1. Most of us this weekend get three days off, which is both exciting and exceedingly welcome — and though Friday into Saturday looks to be rainy and chilly, Sunday and Monday look to be gorgeous, and that’s what’s important, right? Warm up your Friday night in the Bangor area with fun stuff including improv troupe The Focus Group (pictured) at 8 p.m. at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, rockers the Blast Addicts at the Downunder Lounge at Seasons, indie bands One Shot Nothing and Dustin Saucier and the Sad Bastards at Paddy Murphy’s, and out in Winterport, there’s country songbird Meghan Clark at 4Points BBQ & Blues. Moving onto Saturday, at 8 p.m. the Central Gallery in Bangor hosts a screening of “Shaun of the Dead” (they’re also showing “The Doors” at 8 p.m. Sunday). Elsewhere, Nocturnem Drafthaus hosts the Bangtown Swingers, the Mezzenine Social Club at Zen Asian Bistro hosts local rock bands Cupido, the Rotating Taps and Bellyache; the 220s are at Paddy’s, Stesha Cano and the Jerks are at Ipanema, Cory and Carlie Deshane play at the Fiddlehead Restaurant, and out in Winterport, the Chris Duarte Group is at 4Points. On Sunday, there are two big, wildly different local concerts set. At Jeff’s Catering in Brewer, there’s an array of local cover bands playing a benefit for the Autism Society of Maine, set for 4 p.m. to midnight. Up at the Keith Anderson Community Center in Orono, there’s the annual PUNK Fest, from noon to 11 and featuring a 22 bands — 22 FREAKING BANDS — from the Jonee Earthquake Band to USA Waste to Holy Filth to Jim Dandy. Plus a Nintendo tournament, vegan potluck and art and music sale. In Bangor, the Sea Dog offers its first sunset acoustic show featuring songwriter Shannon Denbow, set for 6 to 8 p.m., and some guy named Ed Sheeran — I hear he’s quite popular — is playing at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.
2. Down south, it’s the unofficial kick off to the summer season — yes, we know summer doesn’t start technically til late June, but don’t tell that to the tourists. On Friday night, the State Theatre hosts a sold-out concert from songwriter Brandi Carlisle. But there’s so much more that night, like a record release party for the Maine-via-North Carolina jam band Seepeoples with guests Vapors of Morphine at Port City Music Hall, a triple header of Americana with Muddy Ruckus, the Suitcase Junket and the Tricky Britches (pictured) at Empire, a reunion for rockers Ghosthunter with guests Johnny Cremains at Geno’s, and at Space Gallery, a night of super heavy, weird music, featuring The Body, Clean, Afraid and Mugwort. Saturday begins night one of two days of screenings of “Night of the Living Deb,” a horror comedy shot and filmed in Maine by filmmaker Kyle Rankin, set for the Space Gallery, while Saturday night brings the CrazySexyCool TLC tribute night featuring Kristina Kentigian, Kenya Hall and Lady Essence at Empire. On Sunday, the residency from songwriter Arc Iris continues at One Longfellow Square, with guest Sara Hallie Richardson.
3. It also is the unofficial start of the season on Mt. Desert Island, when pretty much all of the restaurants, shops and bars are open for the summer, and the first waves of tourists roll in. The funny people at Improv Acadia offer their first show of the season at 8 p.m. Friday; later Friday night, enjoy indie trio Goldenoak at the Lompoc Cafe, or the Crown Vics (pictured) at the Dockside Inn in Southwest Harbor. On Saturday, folk duo the Pitch Black Ribbons are at the Thirsty Whale, and Sunday, it’s the start of Carmen Verandah’s Reggae Sundays, featuring Catchavibe from noon to 4 p.m. Across the bay on the Midcoast, on Friday night in Rockland check out the By the Bay Jazz Trio at Rock City Coffee or Raised By Wolves at the Speakeasy, while on Saturday the Kennebunk River Band is at Rock City, Primo Cubano is at the Speakeasy, rockers Fifth Freedom are at Trackside Station, and rockabilly band the Murder Weapon is at the Myrtle Street Tavern, along with a Mario Kart tournament.
4. The twelfth annual Downeast Spring Birding Festival is set for May 22-25 and brings bird lovers from all over the state to Washington County — based out of the Cobsbook Bay Community Center in Trescott but extending to Lubec, Calais, Eastport and other WaCo towns. For four days over Memorial Day weekend there are countless guided birdwatching trips, workshops, lectures, photo and painting programs, dinners and other bird-centric events. A full weekend registration is $85; WaCo residents are $65. Single days are $30. For more information, visit cclc.me. You could see birds like the one above; common murres, photographed by BDN columnist Bob Duchesne!
5. Monday is Memorial Day! Parades, ceremonies, barbecues and friends and family. I recommend some remembering of people you love, some heavy duty hanging out, some grilled food items and tasty beverages and sunshine. I would say that that is an excellent thing to do.