I’m feeling blue … clear blue skies, calm blue water at the beach and a bit of rhythm & blues; or rather that’s what I’m going to be feeling this weekend. Although this weekend kicks off the Sarasota Film Festival, if you’re not much of a film buff or are looking for something to do in between flicks, I recommend checking out a little live music and some of our local talent.
One of my favorite things about living on the Suncoast, specifically Sarasota, is the awesome community of musicians and entertainers who share their talents at coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. I love good food paired with authentic, heartfelt music served up in a low-key vibe that is accessible and affordable.
FRIDAY, APRIL 4
Start your weekend at Pastry Art on Main Street with Singer/songwriter Joe Bonfiglio (Joe B.). Joe B. is by far one of my favorite singers in Sarasota. He has a booming voice that really does not need any amplification, which makes it easy to enjoy his bluesy-folk, indie pop sound. It’s no surprise that Joe B is ranked #1 in Sarasota on Reverb Nation; He’s not only an extremely gifted artist but he’s also just an all around great guy. Show 7-10p, no cover.
If sexy, sultry, gutsy Blues is more your flavor you must get a taste of Ari and the Alibis at the 5 o’clock Club on Hillview Avenue. Arielleh “Ari” McManus really knows how to take a cover song and make it her own concoction of heart and soul with a grand dose of raw talent tossed in. Her blend of blues, funk and Latin jazz will get your heart pumping and your feet moving. Show 10 p.m.-2 a.m., no cover.
SATURDAY, APRIL 5
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Sarasota Farmers Market by grabbing lunch at Mattison’s City Grille, where you can experience the insanely talented Bryan Spainhower work out his acoustic and electric guitar chops with a selection of Nuevo Flamenco, jazz, rock, fusion and country music. Show 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., no cover.
Get yourself some “Blues Baptized Soul” with Lady Kat & The Howlin’ Doggs at Ocean Blues. You’d never know that Lady Kat was a blues born again child of the Amish when you hear her sing R&B covers. There’s a twinge of Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris that resonates in her sound, making her voice captivating and inspirational at the same time. Show 10 p.m., no cover.
SUNDAY, APRIL 6
If you’ve got a hankering for some authentic Southern comfort food and spirituals, you’ll enjoy the Gospel Brunch at the Blue Rooster with AJ and the Automatics. You don’t need to be a church-goer to find some saving grace in a great big ’ol heaping serving of feel good music and great food. Brunch: $24.95 for adults; $12 for kids 12 and under; FREE for five and under. Two seatings: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., reservations highly recommended.
Do you fancy yourself an entertainer just looking for an opportunity to sing out? Take a scenic drive to Bradenton's Banana Cabana for an open mic hosted by Rick Quimby. Feel free to grab one of the loner guitars or be real bold and sing a cappella, I dare ya. Rick makes everyone feel at home and always does a great job of getting the show going with his own performance of pop, blues and indie-folk tunes. Show 3-6 p.m., no cover.
There are so many great locations around the Suncoast to experience local live music. Do you have a favorite eatery that features live music or a local band/musician that you fan? Share the love! Add your picks in the comments section of this post or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “My favorite restaurant with live music.”