1. It’s a massive weekend. I mean, look at what you have to choose from, Bangor! You can start off easy on Friday, with a double bill at Tantrum with rockers Losing September at 7 p.m., and then local hip hop with Green Tank starting at 10 p.m.; there’s also a free screening of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” in Pickering Square at sundown, a dance party with DJ A Strange at Paddy Murphy’s, jazz man Jon Nowak at the Big Easy, blues guys the Blood Orange Martinis at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and in Winterport, there’s the Derrick Semler Band at 4Points BBQ & Blues. Saturday night brings the hottest rock Bangor has seen in years, when Queens of the Stone Age — ONE OF MY FAVORITE BANDS — play at the Cross Insurance Center, with opener Brody Dalle. That same night, there’s the wickedly funky band High Variance at Nocturnem, there’s the Trisha Mason Band at Paddy’s, there’s Rotating Taps at Ipanema, there’s One Shot Nothing at 4Points in Winterport. Earlier in the day from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday there’s the Sun of a Beach Festival, a traveling event featuring Jimmy Buffett and Zach Brown cover bands and lots of margaritas, set for the Bangor Waterfront. On Sunday, wrap it up with the much-anticipated James Taylor concert at the Cross Insurance Center, which starts at 8 p.m. There’s an outdoor barbecue next to the Paul Bunyan statue for ticket holders starting at 6 p.m., with music from local gal Stesha Cano.
2. Portland offers up a similar embarrassment of riches this weekend, starting Friday, with the annual State of the State concert at the State Theatre, an extravaganza featuring Maine bands including the Mallett Brothers Band, Spose (pictured), the Other Bones, the Kenya Hall Band, the Wrecking and Model Airplane with comedian/host Nick Lavalee. At the Asylum, there’s some epic hip hop with Grandmaster Flash and local guys Ock Cousteau and El Shupacabra, at Bunker Brewing there’s a night of indie rock featuring Jeff Beam, Kafari and Boyfriends, there’s Phish tribute band Pardon Me Doug at Empire, there’s Hot Day at the Zoo and Roosevelt Dime at One Longfellow Square, and there’s roots groups Rising Appalachia and Tommy Alexander at Port City Music Hall. There’s also a CD release party for Portland rock royalty Pigboat’s new album, with guests Sylvia and Mindset X, set for Geno’s, and a show from JP Harris and the Tough Choices with the Can Kickers at Mayo Street Arts. On Saturday, the Maine State Pier hosts the 20th anniversary party for Shipyard Brewing from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., featuring an epic selection of brews, tasty food and music from the likes of Rustic Overtones, Sly Chi, North of Nashville, Model Airplane, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Amy Allen, and the Jason Spooner Band, and best of all — admission is FREE! Also on Saturday, there’s DJ Dev at the Asylum, there’s a mid-month edition of the Penthouse Dance Party at Empire, and there’s a CD release for the band Eliah Pines at One Longfellow. On Sunday, enjoy either Circa Survive with Ume and the Box Tiger at Port City, or the Low Anthem with Death Vessel and Last Good Tooth at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford.
3. It’s North Atlantic Blues Festival weekend in Rockland this Saturday and Sunday, which is a mecca for blues fans from all over New England, and even if you’re not a blues fan is one heck of a good time. The festival, on the Rockland Waterfront, goes from 11 until 7 Saturday and 11 until 6 Sunday and features headliners including Joe Louis Walker and the Mannish Boys. Saturday night, there’s the pub and club crawl, in which Main Street Rockland gets shut down for one of the craziest yearly parties in Maine, and every place in town hosts music, blues or not. If you’ve never been, this should be the year. Across the bay, Friday is a great time to be in Hancock County; it’s going to be a beautiful day for hiking, biking or swimming, and it’ll be a beautiful night to grab some grub and check out some tunes. At the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor there’s Roots Rhythm & Dub, and at the Lompoc Cafe, also in Bar Harbor, there’s Wesley Hartley and the Traveling Trees. Sips in Southwest Harbor hosts songwriter duo JB Harrison and Jon, up in Ellsworth at the Union River Harbor Park at 6 p.m. the funk band Live Bait play as part of the Waterfront Park Concert Series, and in Blue Hill, the Black Anchor Village Pub plays host to the folk duo the Pitch Black Ribbons.
4. Not feeling the rock or the roll? Looking for something a little more low key? The Space Gallery in Portland has two unique literary events this weekend, with a workshop on Saturday afternoon devoted to the lost art of letter writing, and at 7 p.m. Sunday an exclusive reading and artist talk with author and MacArthur fellow Jonathan Lethem (pictured). Also in Portland this Saturday is a highly unique performance experience titled Naked People Reading, which is exactly what it says: naked people, on stage, reading fiction, poetry and other contemporarily relevant works. It’s set for 8 p.m. at Mayo Street Arts. Elsewhere, in Bangor Saturday evening the Norumbega Collective offers a reading featuring novelist Gregory Howard and poet Emily Yoder, set for 7 p.m. at KahBang Arts Central Gallery, and all day Saturday and Sunday is Arts in the Park in Belfast, two days of Maine arts and crafts (and food and music) at Steamboat Landing Park on the Belfast Waterfront.
5. Sweet Jesus, I can’t stop! What else this weekend? How about the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville, which kicks off Friday and runs for ten straight days? How about the Arootsakoostik Music Festival, now three days of Maine indie rock and roots music in beautiful New Sweden and Stockholm in Aroostook County? How about the Moxie Festival in Lisbon? Set for Friday through Sunday, which has a parade, road races, fireworks, vendors and Moxie, Moxie, Moxie, Maine’s iconic soda. How about checking out either “Romeo & Juliet” at the Stonington Opera House, or their revamped, zombie-fied version of the Bard’s tale of star-crossed lovers, “Romeo & Juliet & Zombies,” with performances all weekend? Maine. I can’t keep up with you. Savor every moment, people.