The band started out the year in one of their traditional Hamilton venues -- the Gladstone Tavern. Some of the band members have been playing music in this room for 40 years. It was a fun night and nice to see a lot of old friends come out and enjoy the evening with us.It was saxophone player night at 'the Glad'. Below, is the band's first sax player, Morris Sardo and his g/f Linda. Top right is Darcy Hepner, back in town from a very successful few years with Blood, Sweat & Tears, with band saxophonist, Tom Forsyth. Above left is Ronnie Lodge, lead singer/bass player for local group, Ronnie & the Rockets, back on stage singing for the first time since some rather serious medical problems.As always, it was an enjoyable night at the Gladstone.
The Powerhouse Horns
Following the band's show at Brock University for the Haitian Relief Benefit, the band was on the road the following week for a couple of shows with Dave Battah and his 'Tonight's the Night' tribute to Rod Stewart. The first show was mid-week down in Peterborough, ON for an evening show at Kawartha Downs.Tony couldn't join us for these shows so we had our good friend Suzanne O (pictured left) filling in with us on keyboard and vocals. Suzanne's worked with us before and, as we've learned to expect from her, did an excellent job.It was one of those shows with a lot to do both before and during the show. We'd like to thank our friend Mike Maguire for sending us the picture to the right, taken during the band's set-up and soundcheck.
Following a mid-week show at Kawartha Downs, Dave Battah and Powerhouse were off a few days later for the weekend at what is becoming one the band's favourite U.S. dates at the Bay Mills Casino on the southern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan, U.S.A. As they've done in their previous three trips up to Bay Mills, they drove up Friday, played two shows on Saturday night and came home on Sunday. And with the unseasonably warm winter this year, the drives up and back were both pleasant and event-free. There were two one-hour shows this evening, both fully sold-out. The band, Powerhouse, opened the night to a rather sedate, seated, dinner crowd. This changed rather quickly, though, when Dave Battah took the stage as 'Rod' and headed out into the crowd.
Joining us on this trip were Glenn Higgins, one of the band's 'regulars' on saxophone, Suzanne O on keyboards and vocals and our resident 'Maggie May' mandolin player.
All that remained was to decide what to do about tomorrow's hockey game. It was now 11 p.m. and Canada and the U.S. were playing for Olympic Hockey Gold tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. and there was no way that we were going to miss it. The problem was ... if we left Bay Mills at our usual time next morning, it would put nine Canadian musicians in a roadside bar somewhere in the middle of Michigan trying to watch a Canada-U.S. hockey game.It didn't take a lot of band discussion to realize that this might not be such a good idea. Suzanne voted for anything that didn't involve getting up before noon, and Dave ... well ... he appeared to agree with Suzanne. So it was decided. One truck would head out early (6 a.m. early) and try to make it home and the second truck would head out later and try for inside the Canadian border. The early truck made it home for the game and the later truck watched the game in Sarnia, just inside the Canadian border. Yes indeed, an excellent week with Dave Battah and his Rod Stewart show.
Back home again, the band was at a very crowded Hamilton Copps Coliseum for opening night of the the 5th Annual Food & Drink Festival. Between sampling the culinary treats -- and there were many -- a packed house, including many friends stopping by for our home-town show and two rather long shows, it was a full and excellent evening for the band.The band may have looked small on the floor of the crowded arena (set up underneath the two lit sign-boards in the distance) but we tried to make sure we didn't sound small. Joining us this evening on saxophone this evening was our old friend, Paul Augustyn (pictured above). It's always a pleasure to do a show with Paul, one of the band's original members.
Excellent crowd and a fabulous night for Powerhouse at Copps Coliseum at the Hamilton Food & Drink Fest.
