Friday, April 30, 2010
These virtuoso players have toured with The Allman Brothers and Dickey Betts & Great Southern, so you're getting a top-shelf performance for the cost of some bucks in the tip jar and a drink. Not a bad deal, eh?
Michael Kach plays keyboard, Burt Engelsman is on bass, Frankie Lombardi keeps the beat going on drums, and Bain Beakley steps up with lead guitar and back up vocals. Duane Betts sits in on lead guitar as well.
The Michael Kach Group plays a longer and later show every Tuesday night at The Irish Rover, so if you enjoy the jam tonight, you can invite some friends to join you on Tuesday for more musical surprises and impressive riffs.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The Instigators offer an intriguing blend of reggae, world, and subtle jam music that started back in the 1980s here in Sarasota, and only recently came back to life with their re-entry in January. Since then, they've made Thursdays a laid-back, groovy night for starting the weekend with some listening and dancing at the smoke-free, family-friendly Irish Rover pub on Gateway Avenue in Gulf Gate.
The show tonight starts at 7:30PM and runs until 10PM. "Be there or be square", as they used to say! Let's pack the house!
Monday, April 26, 2010
Who is this guy, and where else has he played during his 25 year career behind the drum set? He studied at the drummer's collective in NYC, then moved to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music. While in Boston, he was a member of the rock band, Sunshine Jive.
Lombardi's next stop was California, where he played with guitarist Blues Saraceno and opened for Steve Smith's Vital Information. On his return to Boston, he recorded on Sunshine Jive's eponymous debut release at Michael Bolton's Passion Studios in Westport, CT. The record was released in Japan and 14 countries in Europe by MTM music (a German company).
Most recently, he toured with Dickey Betts & Great Southern. With Betts' decision to take a break from the concert circuit, Frankie Lombardi has been keeping The Michael Kach Group on track at The Irish Rover on Tuesday nights. The show starts at 7:30PM and keeps everyone on the edge of their seats until 10PM.
The Irish Rover, in Gulf Gate, Sarasota, is smoke-free and family-friendly. Unbelievably, The Michael Kach Group show is cover-free. Throw some green into the tip jar, though. These performers are world-class, and Lombardi is right up with them.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Jazz Juvenocracy is a band composed entirely of middle school and high school students from Sarasota, and they've been impressing audiences for three years. You can hear them tonight from 6PM to 10PM at The Irish Rover, in Gulf Gate.
The band consists of six teenagers, ranging from 13 years to 18 years old. The idea for the group was theirs, and as a result of their weekly Saturday performances in front of a local grocery store, Greg Nielsen, a jazz trombonist who's performed with Slide Hampton, Cab Calloway, Ron Carter, Bobby Shew, Nancy Wilson and many other jazz legends, offered to coach them.
Since then, Jazz Juvenocracy has played regularly at jazz clubs in Florida. Individual members of the group have performed at the Grammy Awards, The Berklee Jazz Festival and the Clearwater Jazz Festival. This summer, they'll tour Europe, with dates already booked at the Jazz a Vienne Festival in France, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and The Tuscany and Umbria Festivals in Italy. Jazz Juvenocracy musicians are Austin Parker Gill, guitar; Alex Hernandez, tenor and soprano sax;Brent Layman, upright and electric bass; Bit Risner, trumpet, flugel horn and vocals; Rodney Rocques, drums; and Tommy Silverman, alto sax, clarinet, flute and EWI.
The Irish Rover is smoke-free and family-friendly, with a full dinner menu, in addition to drinks. No cover for the Jazz Juvenocracy show there tonight.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Who is this guy, and how did he get so popular? Burt Engelsman started playing bass in 1971 when he was 18 and still plays the vintage 1965 Fender Jazz bass purchased when he was 20. At age 21, he moved to Macon, GA, and played in a band called the Underground Railroad, which included Bobby Womack's horn section, drummer John Morgan and guitar player Robert Coleman from James Brown's band. Managed by Zelma Redding (Otis Redding's widow) they toured as the back up band for Percy Sledge, Clarence Carter, Candi Staton, and King Floyd.
