1. It’s Labor Day weekend! While that’s NOT the end of summer — there’s still AT LEAST TWO MORE WEEKS of summery weather before fall really kicks in! — it still signifies change. Friday night in Bangor, the Bangtown Swingers get sexy at Nocturnem Drafthaus, the powerful guitar and vocal duo Indigo is set for the Sea Dog Brewing Company, the Three Guys play bluegrass at Big Easy, the Calypso Soldiers rock at Paddy Murphy’s, and there’s some funky jazz with High Variance at Tantrum around 6 p.m., a pre game for, of course, the Steely Dan concert at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion. On Saturday, out in Winterport bluesman Bobby Massano is set for 4Points BBQ & Blues, while back in Bangor, Mes Amis plays jazz at Nocturnem, the Rotating Taps (pictured above) will rock the pants off Ipanema, the soulful sounds of SUS4 are at the Big Easy, and the Junkyard Cats are set for Paddy’s. There’s also a night of country-rock at the Union Street Brick Church, featuring Bizzy Gruntry, songwriter Meghan Clark and guitarist Mark Miller. Oh yeah, and country trio Lady Antebellum is on the Waterfront, which heads straight into Sunday, when bro-country guy Jason Aldean plays a sold-out show, also on the Waterfront.
2. Friday in Portland is a night for dancing. There’s the Penthouse Dance Party at Empire, there’s some epic local rock at Bayside Bowl with Nothing Master, New Leaders, Hopeless Losers and Buddusky and there’s a CD release party for hip hop artist Mike Clouds at Flask Lounge. Oh, and don’t forget the Comedy Brew Ha Ha, featuring lots of local comics at Rising Tide Brewer in Portland at 8 p.m. Moving on, Saturday in the Portland area is a night for rocking, with Mouth Washington, Yairns and AHHA at the Oak and the Ax out in Biddeford, a most excellent Space Gallery-sponsored lineup of local bands including Purse, Fur, Sunset Hearts (pictured above), Perfect Hair and Hopeless Losers outside in Congress Square Park, immediately followed by experimental musician Nick Zammuto (formerly of the Books) inside at the Space Gallery, a night of roots music at One Longfellow Square with JP Harris and the Tough Choices and the Tumbling Bones, and at Empire, Dustin Saucier and the Sad Bastards with the Box Tiger. On Sunday, Port City Music Hall plays host to the Portland Soul Summit pre-party, featuring DJs Golf Clap, Marissa Guzman and Demarkus Lewis. Oh, and some kid named Tom Petty is playing at the Cross Insurance Arena, formerly the Cumberland County Civic Center? With a band called the Heartbreakers? And an opener named Steve Winwood? Huh. Never heard of him.
3. Your coastal regions are full of nice stuff this weekend, starting Friday, when Waterfall Arts in Belfast hosts a very cool night of music, dubbed the Feedback Music Fest, starting at 6:30 p.m. and featuring the likes of punk rockers Jim Dandy (pictured at left), Quantum, Darren Deicide and Ethan Andrews and the Ace Tones. Also on Friday, there’s rockers Storm Warning at the Water Dog Tavern in Thomaston, and singer-songwriter Georgina Butler at Rock City Coffee in Rockland. On Saturday, take your pick of either the blues explosion that is the Juke Rockets at the Speakeasy in Rockland, the highly entertaining Nukulele at the Myrtle Street Tavern, also in Rockland, songwriter Robin Elliott at Rock City Coffee, and the legendary Noel Paul Stookey at the Camden Opera House.
4. In what’s likely the last big brew festival of the summer — barring your Oktoberfests in late September and early October — the Portland Brew Festival comes to the Portland Company Complex on Friday and Saturday, right in between the Old Port and Munjoy Hill. 40 breweries to choose from, from both Maine and from away. $40 per tasting, or $5 for designated drivers. Yum.
5. Oh, and what’s that? Monday is Labor Day, which means you get a day off! Well, hopefully you get a day off. If you don’t, I’m sorry and read no further. If you do, why not check out things like the Blue Hill Fair, which annually falls on Labor Day weekend and is one of the most charming country fairs in the state; it’s set all weekend until Monday. There’s also the Labor Day “Raising Wages Rocks” festival at Food AND Medicine on Ivers Street in Brewer, an evening party from 5 to 8 p.m. that features food, fun and music from Portland soul powerhouse Sly-Chi. Finally, Labor Day also brings the Camden Windjammer Festival, which is Friday, Saturday and Sunday and offers beautiful boats, tasty food, good music and the annual crate race, in which daring competitors try to run across a line of wooden crates in the harbor. Oh, Maine. How I love you.