This week, we enter May and a lengthy new lineup of local events, but not before we first close out April with a slew of noteworthy concerts. As is often the case in Sarasota and Bradenton, it’s a good week to be a blues fan, with Grammy-nominated and Blues Music Award-winning artists among those visiting our area.
Not feeling the blues? Don’t worry, as there are concerts in numerous other genres too, with this week’s lineup featuring an international flair with acts including a mariachi band teaming up with an orchestra, a Latin Grammy-nominated Cuban musician, and a soul group fronted by a first-generation Syrian-American. Here are this week’s highlights. Event details are subject to change.
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Shortly before this year’s Blues Music Awards, where he’s up for two awards, South Florida blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Albert Castiglia returns to Bradenton restaurant and music venue Birdrock Taco Shack. Castiglia is nominated for Blues Rock Artist and Blues Rock Album for his 2022 full-length “I Got Love,” categories he previously won last year and in 2020, respectively. Before his solo career, Castiglia had a stint touring with blues legend Junior Wells as his lead guitarist until Wells’ death in 1998, and he currently plays as a duo with fellow blues-rock favorite Mike Zito. Rick Berthod opens the show. 6:30 p.m. Friday; Birdrock Taco Shack, 1213 13th Ave. W., Bradenton; $20 advance, $25 day of; 941-545-9966; facebook.com/birdrocktaco
NocheUnidos, a concert bringing together the mariachi band Mariachi Cobre and the 72-piece Venice Symphony, returns for a second year to Van Wezel. Mariachi Cobre has been a group for 52 years and is known for its performances at Epcot in Disney World, where they’ve performed since 1982. Leading them and the Venice Symphony will be Ismael Sandoval, a first-generation Mexican immigrant who moved to the U.S. at age 3 and currently serves as the assistant conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera. The event benefits Sarasota-Manatee Hispanic/Latino community organization UnidosNow. 7:30 p.m. Friday; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $35-$107; 941-263-6799; vanwezel.org
Big Al and the Heavyweights
Birdrock Taco Shack’s sister restaurant and venue Cottonmouth, in the same Village of the Arts neighborhood, welcomes Louisiana blues band Big Al and the Heavyweights on Friday. The group is led by “Big Al” Lauro, who played in the ’90s with Warren Haynes of The Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule fame as the Unknown Blues Band. Big Al and the Heavyweights often pays tribute to their Louisiana home on their albums, including tracks like “Cajun Roux” and “Hey, Hey Mardi Gras,” and most recently released last year’s full-length “Love One Another.” 7 p.m. Friday; Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen, 1114 12th St. W., Bradenton; $10 advance, $15 day of; 941-243-3735; facebook.com/cottonmouthsoul
Cottonmouth’s live music lineup this weekend also include blues pianist and singer-songwriter Victor Wainwright. The musician’s numerous accolades include a Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy nomination for the 2018 full-length “Victor Wainwright and the Train,” five Pinetop Perkins Piano Player Blues Music Awards, and 2016 Blues Music Award wins in the B.B. King Entertainer and Band of the Year categories as well. Wainwright, who released his latest album “Memphis Loud” in 2020, also plays in the supergroup Southern Hospitality with Floridian blues favorites Damon Fowler and J.P. Soars. 7 p.m. Saturday; Cottonmouth Southern Soul Kitchen, 1114 12th St. W., Bradenton; $30 advance, $40 day of (sold out); 941-243-3735; facebook.com/cottonmouthsoul
Cuban-born, Sarasota-based musician Renesito Avich, who is known for playing the Cuban-originating tres and earned a Latin Grammy nomination last year, makes his return to Fogartyville this weekend. Avich earned his Latin Grammy nod in the Best Traditional Tropical Album category for last year’s full-length “Café con Cariño,” his follow-up to 2018’s “A Solo,” which he held a release party for at Fogartyville. Avich will perform with a quartet and play both Cuban classics and original compositions at this show, according to his website. 7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show Saturday; Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota; $30, $26 members (sold out as of press time); 941-894-6469; fogartyville.org
J.P. Soars and the Red Hots
South Florida guitarist and singer-songwriter J.P. Soars and his band the Red Hots visit Sarasota brewery and venue Big Top Brewing Company this weekend for its Blues & Brews Sunday concert series. The group received four Blues Music Awards nominations last year including Band of the Year, B.B. King Entertainer and Instrumentalist — Guitar for Soars, and Instrumentalist — Drums for bandmate Chris Peet. Soars most recently released 2019’s Tab Benoit-produced “Let Go of the Reins,” his follow-up to 2018’s “Southbound I-95,” which paid tribute to the Sunshine State on tracks such as “Deep Down in Florida” and “Ain’t No Dania Beach.” 3 p.m. Sunday; Big Top Brewing Company, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota; 941-371-2939; bigtopbrewing.com
Bassel & the Supernaturals
Fogartyville’s live music lineup this weekend also includes funk/soul group Bassel & the Supernaturals. The band describes its sound as “Syrian Heart. Midwest Soul,” based in Chicago and inspired by soul legend Otis Redding, and frontman Bassel Almadani a first-generation Syrian-American who incorporates his experience and Syria into their lyrics. The group most recently released 2020’s “Smoke & Mirrors” and has performed at venues including South by Southwest, where in 2017 they played a ContraBanned: #MusicUnites Showcase featuring artists from areas affected by the former travel ban. 6:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. show Sunday; Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota; $24, $20 members, $12 students ages 13 and up; 941-894-6469; fogartyville.org
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