Saturday, December 10, 2011

Frankie Lombardi at The King George Pub in Sarasota

Partial as I am to both British culture and Frankie Lombardi's music, I stopped in tonight at The King George Pub, on Superior Avenue, in Gulf Gate, Sarasota, to hear Frankie's Acoustic Revolution.

The bright, cheerful, high-ceilinged interior of The King George Pub was inviting, with friendly patrons enjoying a "swift half" or pint. Owners Nick & Christie Barthram have created an inviting "home away from home" for locals to socialize and listen to live music (Frankie Lombardi on Friday nights; Irish music on Monday nights).

An unexpected gift tonight was a flurry of expert lead guitar riffs emanating from the direction of an 11-year old boy accompanying Frankie, who provided vocals and alternated between rhythm and lead on acoustic guitar. Sarasota continues to impress with an inordinate number of accomplished young players who sit in on stage with world class adult musicians, who are gracious enough to share the spotlight with them.

As usual, Frankie's vocals were intense and passionate, his guitar playing first class, and the set list familiar enough to hum along with on several tunes.

The demise of The Irish Rover left a large void in the Sarasota live music scene, so it's cheering to discover a new spot where one can be included once again in the easy sociability of Brits who've chosen to make Sarasota their home. Brilliant!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Irish Rover in Sarasota

Goodbye to the warm and welcoming Irish Rover in Sarasota FL. Here's hoping Paul Duffy and his merry musical mates find a fitting venue before next St. Paddy's Day!

The Sarasota live music scene will be too quiet without The Irish Rover as a venue for diverse and wonderful bands.

Hymn for Her in Carbondale CO

Shortly after arriving in the Aspen CO area, we were surprised and excited to learn that Hymn for Her, a unique duet/band we'd enjoyed several times at the Phillippi Farmhouse Market in Sarasota FL was scheduled to play at Steve's Guitars in Carbondale CO.

Lucy Tight & Wayne Waxing are “Hymn For Her”, a band that hails from anywhere they can park their trailer. H4H live, tour and record in their 16 foot, 1961 Bambi Airstream (comes with dog and baby). Their new release, ‘Lucy & Wayne and THE AMAIRICAN STREAM’ was entirely recorded in their classic trailer on a coast to coast U.S tour.

This couple's sound is so unusual, I spent most of the concert at Steve's Guitars thinking about how to describe it. For starters, Lucy plays a gut-churning slide "guitar" which is made from a cigar box, toilet plunger pole, and three strings (one bass and two guitar strings, to be exact).

Wayne sits in front of a one-man-band setup consisting of guitar, harmonica, bass drum and cymbals.

And what a LARGE sound comes out of their instrumental and vocal harmonies. Their playing is loud and very very tight, and it's a blast watching them feed each other's crazy energy and seamless musical wizardry.

To add to the ambiance, Lucy works a foot pedal to periodically change slides on a screen set up behind them. The photos are from slides found in Wayne's father's attic and depict people and scenes from the 1970s.

But enough 'splaining. Here's a video to give you a bit of Hymn for Her's rootsy, Appalachian, folk rock bluesy, zydecoian jambalaya. . . Ya gotta see them in person. You'll be smitten and boggled, for sure.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Instigators last gig at Irish Rover!!

Sad news for all Sarasota live music lovers and Irish pub-goers: The Irish Rover is planning to close! This popular Gulf Gate bar-restaurant has featured live music every night of the week for 5 years. It is also site of the most fun and well-attended St Patrick's Day bash in Sarasota.

The very popular and distinctive reggae band, The Instigators, offered their reunion concert at The Irish Rover two years ago and played weekly for a season.

This Thursday, July 7th, will be the final performance of The Instigators at The Irish Rover. Be sure to come out and fill the room to overflowing so the musicians and Paul Duffy, Irish Rover owner, know how much you love 'em!

