1. OK, so maybe the weather won’t be ideal this weekend — we’re looking at highs in the lower 70s at best, showers here and there statewide. Friday night in the Bangor area there’s plenty of cool stuff going on, like rock duo The Thriftways at Paddy Murphy’s, the Aurora Jazz Project at Nocturnem Drafthaus, a contradance at 8 p.m. at the UU Church on Park Street, or a big local metal show at Tantrum, featuring Dead Season, Nobis, Seize the Vatican, Chaos Machine and Bangtown Timebomb; there’s also some political folk music with Holly Near and Emma’s Revolution at Hauck Auditorium on the UMaine campus in Orono. On Saturday, the KahBang Arts Gallery holds its monthly Second Saturday Art Party from 7 to 9 p.m., When Particles Collide (pictured) and musicians Tom Luther, Dave Johnson and Rossi Meachum will perform at a fundraising party for the new Juice Cellar Bangor at the Maine Holistic Center on Main Street starting at 7 p.m. Later that night, enjoy either Magnetic North at Ipanema, bluesmen Sus4 at the Big Easy, Stesha Cano at Nocturnem, or a full, loud gig from When Particles Collide at Paddy Murphy’s. Across the bridge, the Skyliners Big Band will play at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, while in Winterport, rockabilly rockers the Gas House Gorillas will play at 4Points BBQ & Blues. Oh, and don’t forget that Saturday night is the UFC Fight Night at the Cross Insurance Center, and on Sunday, the Big Easy hosts a fundraising party for the Phill Carter and Roxanne Papken Memorial Funds, with Bangor bands Trendy Robots and Rotating Taps.
2. If I was in Portland this weekend — and I won’t be, because I’ll be at the World Acadian Congress in Madawaska — I’d be going to see Endless Jags, Leveret and Metal Feathers at Empire Dine & Dance on Friday night. Or, I’d be checking out Tiger Bomb, Fireking and MOTO at Bayside Bowl, or the very cool evening of soul, r&b and rock, with “Sock It To Me: A Celebration of Muscle Shoals with Sarah Borges and Amy Black” set for 8 p.m. at One Longfellow Square, also on Friday. And, don’t forget that the Space Gallery hosts a CD release party for “Vinyl Cape,” the hip hop collaboration album (album art pictured above) between Brzowski, C Money Burnz and Mo Nicklz; also featured at the show will be Crunk Witch, JJ King and Free Steak Dinner. On Saturday, there’s a metal show set for Port City Music Hall featuring Nothing More, Sleepwave and Dead Season, while on Sunday, there’s two wildly different shows: Jackson Browne at the Merrill Auditorium, and 90s rockers Powerman 5000, Hed PE and Eyes Set To Kill at the Asylum.
3. Friday night in the Midcoast brings us the annual kickoff party for Harbor Fest, hosted by Three Tides and Marshall Wharf; you can rock all night on the Belfast Waterfront with the Tricky Britches, When Particles Collide and the Toughcats (pictured). Also on the Midcoast on Friday night, there’s Golden Oak at the Water Dog Tavern in Thomaston, or the always fun Lovewhip at the Speakeasy in Rockland. Across the bay in Hancock County, there’s indie rockers Rose Hips and Ships at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor, blues people the Blood Orange Martinis are at the Thirsty Whale, also in Bar Harbor, and Phil Kell and Friends play an outdoor concert at 6 p.m. on the Ellsworth Riverfront. On Saturday, back in Belfast there’s the Gawler Family, playing at the Belfast Co-op’s annual anniversary party; in Rockland, you can take your pick of either the Hot Pink Flannel dance party at Rock City Coffee with the Vistas, the 220 at the Myrtle Street Tavern, rockers Raised By Wolves at the Speakeasy, or American Idol also-ran Crystal Bowersox with Seth Glier at the Strand Theatre. In Bar Harbor, there’s either Jacob Augustine at the Lompoc, the Bad Daddy’s at the Thirsty Whale or MDI favorites the Van Burens at Carmen Verandah; or you can take it out to Machias for the annual Black Fly Ball, hosted by the Beehive Collective at the Machias Grange Hall during the Machias Blueberry Festival. This year’s wild party features an incredible array of artists, including itinerant rockers Hymn For Her, Portland surf guitar heroes Thee Icepicks, the Machias Ukulele Club, California jug band Blackbird Raum, Machias’ own Milk and Honey Rebellion and the Orange River Jazz Band, and so much more. It’s a crazy dance party for everyone — young, old, weirdos and not-weirdos, everybody. Fun starts at 6 p.m. and goes most of the night.
4. Look at all the lovely summer festivals happening this weekend — starting with the Great Falls Balloon Festival, set for Friday through Sunday in Lewiston and featuring a glorious array of hot air balloons, food and craft vendors, a parade and lots of musical performances. It also happens to be the 200th anniversary of the town of Phippsburg, located in Sagadahoc County near Popham Beach State Park; on Friday, the Pirates of the Dark Rose will “invade” Popham at 10 a.m., followed by food, music and a pirate costume contest all afternoon. Finally, on Saturday the Maine Highland Games — the biggest Scottish games in the Northeast — kick off bright and early at 8 a.m. at the Topsham Fairgrounds. Pipe bands, fiddlers, sheep dogs and lots of burly men and women tossing giant logs and rocks and other heavy things around. Sounds awesome.
5. If it does indeed rain for part of the weekend, why not see a movie? In addition to super mega blockbusters like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” there are a couple fun movies opening this weekend, including “The Expendables 3″ and “The Giver,” both at your local multiplex. Two popular independent films, Richard Linklater’s lovely “Boyhood” and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last movie, “A Most Wanted Man,” are playing at both Railroad Square Cinema and the Nickelodeon in Portland, and both cinemas also host Woody Allen’s new movie, “Magic in the Moonlight.” Or, bring a picnic and a blanket to the Eastern Promenade in Portland at 7 p.m. on Sunday night for a free screening of the classic flick “Jaws.”