1. Now this is more like it. I’ve got slip on shoes on today! This weekend I think everyone’s going to feel a bit more cheerful, and Bangor’s got the goods to match. Friday night at Tantrum there’s the 2014 Grab the Mic Emcee Battle, pitting Eastern Maine rappers against each other in a night of local hip hip. Alternately on Friday, there’s WHSN’s annual AS4MS Acoustic Showcase at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University, a benefit for multiple sclerosis research, featuring music from Air Traffic Controller (pictured), the Ghost of Paul Revere, James Gilmore and One Shot Nothing. Also on Friday, there’s String Field Theory at Paddy Murphy’s, the Bill Barnes Jazz Trio at Nocturnem Drafthaus, Mark Miller at the Big Easy, and at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, there’s the fifth anniversary show with improv troupe the Focus Group, set for 8 p.m. On Saturday, there’s a double bill of local indie rock with Chamberlain and the Feather Lungs with a special 7 p.m. show at the Tavern on Main Street, there’s the Blood Orange Martinis at Paddy’s, the East Side River Band at Nocturnem, and out at 4Points BBQ & Blues there’s the Pitch Black Ribbons.
2. It’s First Friday in Portland, so everyone’s putting on their game face. Aside from all the fantastic visual art on display all evening around town, there’s entertainment and musical uniqueness everywhere, like a night of indie and folk at Empire with the Ballroom Thieves (pictured), the Soil & the Sun and Starlight Cicada; legendary New England band Dreadnaught at Bayside Bowl; singer-songwriter Willy Porter at One Longfellow Square; visual and musical art fusion with with Dr. Goodweather’s Dreaming Attic performance experience at Mayo Street Arts; indie rock with Caleb Orion, First in Maths and Probably Dog at Slainte; heavy rock with Eastern Spell, Greywinds, Holy Filth and the Young Lungs at Matthew’s; and beloved rockers the Hold Steady with Worried Well at Asylum. On Saturday, what else do you need to know besides the Superhero Lady Armwrestlers of Portland are having a match at Geno’s, going arm to arm alongside music from Thee Icepicks? Well, also that Lake Street Dive, the super hot roots rock band, is playing at the State Theatre with Ages & Ages. Such fun. So awesome. Wow.
3. The hits just keep on coming. Friday night the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts hosts folk duo the Coloradas with guitarist Kelly Ravin, while in Belfast on Saturday, Three Tides (pictured) offers a dance part with DJ Just Joan. Further down the coast, the Speakeasy in Rockland hosts the Wayne Delano Quartet on Friday and the Waldo County Stump Thumpers on Saturday, Rock City Coffee in Rockland hosts a spoken word night on Saturday, and, also on Saturday, there’s songwriter Ellis Pail with guest Chris Ross at the Camden Opera House. Across the bay, there’s folk duo Him & Her Friday night at Mainely Meat on Main in Ellsworth and there’s fun rock with the London Boys at Sips in Southwest Harbor on Saturday.
4. NERD ALERT! It’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” weekend! Yay! The latest Marvel Studios treat is in theaters this Friday in both regular and 3D, along with already released blockbuster titles like “Noah” and “Divergent.” The wonderful new Wes Anderson film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is also in theaters statewide, and the charming Annette Bening and Ed Harris romantic comedy “The Look of Love” is at Railroad Square Cinemas in Waterville and the Strand Theatre in Rockland; Railroad Square also hosts a very special 9:30 p.m. screening of cult classic “The Big Lebowski,” set for Saturday; come dressed for the occasion.
5. No surer sign of spring there is than the annual BDN Maine Garden Show & Spring Fling, set for Friday through Sunday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Let’s run down the checklist: golf simulator, beer garden, children’s area, live music, lots and lots of vendors of all stripes, and of course, a beautiful blast of green grass, bright flowers and the smell of spring. I’ll be there, I know that. Admission is $7, and the hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.