From 1982 to 1983, Burt toured with the Gregg Allman Band and in Sarasota played with Eclipse from 1983 to 1986, with the Instigators from 1986 to 1989, with Twinkle during the mid 1990's (was in her music video "Can't Get Love With Money" which aired on VH1 and MTV) and several other R&B bands.
Over the years Burt had opportunities to play with James Brown, Freddie King, Dickey Betts, John Lee Hooker, Mitch Ryder (and the Detroit Wheels), Elvin Bishop, Pinetop Perkins, Archie Bell (and the Drells) and other name R&B players.
For some reason, Sarasota has become a destination and settling-down place for musicians with really impressive careers, and Burt Engelsman is surely one of them. But don't take my word for it. Stop into The Irish Rover in Gulf Gate tonight from 7 - 10PM to hear his bass and back up vocals with one of Sarasota's favorite reggae/world music/jam bands, The Instigators.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
While not all down-home Southern boys, these string-thing artists bend guitar, banjo, fiddle, and standup bass to their wild wills, regaling the crowd with bluegrass standards and originals that sound like you might have heard them all your life.
J.R.'s Old Packinghouse Cafe is smoke-free, family-friendly, and serves a full menu of comfort food in a funky Old Florida setting that used to be a celery packing warehouse (thus the name). You can hear live music here six nights a week. The show starts at 7PM, but get there earlier to snag a table and put in your food order. Then just let your feet do their stompy thing when the fiddlin' begins.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Over the years he's played with notable musicians including Chris Layton & Tommy Shannon (Double Trouble), Dangerous Dan Toler & Frankie Toler (Toler Bros./Allman Bros./Gregg Allman Band/Marshall Tucker), Greg Poulos (Freddie King), Gregg Allman, Allen Woody & Warren Haynes (Allman Bros.), Floyd Miles, Rick Derringer, Charlie Daniels, and Johnny Neel.
He's also opened for Buddy Guy, Lonnie Brooks, Leon Russell and more. He toured nationally with Molly Hatchet and was recorded by Relativity Records with Chris Anderson (Outlaws/Blackhawk) on his “Old Friend” album, among many other privately mastered CDs.
Most recently, he's been a member of Dickey Betts & Great Southern. With Betts' decision to take a break from touring, Kach has now formed his own band in Sarasota, called The Michael Kach Group. With Frankie Lombardi on drums and vocals, Burt Engelsman on bass and vocals, Bain Beakley on guitar and vocals, and Duane Betts on guitar, The Michael Kach Group energizes Tuesday nights at The Irish Rover in Gulf Gate, Sarasota.
Kach's piano playing is astonishing, fast and fluid. His throaty, driving vocals carry the songs and give ample space for lead breaks by other band members. A memorable show each week.
Check out The Michael Kach Group tonight, Tuesday, from 7 - 10PM. Tips only, no cover. The Irish Rover is smoke-free, family-friendly, with a full menu.
Monday, April 19, 2010
In Sarasota, a town that already brims over with musical talent, established musicians are generously offering a hand-up to younger generations coming onto the scene, from teens to college and post-college. You'll sometimes see underage talent sitting in on the drums or impressing with prodigious guitar leads at a gig. Live music is roaring back into Sarasota, and it's so very cool to see it percolating at all ages.
Jimi Gee, whose successful career as a guitarist with major acts left him with the desire to pass on his passion to kids, rehearses Fogt's Jr All-Stars in a warehouse building behind Fogt's Music in Sarasota. Several of the band members already play multiple instruments. It used to be that school band music irked and ached with lumbering rhythms and wrong notes. No longer. Fogt's Jr All-Stars and Jazz Juvenocracy, another local junior group, take their tune seriously and already have ambitions for visible careers in music.
The Irish Rover is smoke-free and family friendly. Try dinner and live music tonight, instead of another DVD on the couch. You'll be inspired by what you see and hear.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
You don't need a date. Just find a seat at one of the many tables or at the bar, and get out on the dance floor to do your thing. It's a big, friendly celebration.
