Does Brandon have a music scene?
Years before tbt* came along, back when a blog was just a Web Log, your humble Soundcheck editor worked out in east Hillsbourgh County, in the St. Pete Times' Brandon and South Shore bureau. It was a wonderful place, full of carnies and strawberry farms and golf pimped-out golf carts, and I once wrote a story about the area's love of country and bluegrass music.
But it's been a while since I've been a regular at any of my old Brandon haunts. So I'll put the question to you guys: Does Brandon have a local music scene?
Today's Brandon & South Shore Times has a nice package of stories today about the arts in east Hillsborough. One is about a proposal to build a peforming arts center in Ruskin. Another profiles the Brandon Repertoire Chorale, above, one of east Hillsborough's only adult community chorales. Ernest Hooper examines the overall growth of the arts in the Brandon area. And here's a roundup of some places to partake in voice, instrumental and dance programs, if you're interested.
When it comes to local bands and concerts, though, Brandon is still a bit of a mystery.
Everyone knows (or should know) that the Florida Strawberry Festival each year brings one of the top country music lineups you could imagine to Plant City. This past year's lineup included Taylor Swift, George Jones, Jake Owen, Third Day, Travis Tritt, Randy Travis, Jessica Simpson and Jeff Foxworthy, among others.
Just west of Brandon is the Dallas Bull, one of Tampa Bay's top nightclubs, which brings in artists like Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Tracy Byrd, Jamey Johnson and Eric Church.
A couple of newer concert venues are starting to bring in some notable local punk, metal and alternative shows: The Black Coffee Gallery (113H E Brandon Blvd.) hosted Car Bomb Driver last weekend. The Porch (3920 S Kings Ave.) has hosted shows by Look Mexico, Mouse Fire and Alexander and the Grapes. Della's After Dark (608 Oakfield Drive) offers jazz at night by artis like Trio Vibe and Valerie Gillespie.
Beyond that, we're turning the question to you: What's going on these days out in east Hillsborough? Where do local bands play? And most importantly, who are the bands and musicians making noise out in Brandon these days?
Let us know, and maybe we'll spotlight them on this blog sometime in the near future. In the meantime, please weigh in on the Brandon music scene in the comments below.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*