1. Sorry I missed last week, guys! I was in Florida, riding roller coasters and hanging out with Harry Potter. I missed the monster storm we had last week, but not the follow-up doozies on Saturday and Monday, so don’t be TOO jealous. This weekend in Bangor there’s a panoply of excellent fun, beginning Friday night, when you can take your pick from either songwriter Chris Ross at Paddy Murphy’s, jazz man Bill Barnes at Nocturnem Drafthaus, the Tyler Healey Band and Dominic James up at the Roost in Orono, or the always-fun Magnetic North at Woodman’s in Orono; it’s also night one of a two-night stand at Tantrum Nightclub for Her Majesty’s Cabaret, a local all-original sketch comedy group, with $10 shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (full disclosure: I’m in the group). On Saturday night, Paddy’s hosts Portland rockers Tall Horse and Worried Well (pictured) for a night of Maine-made indie rock; the Downunder Club features the Whiskey Militia, River Bottom Funk is at Ipanema, the Blood Orange Martini’s are at Nocturnem, there’s music from bluegrass band The 3Guys at the Fiddlehead Restaurant, and Meaghan Clark is at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport. On Sunday, the Central Gallery hosts Pretty Purgatory artists Family Planning and Lisa/Liza, with a 5 p.m. pay what you will show.
2. You know what? Who needs a car? Or a driveway? Just strap on your snowshoes and head into town. Don’t tango with the parking bans. Just don’t. In Portland on Friday night, take your pick of either a record release party for local electro-rockers Leveret (pictured) with guests Sunset Hearts, Fur and Waco Sparkler set for the Space Gallery, while at both Port City Music Hall and at Empire there’s a double action Bob Marley tribute celebration, with Mighty Mystic and New Kingston at Port City and Gorilla Finger Dub Band and Roots of Creation at Empire. There’s jazz with the Old Bones at Bayside Bowl, there’s local favorites the Adam Ezra Group at One Longfellow Square, there’s a community square dance with members of roots ensemble the Tumbling Bones at Mayo Street Arts at 7 p.m., and at the Asylum, there’s the eighth annual Ruckus Cup classic MC battle, featuring Ill By Instinct, Grey Sky Appeal and Shane Reis and DJ Rew. On Saturday, the State Theatre hosts jam band Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, there’s Americana artists Amy Black and Girls, Guns and Glory at One Longfellow Square, there’s Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band with Miss Fairchild at Empire, and the Asylum hosts Local Laughs featuring comedians Connor McGrath, Sam Pelletier, Anna Conathan, Bret Groh and Krister Rollins.
3. Boy, the Midcoast sure must be pretty this time year. If you’re going coastal, on Friday night check out either rockabilly band Three Button Deluxe at the Speakeasy in Rockland, songwriter Adam Babcock at Rock City Coffee, while on Saturday there’s songwriting trio Brio at Rock City, or rockers the 220s (pictured) at the Myrtle Street Tavern, once again in Rockland. Across the bay, at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel in Bar Harbor there’s a big fundraiser for the SPCA featuring rockers the Crown Vics, set for 7:30 p.m. ($15 for one, $25 for two), while on Saturday at Chummies in Ellsworth there’s high-powered rock of the Blast Addicts and the above-mentioned Maine indie artists Family Planning and Lisa/Liza at the Lompoc Cafe, also in Bar Harbor.
4. This weekend Camden is inundated by toboggan-ers, as the 25th annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships takes place at the Camden Snow Bowl. There are 425 teams in total competing for the win, with runs taking place from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. There’s a regular shuttle running from Camden’s Village Green to the Snow Bowl, and in addition to runs down the toboggan chute there’s fun stuff planned like a beer and wine tasting from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, a screening of the Banff International Film Festival at 7 p.m. Friday at Camden Hills Regional High School, a chili cookoff at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, a snow plow parade at 5:30 p.m. Saturday through downtown Camden, and fireworks at 6:15 p.m. Saturday. Wrap it up Sunday with pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Good luck to our two BDN teams taking sleds down the chute — #TeamAce and #TeamTroy.
5. By my calculations, this is the first weekend in three weeks where it hasn’t snowed. According to the NWS, we so far this winter have received more than double the amount of snow we received last year, now exceeding the 90-inch mark — though strangely enough, in December we received only seven inches of snow and on Christmas Day it reached 50 degrees in some places. To that end, this weekend will be the first in weeks that it won’t be scary to drive, so now would be a great time to go out and run those errands, see those movies (that weird-looking fantasy epic “Seventh Son” is opening, “Whiplash” is at Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor and “Inherent Vice” is at Railroad in Waterville!) and visit those people that live out of town that you haven’t seen since 2014. Be careful, folks!