Democracy band members Oswald "Ham" Caines, Reggie Knights, Richy Kicklighter, and John Walker blend instrumental and vocal harmonies with warm, danceable energy. Democracy also plays at the 5 O'Clock Club on Hillview Street on Thursday nights.
Marina Jack is smoke-free indoors, with tropical breezes wafting through the room from the adjacent Sarasota Bay. Ya mon! No more silent Sundays.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Let's start with TC's smooth growl of a singing voice. He just throws out those lyrics like a seasoned baseball pitcher, and he can adjust the mood and tone verse by verse, to set the crowd jumping or slow dancing. His lead guitar breaks are fluid and creative, oozing with soul. It continues to amaze me how many extraordinary guitar players we're gifted with here in Sarasota. And TC (Tim Chandler) is surely among the best of the best.
Backing him up energetically on bass and vocals is Doc Mambo. Rodney "Hot Rod" Johnson keeps the beat with kickin' drum work and both backup and lead vocals. When Rodney croons a Willie Nelson song, you'd swear Willie was up there doing the honors.
Besides impressing with facile musicianship, TC expertly reads the mood of the "room" on Saturday nights at Mattison's and delivers slow dances that crowd the floor with romantic couples, sweetly teases bachelorettes and birthday girls, and leaves few sitting when he launches into classics like Brown Sugar and Jumping Jack Flash, among other classics. TC & The Troublemakers plays some originals, too, which adds variety to their set list.
On his MySpace page, TC says, "Absolutely LOVE the blues, killer players like Albert King and BB and the like. Clapton has some fantastic songs and I'm REALLY into the sounds of Delbert McClinton. I grew up and started taking my music serious in the "Southern Rock" era, bands like Marshall Tucker and the Allman Bros. are what I began with and still somewhat emulate to this day." While I can hear the influences of those legends when TC & The Troublemakers play, they bring their own flavor to the music. Just can't keep from dancing when I hear it. Maybe you'll enjoy them, too.
If you want to hear an interesting contrast to TC & The Troublemakers' Saturday night party band sound, give a listen to some of Tim Chandler's original tunes on his individual MySpace page.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
It's relaxing to go out on Thursday night, as the work week winds down. A nice way to ease into the weekend is to check out The Instigators at The Irish Rover in Gulf Gate on Thursday evenings from 7 to 10PM. This is an unusual band, which creatively blends reggae and world music sounds with sometimes ethereal, sometimes rocking riffs.
Formed in Sarasota in1982, The Instigators were the first reggae band in the area. As they slowly built an appreciative fan base, they developed into one of Southwest Florida's most popular bands. In 1985 they recorded their album Between the Worlds and while touring the southeastern part of the country they were asked to open shows for some of Reggae’s biggest names including Jimmy Cliff, Third World, King Sunny Ade, and Steel Pulse.
Fast forward to this Season when The Instigators returned as a band to Sarasota, with a packed-house reunion concert at The Irish Rover, where they continue to play on Thursday nights. The $5 cover charge is well worth this unique live music experience. These are all top-notch musicians, some of whom you'll recognize from other bands they play with around town.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
It was another amazing evening at The Irish Rover last night, when the Michael Kach Group had the room cheering in admiration over their soulful vocals and instrumental jam breaks. Here's a snippet of what it was like (from a youtube.com video recorded last month).
Their sound is influenced by the Allman Brothers and Dickey Betts & Great Southern, but they've clearly got their own thing going. Michael Kach's wailing, guttural vocals set the tone, and it's a blast watching the other players riff off his energy. Frankie Lombardi's drum solos were smokin'--where does all that energy come from? Bain Beakley and Duane Betts did some interesting lead-swapping. Burt Engelsman's fingers never stopped finding the bass lines that kept the whole package in synch.
