A short list of things I, your humble music columnist, must do before the end of the year:
1. Make extra-special super-secret homemade holiday gifts for family and friends. Not the kind of homemade gift that everyone says, “Gee, thanks!” when receiving, and then shoves in the back of the closet or cabinet, never to be heard from again. Extra-special super-secret — remember?
2. Find a way to reuse my panda costume from Halloween.
3. Not have a McRib.
4. Totally go see the new “Muppets” movie.
5. Attend at least two more awesome shows in Maine. Ideally, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings on Nov. 2 at the State Theatre and banjo whiz Noam Pikelny on Dec. 13 at One Longfellow Square — but I’ll take what I can get. I’d be happy to go to any of the following. Wouldn’t you?
State Theatre, Portland
November starts off with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings on Nov. 3 — a soul diva, with the amazing band that played on Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Next is Further featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir on Nov. 4 — but they’re actually at the Cumberland County Civic Center with tickets available through the State. Then it’s songwriter Mat Kearney on Nov. 5, and Lily Tomlin on Nov. 8. The following day, Nov. 9, brings blues legend Buddy Guy, and then emo band All Time Low on Nov. 17, the Drive-By Truckers with Jessica Lea Mayfield on Nov. 18, and Maine favorites State Radio on Nov. 19.
After Thanksgiving, it’s time for a special Nov. 26 screening of Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz,” followed by Portland-via-Madawaska band The Lucid covering songs from The Band. On Sunday, Nov. 27, bluegrass queen Gillian Welch will perform, and on Dec. 10, the Dark Star Orchestra, famed for being the best Grateful Dead cover band ever, will play. A special event is set for Dec. 11, with independent film legend John Waters giving an adults-only Christmas lecture. Dec. 17 brings Sublime cover band Badfish, Dec. 26 offers up Matisyahu’s Festival of Lights Hanukkah show, and Dec. 28 brings metal gods Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity. Finally, jam band heroes moe. will play two nights on Dec. 30 and 31. Happy New Years!
Port City Music Hall, Portland
November kicks off with Maine singer-songwriter Jacob Augustine’s CD release on Nov. 4, followed by jam band Max Creek on Nov. 5. Celtic rockers Enter the Haggis play on Nov. 10, progressive bluegrass and country acts Trampled by Turtles and Johnny Corndawg are set for Nov. 13, and Barefoot Truth will play on Nov. 17. Criminally overlooked Canadian songwriter Sam Roberts will play on Nov. 19, followed by jam band Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad on Nov. 20. In December, Assembly of Dust and Ryan Montbleau will perform on Dec. 1, dubstep DJ Marty Party will spin on Dec. 3, and New England jam favorites The Brew will play on Dec. 9. Finally, Boston hardcore favorites Tree will play their last show ever on Dec. 17.
One Longfellow Square, Portland
At this most intimate of Portland venues, start November off with a performance from Jorma Kaukonen on Nov. 5. Brilliant banjo player and songwriter Abigail Washburn is set for Nov. 8, followed by Leon Redbone on Nov. 11, blues man James Montgomery on Nov. 12, progressive bluegrass band Bearfoot on Nov. 20, and Tom Rush on Dec. 2. Noam Pikelny, a member of Punch Brothers and winner of the first ever Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music, will play on Dec. 13, and ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro is set for Dec. 16.
Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield
Western Maine plays host to two shows featuring Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on Nov. 13. Later, Suzy Bogguss takes the stage on Nov. 19, and singer-songwriter Brett Dennan is set for Nov. 22. Raul Malo of the Mavericks will play a Christmas show on Dec. 4.
Androscoggin Bank Colisee, Lewiston
Two shows coming in December at the Colisee: Five Finger Death Punch and All That Remains on Dec. 3, and country stars Rodney Atkins and Kellie Pickler on Dec. 17.