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Local rockers We the Kings home for holidays

Bradenton pop-rock band We the Kings, which received a platinum record last month commemorating more than a million sales of the single “Check Yes Juliet,” are returning home for the holidays.

They will spend time with friends and family.

Plus a film crew and a couple thousand fans.

We the Kings perform Thursday at The Hall in Palmetto. It’s no regular gig. The fourth annual “A Merry 941 Christmas” show will be videotaped for the band’s debut DVD.

“It’s almost sold out,” singer/guitarist Travis Clark said from New York City Tuesday. “We had to get the venue to expand the capacity to 2,000 instead of 1,500.”

The DVD will be a combination of the concert and documentary footage chronicling the 48 hours leading up to the show. In honor of Bradenton’s area code, filming started at 9:41 p.m. Tuesday at the homes of Clark’s band mates: guitarist Hunter Thomsen, Hunter’s younger brother, bassist Drew Thomsen and drummer Danny Duncan.

Clark and his impressive mane of red hair arrive at Sarasota-Bradenton from New York City on JetBlue Flight 345 at 10:57 a.m. today.

Expect some of the musician’s nearly 100,000 Twitter followers and readers of his popular blog to be there.

The camera crew will be present as well.

After leaving the airport, Clark plans to drop off luggage at his home in Northwest Bradenton. Next, he’ll travel 10 blocks and stop by Mom and Dad’s house to retrieve his chihuahua Elvis, who ripped up some leather couches and has since been renamed Elvis Scissorhands.

“I have separation anxiety.” Clark joked about living so close to his parents. “Plus, we’re on the road so much I’m never home anyway.”

We the Kings will hold a band meeting this afternoon to strategize filming of the hometown show. And discuss some “tricks to pull out,” Clark said.

Tonight platinum-selling We the Kings’ schedule calls for karaoke -- once again, with a camera crew documenting -- at an as-yet-undisclosed local establishment.

“We will be warming up for the show,” Clark said.

We the Kings aim to take the stage at precisely 9:41 p.m. Thursday. Expect attendees to sing along to hits such as “Check Yes Juliet,” “Secret Valentine,” “We’ll Be a Dream” and the Bradenton love-letter “This Is Our Town.” A cover of the Jimmy Eat World emo classic “The Middle” should be another guaranteed crowd pleaser.

“One of the reasons I want to do it is because Jimmy Eat World is hands down my favorite band,” Clark said. “We were thinking we might do a Christmas song but they’re so overplayed in stores right now we’ll probably skip any Christmas music.”

But there still might be a surprise Thursday.

Clark called from New York this week because he has been there “on and off” for the past month working on We the Kings’ third album. He hopes to see it released by spring 2011.

“The new record goes back to our roots and we’re writing songs that make people go crazy and have a blast,” Clark said. “It’s music to blast out of your car stereo. We might have one or two softer songs on it but the majority will be upbeat.”

The songwriter sounded most excited about the track “Party, Fun, Love and Radio,” which might be the album’s first single.

“I started writing it and eventually it was so catchy instead of making it a typical song, I just put together all these musical hooks,” Clark said. “The whole thing is a lot like “Check Yes Juliet.” It’s real radio friendly and a good way to kick things off.”

As for the album’s title, Clark would like to take a good-hearted poke at teen pop phenomenon and label-mate Justin Bieber, whose first two albums are “My World” and “My World 2.0.”

“I thought we could utilize our comedic skills and call it ‘We the Kings: Our World 3.0’ with a picture of Justin Bieber on the cover,” Clark said, sounding quite serious.

Not sure the executives at Universal Music will go for that one.

“It depends on whether they get the joke or not,” he said. “We’re at least going to ask.”

As for the DVD, the band has self-financed the project and is considering it as a special giveaway to We the Kings’ dedicated fan base.

“We just want to show all the preparation that goes into putting on a concert, us partying, practicing, playing the show and then the aftermath,” Clark said. “It’s a climax to one of the biggest years we’ve had as a band and something really special to us.”

Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at (941) 745-7057. Visit his blog, Buzz Worthy, at

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