Cafe hosts blues, soul rock ‘n roll

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - RICHARD MAYS

A pre­cur­sor to the 50th Manawatu In­ter­na­tional Jazz and Blues Fes­ti­val over Queen’s Birth­day Week­end, sees a lively con­cert rock­ing Palmer­ston North’s Cafe´ Royale on Fri­day night.

Welling­ton-based Laura Collins and the Back Porch Blues Band, fea­tur­ing the leg­endary Wayne Ma­son on boo­gie pi­ano, are bring­ing a night of bal­lads and blues to the Square Edge joint.

Collins, who grew up in Palmer­ston North, en­joys play­ing back in her home­town.

‘‘Blues comes straight from the heart and that’s just how I like it, it’s ac­ces­si­ble, joy­ful, heart-full mu­sic, and not only that it makes me want to move – what’s not to like?’’ Collins said.

A dy­namic and en­gag­ing front woman Collins said there will no doubt be some Nina Si­mone and a trib­ute to the late Etta James in­cluded in the reper­toire.

Be­hind Collins is a ‘‘kick-ass’’ band, which has just re­leased the record­ing Live at VK’s, a show­case of the band in full flight, with its highly re­garded and ex­pe­ri­enced musicians.

‘‘Wayne Ma­son is not only a well-known singer and song­writer, he’s also one hell of a fine boo­gie pi­ano player. Think Fats Domino, think Dr John, think Pro­fes­sor Long­hair and you’ll be in the right honky tonk.’’

The former mem­ber of 60s Kiwi band The Fourmyla as well as The War­ratahs among others, Ma­son is joined on up­right bass by fel­low mu­sic vet­eran Ge­orge Bar­ris who has sem­i­nal Kiwi band High­way in his play­ing pedi­gree.

On guitar is John O’Con­nor who has played with ev­ery­one some­where along the way, from BB King to Kiri Te Kanawa, with Pete Cogswell on the ‘back porch’ drums. The combo set up Collins said is great for a venue such as Cafe Royale.

‘‘Hav­ing a pulled back rhythm sec­tion just al­lows us to be lower vol­ume and bring a re­ally warm vo­cal-led sound. We’ll still make you want to get up and dance, though.’’

There are din­ner and show op­tions for Laura Collins and the Back Porch Blues Band with book­ings on 354 7479.

Laura Collins out front of the Back Porch Blues Band with Wayne Ma­son (keys)and Peter Cogswell (drums).

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