1. UMaine bounces back after a long dearth of live music, when it brings electronic music star Pretty Lights to the Alfond Arena on Friday for a night of beats and neon; there’s an after party that night at Kingman’s in Old Town featuring DJs Noremac Official and Skylyne. In Bangor on Friday, there’s more post-Pretty Lights electronic with DJs Danny Wompz and TranceForm at Tantrum, or for those less inclined to heavy beats, there’s the Moon Puppies at Nocturnem Drafthaus or there’s songwriter Josh Damigo at the Big Easy. On Saturday, the Rock & Art Shop hosts the haunting folk duo Arborea at 7 p.m., while at Paddy Murphy’s there’s Chris Ross, at the Big Easy there’s Sus4, at Nocturnem there’s one of several CD release parties for soulful singer-songwriter Stesha Cano’s new album, at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer there’s the freewheeling bluegrass ensemble Nevah, and up in Orono and Old Town, there’s the Celtic rock sounds of St. Huckleberry at the Bear Brew, and at Kingman’s there’s the Blast Addicts. Wrap it all up on Sunday with the Adam Ezra Group at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport.
2. Seriously, is there a prettier early fall weekend to be in Maine? I think not. On Friday, in Portland, the State Theatre hosts 90s rockers Candlebox with Hinder and Charm City Devils, while at Port City Music Hall there’s Delta Rae with Jillette Johnson. Also on Friday, at the Big Easy, there’s a celebration of the life of Portland musician Mike Allen, who passed away earlier this year; at Geno’s, there’s the Barnyard Stompers, the Aquanauts and the Watchers; and at Bayside Bowl there’s Portland indie mainstays Phantom Buffalo with Dan Blakeslee. Moving onto Saturday, at the Big Easy there’s Kenya Hall, Kristina Kentigian and Lady Essence as part of the Playing for Change Day festivities – and there’s more Playing for Change fun at One Longfellow Square, with Anna Lombard, Pete Miller and Gunther Brown, there’s hip hop with Cam Groves, Trails and Shane Reis at the Empire, and there’s all ages fun with Beware of Pedestrians (pictured) at the Asylum. At Geno’s there’s punk rock with the Kip Brown Khronikles, Euphemia, the Gamma Goochies and Kid Sentiment, while at Mayo Street Arts there’s Maine jazz with a CD release party for “The Acadia Session.” On Sunday, in the afternoon at the State Theatre there’s a children’s show featuring Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell, while at night at the State there’s roots rockers Dawes with Jonathan Rice, and at Geno’s there’s Upstart Fest, an all night party featuring nine fantastic Northeast rockabilly and psychobilly bands.
3. It’s a great time to be a roots music fan on the Midcoast. Friday night at Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston there’s the gorgeous harmonies of the Ghost of Paul Revere, while on Saturday there’s the Ale House String Band at Rock City Coffee in Rockland, and at the Strand Theatre, also in Rockland, there’s mandolin legend Sam Bush. Meanwhile, across the bay there’s the Blast Addicts at Sips in Northeast Harbor on Friday, the Junkyard Cats at the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor, also on Friday, and at Chummies in Ellsworth there’s Oversoul on Friday and Octavia on Saturday. Finally, on Sunday acclaimed singer-songwriter Richard Buckner (pictured, above) is at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor.
4. It’s Common Ground Fair weekend in Unity! The people! The food! The music! Pie cones and falafel and tacos and fried shiitake mushrooms and pumpkin milkshakes! Music from the likes of Audrey Ryan, Milk and Honey Rebellion, Meteora, the Toughcats, the Gawler Family, Putnam Smith, contra dancing and many many more! Learn about composting, or beer brewing, or solar power! Buy delicious produce and find cool handmade jewelry and handbags and clothing and all kinds of stuff! Look at all the adorable farm animals and watch the border collies wrangle the sheep! It’s Friday through Sunday and it’s $10, and if you’ve never been it’s definitely a must-go.
5. The first weekend of open-to-the-public events at the Cross Insurance Center bring equal amounts of athletic prowess and entertainment. Friday and Saturday there’s the Harlem Globetrotters, while on Sunday there’s the first-ever local sports event at the new arena, when Bangor’s own Central Maine Roller Derby takes on the Portland-based Maine Roller Derby RIP Tides at 3 p.m., and an intraleague scrimmage around 4:30. Come cheer, boo, scream or express your appreciation how you see fit for Maine’s daring roller derby ladies. In between, there’s a performance from When Particles Collide. Admission is $12 at the door. Support local independent sports and local music!