1. As someone that grew up in Eastern Maine listening to classic rock radio — WKIT 100.3 represent! — I have an inherent fondness and pretty spot-on lyrical memory for classic rock. Which means that what’s going on this weekend in Bangor is very exciting to me. But we’ll get to that in a moment — first, the nightlife. In Bangor on Friday, Nocturnem Drafthaus hosts the Blood Orange Martinis, there’s a record release party for local band They Called Me Legion at the Central Gallery, the Nikki Hunt Band is at the Sea Dog, rockers Impartial Crowd are at Paddy Murphy’s, across the river, the Next Generation Theatre hosts singer-songwriter Toney Rocks, and up in Old Town, the Boomhouse hosts local jam band Merther, On Saturday afternoon, the Geaghan Bros. tap room in Brewer hosts alt-country duo The High Spirits, while later on in the evening, the Dave Mello Band is at Nocturnem Drafthaus and the Ian Black Band is at the Downunder Club at Seasons. It’s also opening weekend for Penobscot Theatre’s big summer musical, the Maine premiere of “Rock of Ages,” featuring classic rock and hair metal favorites set to a love story; performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, and after Saturday’s show there’s a karaoke fundraiser, with audience members having the opportunity to bid on a chance to sing one of 15 songs with a live band. On Sunday, the Downunder Club hosts a big selection of local punk and emo, bands starting at 6 p.m., including The Banner Year, Windwalkers, The Eff Chord, Louder Louder and Turner.
2. It’s another Come Together local band showcase at Portland House of Music on Friday, featuring Skosh, Covered in Bees, Forget, Forget, Clara Junken, OC & The Offbeats and Push/Shove — a great opportunity to see a ton of talent all in one spot. Also on Friday night, enjoy either O’Death (a Maine-via-New York band, pictured above) with The Huntress And Holder of Hands and Pete Bernard at the Space Gallery, Dustbowl Revival and Max Garcia Conover at Port City Music Hall, guitarist Ana Popovic at One Longfellow Square, local band Leveret at Bayside Bowl, or a Weezer and Foo Fighters tribute night at Empire. On Saturday, On Saturday, Port City Music Hall hosts Hall & Oates tribute band HmfO and Talking Heads tribute band Stop Making Sense, blues pianist Marcia Ball is at Portland House of Music, singer-songwriter Amy Black is at One Longfellow, there’s some excellent local punk and stoner rock with Pigboat, Gozu and Johnny Cremains at Geno’s, and at Empire, there’s the monthly songwriter’s circus, this time featuring Will Bradford, Dan Capaldi, Clara Junken, Joel Thetford, Joshua Madore and more. On Sunday, Brian Wilson plays the entirety of “Pet Sounds” at Merrill Auditorium — this show has been sold out forever, so you’re out of luck if you don’t have tickets, though you can go to Empire after the concert for a local tribute to the Beach Boys. Also on Sunday are Rustic Overtones, Bronze Radio Return and Kat Wright and the Idomitable Soul Band at Port City Music Hall, or songwriters Joan Shelley and Sam Moss at One Longfellow Square.
3. Friday night on the Midcoast, bluegrass band the Sandy River Ramblers are at Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, while in Rockland, there’s a standup comedy showcase at the Strand Theatre featuring Earl David Reed, Dawn Hartill, Jared Horning, Kristen Tripp and Heather Ellsworth, and there’s songwriter Rich Strater at Rock City Coffee. On Saturday, The Eric Green Party is at Three Tides & Marshall Wharf Brewery in Belfast, while in Rockland, the fabulous klezmer band The Klezmatics are at the Strand Theatre, songwriter Tod Pronto is at Rock City Coffee, the Liz Lannon Blues Band is at the Speakeasy, and Two Dollar Pistol is at the Myrtle Street Tavern.
4. Can you believe it’s already time for Portland’s Old Port Festival? The yearly event, set for this Sunday, offers tons of bands, family activities and other fun stuff for free, and in lots of people’s minds, it’s the big kickoff for the summer. Also this weekend are two separate LGBT pride festivals — Bar Harbor’s got one, and so does Belfast, which means that including Bangor and Portland, there are now four separate pride festivals in Maine! Progress! For more information on both, visit the Belfast and Bar Harbor pride event pages.
5. If getting out into the great outdoors is more your style for this weekend, there are several fun events happening all over the state. For starters, this Saturday is the annual Maine Moose Lottery, a fun event in which this year’s moose permits will be drawn; it’s set for Kittery Trading Post, with activities starting at 9 a.m., including lots of vendors, a moose calling competition and more. The drawing is set to begin at 2 p.m. — did you put your name in? Also happening this weekend is a unique opportunity to explore one of the best-kept outdoor secrets in Maine — Sears Island, located just off Route 1 in Searsport, will offer a family nature program from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, starting at the kiosk near the main gate. And don’t forget that in Bangor, the new downtown business Explore Bangor offers canoe, kayak and bike rentals all summer long, so you can explore the Kenduskeag, the Penobscot and all the trails in the area whether or not you personally own the proper equipment. How cool is that?