Show starts at 7:30PM, no cover. Do throw some $ into the popcorn box, though, so the band knows you appreciate their incredible musicianship and good natured fun onstage.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott Heron -- RIP

He just died in NYC.

Look and listen to this beautiful video:

(image borrowed from

Adam Segreti Memorial Fundraiser TONIGHT

I know it's last-minute notice, but this fundraiser is a gig too exciting to miss.

Alex Ligertwood (lead vocalist of Santana) has gathered a group of sensational musicians to play in a Fundraiser for Cancer. Lineup includes Ligertwood, Randall Hall, former guitarist of Lynyrd Skynrd; Fergi Frederiksen, former lead vocalist of Toto; and Kenny Crawley, who's performed with Bo Diddley, Ligertwood, Brian Johnson and Dickey Betts.

Right here in Sarasota, music central of the Suncoast. So hand over your $15 for a good cause and listen up!

TONIGHT! At Bobby Jones Golf Course, 100 Circus Blvd, Sarasota FL 34232. You can golf all day, have dinner, and then surrender yourself to the joy of sound -- the show starts at 8PM.

3 Piece Suit at Boatyard Village Tuesday Market

Sarasota is a music town, with tunes wafting over from almost every beach bar, restaurant, and shopping street. And yet, it's still possible to be surprised by a new sound in the Sarasota live music scene.

Last Tuesday, strolling through the 4-week-old "Afternoon Market at The Boatyard Village" (5 - 8:30PM), just over the Stickney Point Bridge from Siesta Key, we paused to admire the very hot cool jazz of Three Piece Suit Engineered. As it happened, this new weekly market venue provided the debut stage for the first public gig of a three piece jazz band that includes its engineer in the official lineup.

They call their music "gospel jazz fusion". I call it "very hot cool jazz". Whatever you call it, it showcases the individual talent and group solidarity of musicians who have been playing and studying music since childhood, have each performed for years with various nationally known acts, and discovered that playing together here in Sarasota is the best possible "fusion" of their gifts.

All the music is original, and the musicianship is very very tight. Gary Lidge calls himself a "keyboard stylist"-- he's both composer and performer of mood-inflected inspired trips over the ivories. Bassist Thomas Presha, drummer Kevin Snelling, and audio tech Carlos Farias bring tone, rhythm and seamless sound blending to the mix. Standing in the parking lot of The Boatyard Village, with the hum of shoppers and vendors all around, it was hard to believe that this was 3 Piece Suit's first outside show. They sounded like they've been doin' it for years, and with this quality they surely will be.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Joey Lavallee at Marina Jack's

It's difficult for a solo performer to make enough interesting sounds to hold a room over the course of a set. Some soloists around town have resorted to playing along with pre-recorded instrumental and vocal loops to help them approximate a band. Throughout the recession, we've seen more of this in the Sarasota live music scene as venues have only been willing to pay for soloists or duos, trying to save money over paying for live bands.

This evening at the Portside Patio overlooking downtown Sarasota's beautiful Bayfront Park at Marina Jack's, soloist Joey Lavallee offered up full bass tones and melodic medium notes on both guitar and vocals, creating a full-bodied sound without the use of additional tracks. His stylized versions of familiar songs were interesting, as were his comfortable and proficient runs as he took impressive lead breaks.

We'd seen and danced recently to his lead vocals in the Mark Serio & Friends band at Mattison's City Grille, where the band played an evening of lively danceable funk, with barely a slow song to ease things down.

Tonight at the Portside Patio, Joey Lavallee's tone was more contemplative and smoother. The versatility of top-notch musicians is what keeps us coming back for more. The Sarasota nightlife scene continues to provide great opportunities to see virtuosity close-up.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ron Kraemer, Blues Man

Blues man Ron Kraemer is a newcomer to the Sarasota live music scene. He relocated here about a year ago from Trenton, NJ, where he and his band, The Hurricanes, attracted an enthusiastic following.