After a couple of local stops at the Gladstone Tavern and the Grand Opening of Stonewall's Restaurant in Hamilton, May 24th weekend saw the band playing at a rather 'interesting' venue -- the Four Seasons Nudist Resort in Freelton, Ontario. This resort has been going for many, many years now -- right back to when a nudist resort was maybe not as well accepted in the scenic Halton Hills area of Ontario.I arriived at the resort early and linked up with Tom, the new owner (of a few months) and he took me on a short tour around the grounds and told me of the many plans that he had in store for his new property. He planned a number of improvements around the waterfront area over the coming months and, probably of interest to the general public, the resort was now to be advertised as 'clothing optional', rather than strictly nudist. As one would expect, pictures of residents and visitors at the resort was prohibited, but I did manage to snap some pics of the grounds and the band at one point in the evening.The resort was beautiful, with a definite 'back to nature' feel. Directly behind the main building on an elevated area sat the inground pool and various outdoor patio areas. Down the hill behind this, the property panned out into a waterfront area around a spring fed pond.The Four Seasons Resort caters to weekend visitors and a number of resort regulars who have full-time living status on the property. To the left, the outdoor pool and a major spring that feeds the pond behind the main building. I didn't walk back through the forest road to see some of the other homes as, being a nudist resort, personal privacy was a major consideration here.There was actually a good crowd turnout to see the band this night, but because of the picture restrictions on the property, I had to snap the pic to the right at a time when there was no one directly in front of the band. It was a rather unique room too, as a large dance floor area was lowered over the indoor pool directly below where we played. It was a good evening for the band at a very unique venue.
Powerhouse closed out the late spring of 2010 at a rather opulent location in downtown St. Catharines, ON. – Rodman Hall, a mid-19th century building with a rich local history. In 1960, Rodman Hall was incorporated as the Rodman Hall Arts Centre – now with an affiliation to Brock University. In June of this year, Rodman Hall held their 50th Anniversary and Powerhouse was pleased to play at the evening festivities. Advertised as ModRod, the event had a distinct 60's feel as Tiny Bill Cody filled in the afternoon's portion of the show. The event was Emceed by Canadian singer/songwriter, Marc Jordan – himself, a Brock graduate.With the grounds bordering against the Twelve Mile Creek ravine, Rodman Hall was truly gorgeous, with lush gardens and beautifully sculptured landscaping surrounding the main building. Most of us took the time to walk the grounds while listening to Tiny Bill Cody finish his last show of the afternoon.Before Powerhouse took the stage for their evening shows, emcee for the event, Marc Jordan (pictured above from his website at www.marcjordan.com/) gave a fairly lengthy speech about the Canadian arts community and his early years at Brock University. Marc, a Brock graduate and a member of the Canadian artistic scene for decades was the perfect spokesperson for the Hall's 50th Anniversary. He's been making and producing records since the mid 70's. His songwriting credits span his own recordings plus those written for artists like Rod Stewart, Cher, Josh Groban, Natalie Cole and many more. His film credits involve work with Dudley Moore and Jeff Bridges, among others. Currently he's working on the new movie: "Score: A Hockey Move" with Olivia Newton-John. His Powerhouse connections are firstly with Tony Aquino, our keyboardist who spent a SOCAN-sponsored weekend singer/songwriter conference with Marc in the late 90's. And our drummer, Steve Negus, engineered and was the drummer for one of Marc's latest releases: "Lunch at Allen's" – a collaboration with fellow Canadian artists, Ian Thomas and Murray McLaughlin. It was 'old home' week for a couple of our band members as others met Marc for the first time.And, of course, there was the show – a couple of sets of Powerhouse 60's music to fit the 'Mod Rod' them of the day, played on the back lawn of the gorgeous Rodman Hall grounds. It was an enjoyable evening, to be sure.
On January 12, 2010, a devasting earthquake hit the island country of Haiti, flattening parts of many citites and leaving an estimated 3 million people in need of aid. As is often the case with global disasters, musicians and bands around the Southern Ontario area of Canada pooled their talents over the coming weeks in various benefits organized to help the Haitian country. Powerhouse played their part on a Wednesday night in February at the 'Help for Haiti Benefit Concert', presented by Classic Rock FM 91.7 Radio and held at the Sean O'Sullivan Theatre at Brock University.As bad luck would have it, on February 17, the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario was hit by one of the few snowstorms of the winter season. The crowd, although less than desired, did grow to half-fill the theatre through the evening and were treated to a number of excellent Niagara-area musicians and bands.
