1. Now that the Waterfront Concert season has kicked off in the Queen City, it’s time for downtown Bangor to follow suit with some fun summertime shows. Yes, I know it’s not technically summer yet. Let me live in my fantasy world, kthxbai. On Friday night, Mellow Endeavor holds its record release party for its new album, “All Paths Lead Home,” starting at 8 p.m. at Nocturnem Drafthaus; down the street at Paddy Murphy’s on Friday it’s a night of indie pop with Portland’s Yes We Kin, Dustin Saucier and the Sad Bastards, and Bangor’s Temperature of the Sun. Also on Friday, it’s Trisha Mason at Ipanema, the band Despair at the Big Easy, and at Tantrum it’s a night of hip hop with Termanology and DJ Deadeye. Moving onto Saturday, there’s Stesha Cano at Nocturnem, Sus 4 at the Big Easy, River Bottom Funk at Ipanema, a one night only reunion of Celtic rockers the Galley Rats at Paddy’s, and up in Orono, it’s heavy rock with OneSixtyOne and Gunhouse Hill at Bear Brew. On Sunday, enjoy the smooth sounds of Mike Billings at 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport.
2. Enjoy some fantastic acoustic music on Friday at Slainte in Portland, with Connecticut’s Kwesi Kankam, Portland’s own Samuel James (pictured), and Isaiah Bennett; also on Friday, it’s Lyle Divinsky and the Velvet Vagabonds with the Nat Osborn Band and Alice and the Glass Lake at the Big Easy, the Heritage Blues Quartet at One Longfellow Square, and Eric Bettencourt at the St. Lawrence Arts. Hip hop star Andre Nicketina is set for Port City Music Hall on Saturday, as well as Iron & Wine and the Secret Sisters, who are slated for the State Theatre on Saturday night. Also on Saturday, there’s a double shot of soul at the Big Easy with Kenya Hall and Kristina Kentigian, there’s the Jerks of Grass at the St. Lawrence Arts, and there’s a Saturday night burlesque show at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford. Wrap it up on Sunday with Putnam Smith at One Longfellow Square, and J.R. Jones and Maleana Cadiz at the Oak and the Ax.
3. Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston is quickly becoming one of the go-to live music venues in the Midcoast; this Friday they feature roots band Poor Old Shine (pictured), as well as wood-fired pizza from Uproot Pie Co. Also on Friday along the Midcoast, there’s Blind Albert Blues at Rock City Coffee in Rockland, and Eric Green acoustic solo at the Brick House in Searsport. Saturday brings Putnam Smith and Gabriel Zacchai at Rock City, Trisha Mason at Myrtle Street Tavern in Rockland, and a special 8 p.m. screening of Dave Grohl’s rock doc “Sound City” at the Strand Theatre. On the other side of the bay, on Friday there’s songwriter Chris Smither at the Grand Theatre in Ellsworth, and on Saturday the Portland alt-folk band If and It will play at the Lompoc Cafe in Bar Harbor. But wait, there’s more: on Saturday beloved Hancock County songwriter Chris Ross plays an all-request show at Chummies in Ellsworth, and at Sips in Southwest Harbor, there’s the Crown Vics. On Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., there’s a kickoff party for the eventual construction of Knowlton Community Park on State Street in downtown Ellsworth, with free barbecue and ice cream, and music from Flash in the Pans.
4. “Around the World in 80 Days” opens this weekend at the Penobscot Theatre; the madcap adventure is set for 8 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Bangor Opera House. Also this weekend is the Robinson Ballet’s Brick Church Series II, featuring original works by company members, reprised, set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Union Street Brick Church in Bangor. In Portland, in addition to the main stage play “Wittenberg” all weekend, Portland Stage hosts its Little Festival of the Unexpected on Saturday; three new American plays, including “Lake Untersee” by Joe Waechter, “Veils” by Tom Coach, and “The Vikings of Munjoy Hill” by Ian MacAllister-McDonald will be performed at 12:30, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m, respectively, at Portland Stage’s Studio Theatre on Forest Avenue. Cold Comfort Theater – a.k.a. the artists formerly known as the Belfast Maskers – perform John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Emerson Hall in Castine.
5. What better way to enjoy these earliest days of warm weather than by strolling around the still-quiet Mt. Desert Island, and enjoy the annual Taste of Bar Harbor event, a food festival featuring local restaurants and chefs. On Friday, there’s a pub tour from 5 to 9 p.m., where for just $20 you get samples of drinks at ten bars around town. On Saturday, there are four five-course prix fixe dinners served at four area restaurants, which will be revealed to participants at a 5 p.m. reception at Fiore Olive Oil; tickets are $75. Then, on Sunday, there are speciality brunches all over town. For more information, visit the Taste of Bar Harbor website.