Knox County this weekend, you can rock with Hurry Down Sunshine at Rock City Coffee in Rockland on Friday, and on Saturday, there’s Wiffle Tree (also at Rock City), bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers at the Strand in Rockland, 90s cover band Hello Newman at Myrtle Street Tavern, and at Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston there’s a Kentucky Derby party set for noon, complete with mint juleps and ladies’ hat party. Across the bay, you can dig the Larks at Mainely Meat on Main in Ellsworth, or Roots, Rhythm & Dub at the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor, both on Friday, or on Saturday you can check out the 220s at Chummies, also in Ellsworth. And for those who feel like a mid-century nostalgia trip, you can check out either performance of “Music, Music, Music,” a community tribute to the music of the 1940s and 50s, featuring the Memphis Belles and other singers and performers; shows are set for 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth.
4. In Bangor this weekend there’s the sixth annual Northern Writes New Works Festival, set for Friday through Sunday at the Bangor Opera House. There are nine brand new plays from playwrights from all over Maine and the country; performances are set for 6, 7 and 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 3 p.m. and 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 2 p.m. Sunday. A full list of plays can be found at penobscottheatre.org. Ten Bucks Theatre Company’s production of “The Nerd” (pictured) continues at the Eddington-Clifton Civic Center, with performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. And in Portland, the hilarious farce “Wittenberg,” which pits Martin Luther, Dr. Faustus and Hamlet against one another, opens at Portland Stage, with performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
5. Even though summer vacation is still six weeks away, there’s a good chance your kids are already starting to paw at the doors and freak out. Take them to the third annual Kid Central Festival in downtown Bangor this Saturday, and let them blow off some steam – tie dye t-shirt making, soda making, cannoli making, music, dancing, costumes and much more are set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in businesses and locations throughout downtown; best of all, it’s free. In keeping with the get outside spirit, in Portland this weekend is BDN Maine’s own Outdoors Expo, set for Saturday and Sunday at the Portland Expo. There’s tons of vendors and demonstrations, food, entertainment, giveaway, talks by fishermen, hikers, game wardens and more, and of course, you can hang with Aislinn Sarnacki and John Holyoke.