But, truly, you've got to be there in person to see how these guys smoke. There's also a fun energy among them onstage. Enjoy the tips-only nights at the Rover while you can. The Michael Kach Group has got to be headed for bigger venues, and you'll want to say you saw them when they were starting out, right here in Sarasota.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
All the musicians are volunteers, playing for tips and CD sales. Marco Cicerone, of Natural Vibes, opens the show each week, with his up-tempo steel drum dance and party tunes. He stays all afternoon, lending the use of his sound system to all the other performers. This season has seen an interesting variety of musical styles, including folk, folk/rock, blues, bluegrass, Americana, reggae, dulcimers, washtub bass, and other fun stuff.
Local and visiting musicians who have played at the Phillippi Farmhouse Market so far include Hymn for Her, Myakka (Brad & Lisa Fitzgerald), Susan James, Ray Paladino, Dean Johanesen, Marco Cicerone, and Dennis Brock, among others. There's lots of free parking on the grounds of the Phillippi Estate, the takeout foods are inexpensive and delicious, and there are picnic tables set up in the center of the field, so you can eat, socialize, listen to the music, and dance in the sunshine.
Monday, April 12, 2010
UPDATE: The Irish Rover is closed.
In Gulf Gate, on Gateway Avenue, The Irish Rover is a smoke-free, family-friendly pub with a small bar in front and a spacious dining room with tables large enough for groups of friends to gather 'round. There's a full menu of comfort-food dinner items, as well as drinks, so you can stop in for a meal and stay for the music.
Owner Paul Duffy is a prodigious musician in his own right, expert on saxophone, trumpet, flute, guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, tin whistle, bagpipes, and vocals. He's played with Ben E. King, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Brian Johnson, Suzi Quatro, Chris de Burgh, Paul Hazel, The Corrs and Hazel O'Connor. The Irish Rover offers music Tuesday through Saturday, with a diverse lineup of musical styles. Current highlights include the Michael Kach Group (southern rock and blues) on Tuesdays; The Instigators (reggae and world music) on Thursdays; and Paul Duffy's Irish Night on Fridays. You'll see people of all ages at The Irish Rover, including kids. Oh, yes, on the first Sunday afternoon of the month, don't miss Jazz Juvenocracy and amazingly talented jazz band whose members are all middle school students.
On Main Street in downtown Sarasota, Sarasota Vineyard is a smoke-free wine-tasting bar/restaurant with a tantalizing menu that includes appetizers like baked brie, spinach and artichoke dip, specialty salads, gourmet flat bread pizza, main dishes and desserts. You have your choice of seating, from club chairs, high-top tables, and a bar in the front, to cozy booths in the back. Sarasota Vineyard presents live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Make a point of stopping by to hear Al Fuller and Gary Davis harmonize on folk-rock favorites and originals. Bain Beakley, who plays at The Irish Rover on Tuesday nights with the Michael Kach Group, also delivers strong vocals and guitar work in his solo act at Sarasota Vineyard.
Mattison's City Grille, an outdoor restaurant at the corner of Main Street and Lemon Avenue, in downtown Sarasota, is always hopping with impressive bands playing live music seven nights a week. T.C. and The Troublemakers is a sure thing on Saturday nights, with very danceable sets of rock, blues, and originals. You can have fun on the dance floor whether you've got a date or not. Simply get up and join the crowd moving to the beat. On Thursday nights, The Venturas' repertoire of jazz, pop and swing highlights lead singer Ally Couch's husky and soulful vocals.
J.R.'s Old Packinghouse Cafe, on Old Packinghouse Road, one block east of Cattleman Road, near I-75, is a funky Old Florida, smoke-free, family-friendly restaurant with a small bar in the back, outside dining on the deck in front, and a tiny stage that serves up live music Monday through Saturday. Be sure to check out The Florida Mountain Boys (bluegrass), Kraig Kenning (slide guitar wizard), and the Al Fuller Band (blues, rock, originals) when they show up on the music schedule. Shows start at 7PM, so if you want a table and a short wait for your dinner, get there earlier to avoid the rush. The Old Packinghouse Cafe used to be part of a celery packing warehouse, thus the unusual name.