2010 was a good year to be Canadian. The great success of the Vancouver Winter Olympics and Canada’s gold medal wins in ice hockey were something most folks won’t soon forget. The band rushed home on a Sunday from a show in northern Michigan the night before to be sure to watch the men’s gold medal game on native soil. So when Canada Day rolled around at the beginning of July we were ready to celebrate with the rest of the country.It would be tough to top last year’s Canada Day show in Richmond Hill, but as it turned out, the July 1st Canada Day long weekend was just the beginning of an excellent month for the Powerhouse Band. We traveled from the Gatineau Hills in Quebec to the cornfields of Iowa, with a number of stops in between. But first up was the July 1st long weekend and two shows in the Lac Leamy Casino in Gatineau, Quebec – right across the river from Ottawa. Our Chicago Transit and Rod Stewart shows were booked to play the two nights following Canada Day so many of the band members took advantage of the location and the long weekend and made a working weekend/holiday out of the shows. Some of us headed out a day early to watch Canada’s 143th Birthday festivities in the nation’s capital. Others stayed later in the weekend, taking the extra time to drive home through the northern part of the province. Still others stayed in the area for a few days, going directly to Brockville for our mid-week shows in their theatre next week.
If there’s one thing that can be said for Canada’s capital city – it’s that it does like to dress up for the country’s birthday. Flags and red & white were everywhere. And there was a lot happening on Ottawa on July 1st this year.Ottawa always has lots of street craftsmen throughout the summer. The city also has a very strong 'Blues' scene and the annual Blues Festival brought in some excellent acts this year. To the left, Sandy stands with the rather odd 'flame in the fountain' display while above, John Is with a beautifully-done recently-christened, life-size bronze statue of Canada's late, great jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson.
A national birthday party wouldn't quite seem complete without the R.C.M.P. on horseback. Today they had the special task of escorting the city's special guests -- Prince Philp and Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Once the setting sun cast its long shadows across the beautiful architecture on Parliament Hill and dipped below the horizon, it was time to party as the bands and the music took to the various stages found throughout the city.
The rest of the band rolled in next day and by 4 p.m. it was time for sound check. The Theatre venue was in its own building, a separate area from the casino and was done up in the traditional theatre style -- flat black everywhere, full dinner seating on the spacious main floor, a large elevated balcony spanning the back of room, and a HUGE stage area. The venue was definitely set up to accomodate almost any act that would be passing through.
Above (from left to right) -- the Benedictus Family: Mike, Mike Jr. and Karen and our drummer Steve behind the ladder.
Phil in a quiet moment
There was just enough time left to grab a bite to eat and walk around the beautiful grounds of the Casino. They have done a beautiful job of the landscaping here. Set right against the lake, there was plenty of boating facilities, swimming, summer patio bars nestled in the trees and plenty of greenery and walkways everywhere. To the right, Joanne looks out over the lake from the walkway behind the casino.
This evening’s audience was a seated dinner crowd so pics of the band had to come from the wings. But the nearly full house seemed to really enjoy the band's Chicago Transit Tribute Show. Tomorrow night we'd be back again with Dave Battah and his Rod Stewart Tribute Show.
The HornsNote: they only appear to be napping.
The Rhythm Section
One of other benefits of traveling around the country playing music is that you get to see the country when you're not playing your music. Soundcheck on the second day wasn't until later in the afternoon, so most of the band scattered for the day to see a very beautiful part of Canada. Some went to Gatineau Park and the Lake Meech area and others headed due north into the highlands to Saint-Anne-du-Lac. It's not really necessary to give explanations to the pictures, above right -- just click on the thumbnails to enlarge. Mostly, the morning and afternoon before our everning Rod Stewart show was about visual stimualation. The day was a pleasant break between shows. By late afternoon, everyone headed back to the theatre for soundcheck, then a break for dinner, then the show.After a great day driving around the Quebec countryside, it felt good to play some music, and with Dave Battah front and centre, it's always a good night of music. The full house really enjoyed the show. Apparently, Les Quebecois enjoy a Rod Stewart show as much as Les Anglaises.
All that remained of this weekend was the drive home -- some of the band members stopping off in Ottawa the next morning before taking a Sunday drive through some of the more gorgeous countryside of Southern Ontario.