1. It’s a great weekend to be in Maine, isn’t it? Friday night in Bangor, you can start your night off with a few family-friendly events, like the monthly contradance at the UU Church or the annual Battle of the Bands at the Cross Insurance Center, a fundraiser for Acadia Hospital featuring the Stone Doctors, the Time Pilots and Main Street R&B Revue. Or, you can go out a little later and check out the nightlife, like Maine hip hop hero Spose (pictured) at Tantrum, with guests including Brandon Ross and B. Aull and others. On the main drag, there’s jazz man John Nowak at the Big Easy, soul lady Stesha Cano with her Wicked Friggin’ Jerks at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and the always-entertaining Trendy Robots at Paddy Murphy’s. On Saturday, the BangPop! Comic Con takes over the Cross Insurance Center for two days of sweet, sweet nerdery; Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Cross Center, Central Maine Roller Derby takes on Granite State Roller Derby. In downtown, there’s a CD release party for John Burlock with guest Cory Deshane at Nocturnem, there’s blues folks the Blood Orange Martinis at Paddy’s, there’s rockers Magnetic North at Ipanema, and there’s the charming duo Him & Her at the Big Easy. In Winterport, the 220s rock 4Points BBQ & Blues, and in Orono, big band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are at the Collins Center for the Arts.
2. At Port City Music Hall on Friday night treat yourself to an evening of delicious soul, with the League of Bandsmen Soul Revue, featuring Portland mainstays like Spencer Albee, Dan Capaldi, Phil and Lyle Divinsky, Kenya Hall (pictured) and many others. There’s also the 220s at Slab Sicilian Street Food, Phish cover band Pardon Me Doug at the Asylum, a night of folk rock from the Toughcats at Empire, and a night of jazz with Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola with Micromasse at One Longfellow Square. Out in Biddeford, the highly anticipated concert from indie legends Mount Eerie is at the Oak and the Ax, with Clay Camero and the Setting Suns and Bad History Month. On Saturday, the Tarbox Ramblers are set for One Longfellow Square, there’s a night of hardcore with Cruel Hand, Bane and Too Late The Hero at Port City Music Hall, and Portland’s own mod-rocker Kurt Baker performs with guests the Flipsides and Seasonal Disorder at Bayside Bowl. There’s some noisy surf and punk at Geno’s with Antiseptic, the Caught Flies, the Radiator Rattlers, Thee Icepicks and the Grubs, and again, out in Biddeford, there’s Maine indie rock with Coke Weed, SS Cretins, Altered Gee and Afraid at the Oak and the Ax. On Sunday, Ava Luna (an amazing live band) play with Forget Forget and Celestial Shore at the Space Gallery.
3. Friday night in the fine city of Rockland, folk duo Old Town Road plays at Rock City Coffee, while on Saturday, the Chad Hollister Band plays at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, to benefit Hope Elephants, while Vince Gabriel, a.k.a. Blind Albert, plays at Rock City Coffee, and the band Seatrain takes the stage at the Speakeasy. It’s also good to mention that the second weekend of the Everyman Repertory Theater’s production of Christopher Durang’s acclaimed new play “Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike” wraps up at the Camden Opera House, with performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
4. The loveliest introduction to the fall has got to be the Common Ground Fair, the annual celebration of farms, food, community, progressivism and rural living in beautiful Unity in Waldo County. Every year it’s just a little bit bigger, a little bit more exciting, and there’s always one new thing to see each year. Aside from the unbelievably wonderful amount of food, the speakers, the shopping, the people watching and the many workshops, there’s music from bands and artists including Shanna Underwood, John Tercyak and Builder of the House on Friday; the Gawler Family, the Toughcats, the Muddy Ruckus and the Leaky Boot Jug Band on Saturday; and Lyn Deeves, Connor Garvey, Putnam Smith and Jim Gallant on Sunday. A full schedule of everything happening throughout the weekend can be found on the MOFGA website. I’ll be beelining towards the fried shiitake mushrooms, the farmer’s market goodies and the pumpkin milkshakes.
5. One of the largest musical gatherings in the state that’s not a Live Nation-produced show is the Great North Music and Arts Festival, a three day celebration of electronic music and visionary art held on Last Breath Farm in Norridgewock, in the Belgrade Lakes area. There’s more than 40 musical artists, be they DJs or bands, and more than 20 visual artists, who will perform and create during every hour of the entire festival, starting at noon on Friday and going until 8 p.m. Sunday. Whether you’re a rave culture fan, or you’re just a curious cultural traveler, it is worth at some point in your life to attend an electronic music festival. It is an experience to be had; one that’s different from the Skrillex-loving masses, and one of the last great nationwide subcultures still thriving today. It attracted more than 2,000 people last year; an even higher number is expected this year.