1. You know what was a welcome sign that someday this interminable winter will end? Sam Adams Summer Ale is already on draft. It’s not a big thing, and it’s not my favorite beer ever, but it tastes like warm weather, and that made me feel good. It’s the little things. This weekend in Bangor, you can celebrate what may have just been the start of spring, starting Friday with things like jazz band Mes Amis at Nocturnem Drafthaus, the Blood Orange Martinis at the Big Easy, the Trisha Mason Band at Paddy’s, a night of electronic music with iMaGin8, Skylyne, Tranceform, Bad Habits and Diwwies at Tantrum, and at 7 p.m. at the Intermedia Resource Center at UMaine on both Friday and Saturday, there’s acclaimed experimental musician Phil Niblock — if you’re a Sonic Youth fan, you’ll definitely want to check it out. On Saturday, start the night off with March Dragness, a big drag show set for 7 p.m. at Hollywood Casino; later, you can enjoy the dark folk stylings of the Coloradas (pictured above) at Nocturnem; there’s the always entertaining Rotating Taps at Paddy’s; there’s rockers Tomorrow Morning at Ipanema, there’s Sus4 at the Big Easy, there’s the monthly Pride Night event at Tantrum, and at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport, there’s acoustic duo Him & Her.
2. There’s quite an array of genres and styles to be heard in Portland Friday night, starting with the return of the hypnotic North African sounds of Tinariwen, set for Port City Music Hall; at Empire, there’s the monthly DJ dance party Penthouse; at One Longfellow Square there’s the modern folk sounds of Arborea and Christopher Paul Stelling; there’s a night of punk rock, rockabilly and surf at Geno’s featuring Yankee Cockfight, Antique Screams, Thee Icepicks and Cryptic Slaughter, and there’s hip hop at Slainte featuring Shadow Rhythmic, Caro Khan, Perspective and Flow Pez. There’s the Comedy Brew Haha at Rising Tide Brewery with comedians from the Portland Comedy Co-op, and out at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford there’s indie rockers Lonesome Leash and Dominic Lavoie with burlesque queen Holly D’Anger. On Saturday, check out some roots rock with the Mallett Brothers Band, Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck at Port City, the Alhan Middle Eastern Music Ensemble at Mayo Street Arts, the Gerry Beaudoin Trio at One Longfellow Square, and at Geno’s, there’s local rock with Leaves Leaves, RSO, Fur and Black Wine.
3. Man, Downeast Maine took a beating on Wednesday, didn’t? You can emerge from your hobbit holes this weekend, however, with fun performers including Annie and Frank Schwartz on Friday at Sips in Southwest Harbor, Him & Her (her, Amy Briggs, pictured at left, and him, Jeremy Shirland, to be exact) on Saturday at Chummies in Ellsworth, and the Blazing Apostles on Saturday at the Common Good Cafe in Southwest Harbor. On the Midcoast, on Friday night there’s Chronic Funk at the Speakeasy in Rockland, and on Saturday in Rockland, enjoy either instrumental duo Slippery Slope at Rock City Coffee, the Trisha Mason Band at Myrtle Street Tavern, and the 220s at the Speakeasy.
4. In the theatrical world in Maine, this time of year features a bumper crop of plays statewide. In Bangor, there’s the final weekend of Penobscot Theatre’s “God of Carnage” at the Bangor Opera House. In Portland, the Mad Horse Theatre Company offers the contemporary comedy-drama “Orphans” at their South Portland theatre space, while Portland Stage offers up its first weekend of the new comedy “Tribes.” North of Portland, the Theater Project in Brunswick offers up their first weekend of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” featuring both community members and professional actors.
5. Shake the dust off this weekend with two events that highlight two of the best things about life in Maine. Friday through Sunday there’s the 34th annual Maine Sportsman’s Show, set for the Augusta Civic Center. Fly tying lessons, hunting dogs, photo contests, decoy displays and tons of vendors and seminars, all day long; admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, kids 5-12 and active military members. On Saturday, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension hosts their annual Rural Living Day, a day of workshops and community celebrating gardening, the land and the DIY movement. There are three 90 minute sessions at 8 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with workshops in everything from berry growing and mushroom foraging to beer brewing and energy efficiency. It’s set for Mt. View High School in Thorndike, and it’s $20 to participate; call 1-800-287-1426 to see if there’s still space left for workshops.