The area music scene won’t disappoint. Offerings include nearly everything under the sun — from rock ‘n’ roll and country to opera and orchestra.
In fact, Bradenton is home to the top 40 rock/pop band We The Kings, which named itself after the city’s King Middle School, where band members attended. The area is also home to “American Idol” season seven finalist Syesha Mercado, who recently landed a leading role in the 2009-2010 national tour of “Dream Girls.”
But there’s so many other wonderful home-grown artists in an area that features a wealth of musical talents.
Many of them frequent Aces Lounge and Rasher Tierney’s, which host weekly doses of original rock, blues, folk and indie artists. Country fans can get their fill at Joyland Country Music Hall, which features local and national talent. When it comes to national acts, there’s plenty of tours that come through the area, playing in crowd-friendly venues such as St. Petersburg’s State Theatre and Tampa’s Ford Amphitheatre and the St. Pete Times Forum. This season, the Tampa Bay and Sarasota area will host many music giants such as Miley Cyrus, David Cook, Boyz II Men, Jewel, Taylor Swift, The Fray, the Ting Tings and plenty more.
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If you’re looking for wonderful food and music combined, check out the world-renowned Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa, which offers great cuisine in a funky atmosphere, sporting funk, blues and rock music. Be sure to take advantage of free music events in the area such as GetDown Downtown in downtown Bradenton, Music on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch and Mixon Fruit Farms’ Concerts in the Grove, which are held monthly and draw big crowds because of the popular local bands that play there. Other local venues include: Bradenton Cigar Bar, Peggy’s Corral, Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill, Tequila Beach, The Distillery and D. Coy Duck’s.
Music fans can also enjoy the following:
The 51st season began Oct. 30 with a fall selection “La Traviata,” which continues through Nov. 11. The winter cycle begins Feb. 6 and continues through March 21 with “Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci,” “The Magic Flute,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “Giovanna d’Arco.”
Two seasons ago, the Sarasota Opera completed its $20 million renovation of its historic opera house, restoring the theater’s early 20th century glory. The landmark began as vaudeville theater in 1926, hosting performers such as Will Rogers and Elvis Presley in its heyday. The building was brought by the Sarasota opera guild, reopening as an opera house in the 1980s where it has entertained thousands since.
Sarasota Opera House: 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota (941) 366-8450, www.sarasotaopera.org.
Returning this season is the popular Pixel Pops series — a collaboration of video and musical performances that will attract young audiences to programs such as theme nights of “Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies,” “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” and Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights.” There’s the well-attended Journeys to Genius concerts, which will showcase the works of Beethoven.
Lastly, a Family Program will be presented too in collaboration with G. WIZ, the science museum to expose a new audience to the joys of classical music. The orchestra also offers a Masterworks, Great Escapes and Chamber music series along with other programs.
Sarasota Orchestra: 709 N. Tamiami Trail. (941) 953-4252, sarasotaorchestra.org