1. The dog days of summer. We’re in them. The shadows are getting long, the days are hot and nights cool. It’s nice, isn’t it? This Friday in the Bangor area, there are a couple of fun events in the evening, including songwriters Morgan Lindenschmidt and Lauren Crosby (pictured) at the Central Gallery, rockers the Junkyard Cats at Paddy Murphy’s, acoustic showcase Stripped featuring Sam Chase, Josh Van Santvoord, Luke Cartwright and Adam Nadeau at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and out in Winterport, the Blast Addicts are at 4Points BBQ & Blues. On Saturday, there’s a free daytime concert in West Market Square featuring Chris Ross and the North and Meaghan Clark at noon, while in the evening, songwriters Nick Poulin, Matthias Hillborn and Ryan Higgins are at Central Gallery, the Aurora Jazz Project is at Nocturnem, and rocker Justin Stover is at Paddy’s. In Old Town, the Ian Black Band at the Boomhouse, in Winterport, the 220s are at 4Points, and in Brewer, the Skyliners Big Band is at the Next Generation Theatre. Sunday, there’s a triple bill of great Maine music featuring KGFREEZE, Forget Forget and Tall Horse at the space at 32 Central Street in downtown Bangor ($5 suggested donation).
2. Friday night in Portland there’s a can’t miss show: the What Cheer Brigade (pictured), the high energy punk rock marching band, plays with Phallus Uber Alles and Street Sity Surf at the Space Gallery; there might just be a parade down the street afterwards. Also that evening is hip hop with Lady Essence and Crime Wave at Empire, rockers The Church are at the Asylum, and Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers at Portland HOME. On Saturday, there’s so much to hear and see. There’s Sammy Adams and Cam Meekins at the State Theatre. There’s the Queen tribute night at Port City Music Hall. There’s Luiz Caracal, Bent Knee and Eleanor Dubinsky at Empire. There’s Spiritual Rez at Portland HOME. There’s a triple bill of punk rock with The Above, SS Cretins and the Gamma Goochies at Bayside Bowl. There’s JJ Grey and Mofro, G. Love and Special Sauce and Big Head Todd and the Monsters at the Maine State Pier. And at Space Gallery, there’s the annual 48 Hour Music Festival, in which local musicians form a one-off band, and in 48 hours write enough music to fill a whole evening. Very cool! Wrap it up Sunday with Mandolin Orange at One Longfellow Square.
3. There’s some lovely eclectic sounds coming out of the Midcoast this weekend. Friday night, the Luiz Caracal Trio and Eleanor Dubinsky are at the Camden Opera House, while at the Speakeasy in Rockland, there’s Roots, Rhythm and Dub, and Norah Cavin and the By the Bay Jazz Trio at Highlands Coffeehouse in Thomaston. It’s also the kickoff event for Belfast Harborfest, a weekend for celebrating boats and harbors and community; Three Tides & Marshall Wharf Brewing hosts When Particles Collide, the Toughcats (pictured) and Jim Dandy under a big tent on the Waterfront from 6-11 p.m. On Saturday, the Strand Theatre in Rockland hosts comedian Paula Poundstone, the Shizzle is at the Myrtle Street Tavern (in Rockland), Silent Sam and the Evens are at Rock City Coffee (also in Rockland), and the Mondaynite Jazz Orchestra are at the Speakeasy (again, Rockland). Limpin’ Jim James and Blind Albert are at the Highlands Coffeehouse in Thomaston, also Saturday. On Sunday, Mike Whitehead round out the weekend at the Highlands. And don’t forget, across the bay in Hancock County, The Juke Rockets are on the Ellsworth Riverfront on Friday and Dan Blakeslee is at the Lompoc in Bar Harbor, also on Friday; Tongue Oven and Tom Kovacevic are at the Lompoc on Saturday.
4. Seeing as it’s supposed to be in the 80s all weekend, what a nice time it’ll be to enjoy something outdoors! There are some fun, free or inexpensive outdoor movies this weekend, including a free screening of “ET” at sundown in Eastport Friday, there’s a double feature of new movies “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” at the Bangor Drive-In ($20 for a car for both! A steal!). On the Eastern Prom in Portland at sundown Sunday there’s a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.” Or, if a movie isn’t your thing, Ten Bucks Theatre and the Haus of Paradigm offer their second and final weekend of their atmospheric theatrical spectacle “Dracula” at Fort Knox State Park in Prospect, at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
5. Finally this weekend, what’s on the docket for family-friendly festivals? Well, it’s the 40th annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, Friday and Saturday in Machias, featuring food, music, family and the Black Fly Ball Saturday night. Closer to Bangor, Hampden’s Children’s Day is set for all day Saturday, with tons of games, activities, races, a petting zoo, music, juggling, a raffle and fireworks closing out the day. Finally, it’s the annual Highland Games of Maine, set for the Topsham Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, with large men and women tossing trees and rocks stuff, pipe bands, dancing, vendors, food and all things Scottish. Because remember: if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap.