1. Maybe you had a great February. Maybe you love snow and shoveling and had everything go your way and you couldn’t be happier. For the rest of us Mainers, however, this February was likely the longest in recorded history. I think I speak for most of us when I say I’m really glad it’s March. On this last (partial) weekend of the February from hell, in Bangor on Friday here’s the deal. Tantrum hosts the CD release party for local rapper Brandon Ross, with guests Seven, Matt Stacey and Qezo Smalls. Nocturnem Drafthaus hosts an acoustic night featuring songwriters and guitarists Sam Chase and Cory Deshane and acoustic duo the Great Red Line, and rockers Tomorrow Morning are at Paddy Murphy’s. On Saturday, start your afternoon off with the Bangor Roller Derby’s home opener at 3 p.m. at the Skehan Recreation Center in Hampden, with Bangor taking on both Aroostook Roller Derby and the Les Duchesses league out of Quebec City. There’s a poetry reading and performance by the Soulbenders at 7 p.m. at the Rock & Art Shop, the River Drivers are at the Big Easy, funk band Juicebox kick some ass at Ipanema, rockabilly band Three Button Deluxe is at Nocturnem, the Junkyard Cats are at Paddy’s, psychedelic rockers Merther are at Tantrum, and a few miles north, there’s Rustic Overtones at the Boomhouse in Old Town, and a night of stand up comedy at the Bear Brew featuring comics Kyron Hobdy, Will Green and Tim Hoffman.
2. I hope your boots are waterproof, because the next couple of weeks are going to get pretty sloppy. Warm up on Friday in Portland with any of the following: at Port City Music Hall, psych folk band Timbre Timbre play with Maine songwriter Jacob Augustine; it’ll get heavy with Maine metal bands Hessian, Eldemur Krimm and Heavy Necker at Empire; songwriters Stephane Wrembel and Ben Caplan are at One Longfellow Square; Grundlefunk jams out at Brian Boru, and Red, Islander, Sygnal to Noise and 3 Years Hollow are at the Asylum. On Saturday, there’s one of the most epic rock shows of the winter at Port City, with Murcielago (pictured), Five of the Eyes and Never Got Caught set for that night; elsewhere in town, there’s Purse, the English Muffins, An Anderson and Thee Ice Picks at Empire, rockers Doubting Gravity are at Brian Boru, there’s prog rock with Superorder and Rick Rude at Bayside Bowl, there’s hip hop infused jazz with Drkwav and Jaw Gems at Asylum, and the Space Gallery hosts virtuoso guitarist Kaki King. On Sunday, George Thorogood is at the State Theatre.
3. It’s a nice weekend to be Midcoastal. On Friday, there’s Midcoast Pecha Kucha at 6:30 p.m. at the Blue Goose in Northport, there’s the blues sounds of the Eric Green and his new band Justice for the River at 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House, there’s rock duo The Royal Bones at Rock City Coffee in Rockland and Sea Train are set for the Speakeasy in Rockland. On Saturday, Ragged Jack play at the Speakeasy, and songwriter Tom Albury is set for Rock City Coffee. Across the bay in Hancock County, there’s a number of fun events including rockabilly rockers the Crown Vics at the Dockside Inn in Southwest Harbor on Friday, and Dominic James and Ian Black at Chummies in Ellsworth, also on Friday, and rock duo When Particles Collide (pictured) are at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor on Saturday.
4. Maine Restaurant Week kicks off this weekend across Maine — well, pretty much Portland, though a handful of restaurants on the Midcoast and in Bangor do participate — but for those who are looking for an epic foodie experience in Portland, this is a great time to do it. More than 50 restaurants are participating, from high end gems like Lolita, Vinland, Five-Fifty-Five and Petite Jacqueline in Portland to mid-range favorites like Hot Suppa, Portland Pie Company, all the statewide Sea Dog restaurants. A full list of all the participating restaurants and events can be found online at mainerestaurantweek.com. If going out to eat isn’t as interesting to you as taking delicious local food and making something wonderful of your own, don’t forget that this Sunday is the Bangor CSA Fair, set for 3 to 6 p.m. at the Sea Dog in Bangor. Check out all the amazing season-long deals for great local food from local farmers that you can get — and there are lots of them. Because don’t forget: in a few short weeks, it won’t be winter anymore!
5. Up in the St. John Valley, this weekend marks the 23rd annual Can-Am Crown Race, a dog sled race based out of Fort Kent that attracts mushers from all over Maine and Atlantic Canada to test their mushing might on races that are either 30 miles, 60 miles or 250 miles. The fun kicks off on Saturday morning in town in Fort Kent, where the races start at 8 a.m., 9:10 a.m. and 10:20 a.m..; the races arrive throughout the afternoon on Saturday, and then throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday for the 250-miler. A word to the wise: don’t bring your own dogs! And don’t forget the Skijoring competition on Sunday at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center (dogs pulling humans on skis!). A little closer to the southern half of the state, the annual Cabin Fever Reliever outdoors show, sponsored by the Penobscot Fly Fishers, is set for 10 a.n.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at the Brewer Auditorium, and features booths, vendors and educational activities celebrates the great Maine outdoors. Admission is free.