1. Too much to talk about this weekend, so let’s just get right to it, shall we? Friday night in Downtown Bang Bang, there’s Stripped With Sam night at Nocturnem Drafthaus with host Sam Chase and songwriters Carleigh Nesbit and Shannon Denbow; David Raitt and the Main Line are at Paddy Murphy’s, there’s Street Piano installation in Pickering Square — a public piano for the community to use! — with music from Tomorrow Morning, there’s rockers OneSixtyOne and Mike E. Styx at the Downunder Lounge at Seasons (I had this wrong last week, my bad!), and out in Winterport, there’s the Crown Vics at 4Points BBQ & Blues. On Saturday, at 4 p.m. Bangor Roller Derby takes on the Bay State Brawlers at the Hampden Recreation Center. It’s also opening night for “Ring of Fire,” the Johnny Cash musical, at Penobscot Theatre, at 9 p.m. there’s a free outdoor screening of “Rushmore” courtesy of Launchpad in the Pocket Park on Central Street, and in Orono, “Piano Men” a tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, is at 8 p.m. at the Collins Center for the Arts. Late night, enjoy either the Junkyard Cats at Paddy’s, the Blood Orange Martinis at Nocturnem, Between Dead Stations at 4Points in Winterport, or punk rock with Bangtown Timebomb (pictured above) and They Called Me Legion at the Boomhouse in Old Town.
2. September is kind of the best because it’s still nice out but it’s way less crowded, right? In Portland on Friday night, take your pick of either Good Old War and Pete Hill at Port City Music Hall, Lora Faye, Worried Well and Lisa/Liza at Empire, the Shango Afrobeat Orchestra at One Longfellow Square, pr Honky Gabacho and Lovers of Fiction at Bayside Bowl — and don’t forget, the Space Gallery hosts the first of three nights of the documentary “Mero,” a gripping telling of climbing in the Himalayas. On Saturday, Portland HOME hosts a double bill of Portland greats in Armies (aka Anna Lombard and Dave Gutter) and Spencer Albee (pictured). There’s also Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems, WATTS and One Shot Nothing at Empire, a CD release for Old Man Luedecke at One Longfellow, the Local Laughs Comedy Night at Asylum, featuring headliner Mark Turcotte and tons of other local comics, and Old Bones traditional jazz at Bayside Bowl. On Sunday, newly minted Maine resident and he of bon mots John Hodgman performs as part of his “Vacationland” tour at Port City, metal legends Saxon play with and Armored Saint at Asylum, and country singer Randy Houser plays, with guests, on the Maine State Pier.
3. Midcoastally speaking, on Friday night in Rockland you can take your pick of either the fun dance band People of Earth with Quantum at the Speakeasy, or the By the Bay Jazz Trio at Rock City Coffee. On Saturday, there’s either Fools Rule at the Speakeasy or guitarist Dave Johnson at Rock City. Meanwhile, across the bay on MDI, Maine favorites the Mallett Brothers Band (pictured above) and Chris Ross & the North play a really big shew at the Criterion Theatre, and songwriter Lora Faye is at the Lompoc Cafe, both in Bar Harbor. And don’t forget — Saturday brings the annual MDI Garlic Festival, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Smuggler’s Den Campground in Southwest Harbor. Food and music and the stinking rose, as they call it.
4. There are two festivals set for this weekend that put the environment — its beauty and ways in which we can preserve — front and center. On Mt. Desert Island, the Acadia Night Sky Festival actually kicked off on Wednesday, but goes into high gear on Friday, celebrating the night sky, clean air, clean skies and the cosmos above us. Highlights including a 4 p.m. lecture from NASA astronaut Dan Barry at the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor, night cruises on Frenchman’s Bay and bioluminscent paddles each night, solar viewings, films, lectures and much more; visit acadanightskyfestival.com for more info. Then, in Portland, Greenfest takes place on Saturday, with more than 60 vendors set up all day in Monument Square, showcasing the latest in eco-friendly options for everyday people. There’s also music, food and workshops. For information, visit www.portlandgreenfest.org/.
5. Finally, with rain projected for Friday and then temperatures dropping into more September-like numbers in the mid-70s, it’s finally starting to feel a bit like early fall. Whether you like that or not, I don’t know, but Saturday and Sunday look to be great days to enjoy a paddle, a hike, or just a leisurely hang outside. Enjoy it while it lasts, people!