1. Though summer doesn’t technically start for three more weeks, let’s be real, folks: in our minds, it starts now. What is there to enjoy in the Bangor area this summer weekend? Let’s have a look. Friday night, the Will St. Peter Trio is at Nocturnem Drafthaus, the Brad Hutchinson Project is at Paddy Murphy’s, Raven is at the Sea Dog, rockers At the Heart of It, Dear Father, Cheers to Verona and the Restless Atlantic are at the Central Gallery, while up in Orono, the super-fun rockers Wyld Lyfe are at Black Bear Brewing, and in Old Town, Between Dead Stations are set for the Boomhouse. On Saturday, at 4 p.m. Travis Cyr and the Strings of Calamity play an afternoon show at the Geaghan’s Brewing tap room in Brewer, while later on that evening, check out either Stesha Cano and the Jerks at Nocturnem, Rotating Taps at Paddy’s, or, up in Orono, the eighth annual Punk Fest, featuring 20 different punk bands from all over Maine and New England, starts at noon and goes all night at the Keith Anderson Community Center (a band playing at which is pictured above). On Sunday, Plainclothes, Strangelove and Buddusky are set for the Central Gallery.
2. Let’s plan for a lovely weekend in Portland, starting Friday night, where you can take your pick of either free salsa dancing lessons and music from Primo Cubano at 6:30 p.m. in Congress Square Park, avant-garde legend Rhys Chatham playing new compositions at the Space Gallery, a CD release party for local bluegrass group the Tricky Britches with guest Putnam Smith at One Longfellow Square, r&b star Mya at Empire, 80s cover band The Awesome are at Portland House of Music, or songwriters Trevor Hill and Will Evans at Port City Music Hall. On Saturday, Red Tail Hawk, Pete Witham at the Cozmik Zombies and Joshua Madore are at Empire, soulful ensemble Cullu are at Portland House of Music, there’s a PortFringe preview show featuring comedy/theater performers Jetpack Superheroes and Self IMPROVment, and One Longfellow Square hosts two shows from comedian Jess Miller. On Sunday, the season at outdoor music venue Thompson’s Point kicks off with Portland favorites Lake Street Dive, while Portland House of Music hosts another Emo Night and guitarist Adam Agati is at One Longfellow Square.
3. Let’s take a look at what’s happening Downeast this weekend! It’s the start of the season, after all, which means things like ImprovAcadia kick off a summer full of shows starting Friday night in downtown Bar Harbor. There’s also Elton John tribute band Yellow Brick Road at the Ballroom in Trenton on Saturday. Across the bay on the Midcoast, on Friday night, the Speakeasy in Rockland hosts a record release party for folk trio Sugarbush (pictured above), while the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts hosts bluegrass whiz Tim Rice with the Banjodoodles and Sara Hallie Richardson, Camden Opera House hosts the Rockport Dance Conservatory’s spring showcase on Friday and Saturday, and Friday night also brings the first Belfast Art Walk of the season, throughout Belfast. On Saturday, 90s alternative cover band Living Room Circus is at the Speakeasy, singer-guitarist Dana Rader is at Rock City Coffee, Quebecois group Le Vent du Nord is at the Strand Theatre, also in Rockland.
4. So seeing as it’s the unofficial start of summer, there are, of course, some wonderful summery events happening this weekend. For starters, the Bangor Drive-In here in Bangor opens for the season this weekend, with double features of “X-Men Apocalypse” and “Deadpool” and then “The Angry Birds Movie” and “Kung Fu Panda 3” all week starting Friday. It’s also Maine weekend at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, with free admission for all Maine residents all weekend. And, it’s the 13th annual Downeast Spring Birding Festival, which offers many different birding trips throughout eastern Washington County; a full list of which can be found online at http://www.cclc.me/page/911-3214/downeast-spring-birding-festival.
5. Finally, it’s of course Memorial Day weekend, which means Monday is a day to remember those who have sacrificed so that we might enjoy barbecues and beers on the deck and maybe even a little paddling, hiking or even early season swimming. Don’t take anything for granted. We’ve got it good, and there are people out there who gave it all so that we could eat too many hot dogs. We are so lucky.