Cafe hosts blues, soul rock ‘n roll
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).