Marina Jack restaurant dominates the far west end of Main Street, where it meets Sarasota Bay. On the ground floor, in the back of the building, open to the breathtaking view of Island Park and the sunset over the John Ringling Bridge, there's a spacious bar, tables and chairs, and a spacious bandstand and dance floor where Sunday afternoons star Democracy, a very popular reggae band that draws a diverse and friendly crowd who can't keep their feet still as soon as the music starts. Notice the fluid and creative lead guitar by Richie Kicklighter, who also plays with The Instigators at The Irish Rover on Thursday nights. Reggae at Marina Jack goes from 4 - 9PM every Sunday. Dress is casual to glitzy, depending on your mood.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
If you missed the debut of the newly formed Michael Kach Group at The Irish Rover in Gulf Gate, Sarasota, last Tuesday night, the good news is that they're playing again this Tuesday, April 13, from 7 - 10PM. This is one group that's worth getting out to hear. Really.
What you missed last week was a concert-arena-quality concert delivered for tips-only in an intimate, smoke-free, family-friendly setting. Michael Kach's fingers fly across the keyboard faster than any I've seen, Frankie Lombardi's drumming is virtuosic, and Burt Englesman's artful bass playing keeps everyone on track. Soulful lead guitar breaks by Bain Beakley, alternating with fluid lead guitar riffs by Duane Betts were outstanding. Kach's vocals, with backup vocals by Lombardi, Beakley, and Engelsman, are a blend of Allman Brothers howl with a bit of John Fogerty thrown into the mix. Lots of lung-power filling the room with a driving, jam-band sort of passionate fun.
Engelsman has toured with the Allman Brothers; Kach, Lombardi, Beakley, and Betts have toured with Dickey Betts. Now they're here in little Sarasota, gifting us with their musical wizardry every Tuesday night at The Irish Rover for the next few weeks.
What did we do to deserve this? Well, what we can do to appreciate it is to show up--hey, bring a tableful of friends and family--and give these guys the audience they deserve. The Irish Rover is located on Gateway Avenue (behind the Sarasota Pavilion) in Gulf Gate, Sarasota. In addition to drinks, you can order dinner from the comfort-food menu.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
On any given day or evening in Sarasota, you can find live music at friendly restaurants, bars, clubs, tiki bars, and hotel lounges. To see a list of venues and artists, with listings for tonight, tomorrow, yesterday, or future dates, go to WhereWillWeGoTonight.com, an excellent nightlife guide for the Sarasota - Bradenton area. You'll also find listings in Creative Loafing, the free weekly entertainment newspaper, and in the Ticket, the weekend magazine section of The Herald Tribune.
But how do you choose where to go? If you're not a local music afficionado, it's a wild shot to select a venue and live music gig you'll enjoy. That's where BestMusicTonight.blogspot.com can help.
It began as a simple email list of my personal favorite performers and music venues around Sarasota. It will continue to grow as I explore and discover new places and musicians. It's not intended to be comprehensive or critical. Just as an art gallery owner selects artwork that appeals to his or her own taste and preferences, I offer an edited selection of gigs worthy of my time, and, I hope, yours as well.
My email list is called, "Get off the Couch". It's so easy to stay at home and spend the evening watching TV or DVDs, or lost in your computer screen. In a cultural community that's so full of local talent--of all ages, from kids to Boomers to seniors--it's really worth giving yourself the adventure of a night on the town.
And, by the way, that's one of the unique charms of Sarasota nightlife. At many venues, you'll find a blend of ages in attendance and on-stage. Also fluid is the range of fashions, from 6-inch stilettos to flip-flops, from sequins to tank tops. The main thing is to just show up and see what the night offers. More often than not, you'll go home humming that last song or skipping down the sidewalk, feet still tapping from happy dancing.
Many venues in Sarasota are smoke-free and charge little or no cover fee. For a few dollars dropped into the tip cup, or used to purchase an original CD, you can enjoy an evening of casual listening, fun dancing, or just watching real live humans, and still get home in time to catch the late news or snuggle with your honey.