PORT HARDY—During the North Island Concert Society’s first 2012-13 event last month, the earth moved.
Barring another earthquake this weekend, all the moving at the Civic Centre this weekend is likely to be driven by the Powder Blues.
The legendary blues/jazz rockers, who played arenas internationally while rattling off a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s, are still going strong and bring their high-energy showmanship to the centre for a 7:30 p.m. show Saturday.
Recognizable hits like Doin’ it Right (on the Wrong Side of Town) and Boppin’ with the Blues are among the staples the audience is likely to hear in a swinging evening of music.
The band’s lineup has undergone a series of changes since its formation in the late 1970s, but founder, songwriter and guitar-slinging frontman Tom Lavin remains as the driving force behind the group and the face in front of its distinctive look and sound. He is backed by a full rhythm section, including horns, that allows the group to explore a wide range of swing, blues, R&B and jazz.
The current group includes Mike Kalanj on keyboards and vocals, Tony Marryatt on bass, Jerry Cook on tenor sax, Vince Mai on trumpet and Daryl Bennett on drums.
All are veteran pros, as versed in the Powder Blues renown stage showmanship as they are at improvisation.
After forming in the late 1970, Powder Blues played as a club band in Vancouver’s Gaslight district before exploding onto the international scene with the 1980 release of its debut album, Uncut.
The disc spawned four top-10 hits and a North American tour, and in 1981 earned the group the Juno Award for Best New Group.
The album went double platinum and the follow-up release, Thirsty Ears, also went platinum and featured another top-five single.
The group went on to release five albums in the decade while maintaining a heavy touring load in North America and overseas, including a major tour of Russia.
Additional awards accrued to Lavin and the group, including a W.C. Handy Award in the U.S. for Best Foreign Blues Band and Canadian Music Industry Producer of the Year for Lavin.
The group has appeared in concert with a who’s who of blues legends ranging from Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King to Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Doobie Brothers and ZZ Top.