In a relatively short amount of time, he's found a number of local Sarasota musicians whose chops resonate with his style of jazz and blues playing. He's now booked for several upcoming Sunday evenings at the Legacy Grille, an outdoor sports bar just south of Stickney Point on S. Tamiami Trail opposite the Gulf Gate neighborhood.

Tonight we spent a breezy hour listening to Ron Kraemer's duo (with Mark Neuenschwander on upright bass) performing at Legacy Grille. The setting was quite pleasant given its proximity to busy Tamiami Trail, and we even enjoyed a view of the setting sun over Siesta Key.

Kraemer's understated stage presence belies impressive instrumental mastery as he runs up and down the neck of his jazz guitar with focus and fluidity. Towards the end of several hard-driving songs, he pulls back and re-addresses the guitar with a light and subtle touch, creating a surprising, gentle landing. Hard to describe, you'll just have to head down to Legacy Grille next Sunday from 6:30 to 9:30PM and listen for yourselves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Acoustically Speaking: Frankie & Bain

I've been thinking about what makes me smile whenever I see Frankie Lombardi and Bain Beakley perform in their duo, Acoustically Speaking, on the Sarasota live music scene. Here are some musings taken from recent sightings at Sarasota Vineyard on Saturday night; at the Siesta Key Farmers Market last Sunday morning; and at The Hub Baja Grille on Siesta Key last evening.

For one thing, it's always fascinating to see/hear "multi-instrumentalism" in action. While Frankie Lombardi is a world-class drummer (see previous posts in this blog about his inspiring wizardry on the skins), in Acoustically Speaking he gets to showcase an entirely different set of skills: his passionate vocals and soulful guitar leads. He's also an accomplished songwriter and producer as is evident on his CD "Shank Songs". One tune that slays me every time is the exquisite "Smile":

In the case of Bain, even when he's crooning a heartbreaker of a love song -- and he packs a number of those in his set list -- he projects such cheerful, playful energy onstage that it almost doesn't matter what the lyrics are, it's simply uplifting to listen to him project his distinctive powerful vocals across the room.

It's a curious phenomenon, two friendly, happy guys singing about love's ups and many downs without a trace of chip on either shoulder. Their communication musically is fluid, as they riff off each other, weaving harmonies and lead breaks through each song.

And you'd think seeing them play three days in a row might make for Bain/Frankie fatigue, but it doesn't. It's always fun, and they're a welcome addition to Sarasota nightlife in a Season that saw fewer gigs by bands that rocked the house last year.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mark Serio Band at Mattison's City Grille

There was lots of funkification going on tonight at Mattison's City Grille in downtown Sarasota. The Mark Serio Band had the crowd jumping and seriously (heh heh) crowding the dance floor . . . in a good way.

Playing covers by the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, and other funk and classic rock favorites, Mark Serio's lead guitar riffs were smooth and smokin'.

We'll be returning to hear more and dance the night away the next time they appear downtown.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bain Beakley at Siesta Sunday Market

It's downright unnatural for a musician, for a singer, to have to belt out tunes with enthusiasm first thing in the morning. And even more unexpected on a Sunday morning. But a gig's a gig, and the Siesta Farmers Market, which takes place every Sunday from 8AM to 1PM in the Davidson's parking lot in Siesta Village, has lately been graced by the resonant vocals and guitar work of Bain Beakley.

Music has become a key ingredient in creating mood and energy among market shoppers and vendors, and Bain is one of Sarasota's increasingly visible and popular songsters.

You can also see Bain Beakley as a duo with Frankie Lombardi, called Acoustically Speaking, and in the Michael Kach Group. More on those groups in another post.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Florida Mountain Boys at Old Packinghouse Cafe

They're billed as a bluegrass band, but the Florida Mountain Boys show at the Old Packinghouse Cafe in Sarasota last week was much more diverse melodically than traditional bluegrass.

The Boys were in fine form, and the set list included some originals, along with well-blended harmonies and spirited instrumental riffs on fiddle, banjo, and guitar. The harmonies were