1. You can start your weekend a little early in downtown Bangor, when Maine’s favorite roots rockers the Mallett Brothers Band play the Cool Sounds Concert Series in Pickering Square from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. On Friday, you can check out singer-songwriter Tall Tall Trees at the Rock & Art Shop at 8 p.m., a free screening of noir classic “Kiss Me Deadly” at 9 p.m. in Pickering Square, the Blast Addicts at Paddy Murphy’s, reggae rockers Knotty Pine at Ipanema, hip hop with Green Tank at the Big Easy, and hot off his successful Aroostakoostik Festival last weekend, it’s Travis Cyr at Nocturnem Drafthaus. On Saturday, there’s River Bottom Funk at Nocturnem, Sus4 at the Big Easy, the fun rockers Shyboy at the Penobscot Pourhouse, and the sweet sounds from the nice guys in Mellow Endeavor at Paddy Murphy’s. Wrap up your weekend with some laid back blues with the Sean Chambers Band at 4Points BBQ in Winterport, or a concert on the Bangor Waterfront with Guster, Ben Folds Five and the Barenaked Ladies.
2. It’s a big weekend at Port City Music Hall in Portland, starting with reggae legend Freddie McGregor on Friday, a dual record release from Portland’s own Spencer Albee and Brenda on Saturday, and Australian multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd on Sunday. Elsewhere on Friday, you can check out Tim Cushing, Colby Nathan and Methuin Muir at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford, Phish tribute band Pardon Me Doug at the Big Easy, Belt, Planeside and Society Inc at Geno’s, and at Slainte there’s Worried Well, GinLab and Dustin Saucier. On Saturday, there’s a double bill of Americana featuring Little Timmy Findlin and the Aroostook Hillbillies and the Tumbling Bones at Mayo Street Arts, a concert from Charles Brown and Friends at St. Lawrence Arts, a night of burlesque at the Oak and the Ax, Kenya Hall and Nat Osborn at the Big Easy, and Seax, Ancient Power and Stone Tools at Geno’s.
3. Everybody acts like it’s some sort of massive chore to drive 1A to Bar Harbor. Oh, no, so you have to wait in traffic for 20 minutes! The road is full of people who can’t wait to go to a beautiful place in Maine! Boohoo. You know it’s worth it once you get there! On the island, you can enjoy music on Friday from Destroy Them My Robots at the Lompoc Cafe or Eric Green at Finback, and on Saturday there’s Tall Tall Trees at Lompoc. In Ellsworth there’s two nights of female fronted rockers Octavia at Chummies, and at Mainely Meat there’s acoustic duo Him & Her on Friday and Trisha Mason on Saturday. Across the bay, there’s standup comedy with Jim McCue at the Camden Opera House on Saturday, and there’s three performances of the Belfast Maskers’ product of “The Fantasticks” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Belfast Boathouse, 7 p.m. Friday at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Delano Auditorium in Castine.
4. There’s a whopping five different Shakespeare plays being performed statewide this weekend. In Brewer, Ten Bucks Theatre opens its annual Shakespeare Under the Stars on Thursday, with performances of “The Tempest” set for 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at Indian Trail Park; it’s $10, and bring blankets and bug spray. In Stonington, the yearly Shakespeare production opens on Thursday as well, with a moody, unique take on the rarely performed “Cymbeline” set for 7 p.m. Thursday-Sunday at the Stonington Opera House; tickets are $30-$35. In the Portland area, the Fenix Theatre starts its completely free performances of “Romeo and Juliet,” set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Deering Oaks Park in Portland. And Mainstage Shakespeare continues in Kennebunk, with “Much Ado About Nothing” at 7 p.m. Friday and “Hamlet” at 7 p.m. Saturday, in Lafayette Park; the shows are free but donations are accepted.
5. What’s on the docket for festivals this weekend? Well, there’s the Maine Celtic Celebration in Belfast all weekend, with music from the Press Gang, Naia, Hanz Araki and the Mighty Few, Celtic games, the famous cheese rolling competition and more. The Yarmouth Clam Festival also happens this weekend, with a fun parade, a clam shucking contest, fireworks music and more. And, of course, there’s the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, an Aroostook County tradition that runs through Sunday in Fort Fairfield, with the Maine Potato Blossom Queen Pageant, the Annual Antique Tractor Pull and fireworks over the beautiful Aroostook River.