Written by Jim Bille
ImageThe Blasters are on the road and they stopped in at the Continental Club in Houston on Valentine’s Day after playing the Austin Continental the night before to perform before a packed Houston house.

High energy rock-a-billy blues has always been the hallmark sound of this West Coast group that brothers Phil and Dave Alvin formed 35 years ago in Downey, CA. After all this time they still deliver that sound with the same intensity and vigor that sets the standard for this type of music.  

Phil Alvin, who was just recently nominated for a Grammy for best Blues Album along with his brother Dave for their collaboration on Common Ground, an album of Big Bill Broonzey music, was in fine animated form Saturday night with his controlled screaming vocals ringing loud and clear along with his ever present ear to ear grin.

Original band veterans John Bazz on bass guitar and Bill Bateman on drums kept the rhythm churning at a forever frantic and non-stop pace.

Although Dave Alvin left the Blasters a number of years ago the group has not missed a guitar riff since by incorporating journeyman blues guitarist Keith Wyatt who has now played with the band for close to twenty years.  Wyatt is featured on the last two Blasters albums 4-11-44 and Fun on Saturday Night.  

Original Blasters keyboardist Gene Taylor sat in at their Austin performance the night before but unfortunately did not make it to the Houston show. 

ImageNevertheless, Alvin and company’s first song filled the cramped dance floor with excited fans by opening the set with one of the many Blaster’s signature songs “American Music”. The front of the stage was shoulder to shoulder from that point on as the band musically whipped the audience into a sweaty frenzy and held the crowd spellbound the rest of the night.

A couple of numbers from the band’s latest release, Fun on Saturday Night were performed this evening including the title track but the music that really got the packed house jumpin’ were classic tunes like “I’m Shakin”, “Good bye Baby So Long”, “One Red Rose” and “Marie Marie”.

Other songs featured were “One Bad Stud”, “Dark Night”, “Blue Shadows”, “Trouble Bound”, “Border Radio” and “Daddy Rolling Stone”. The Jerry Lee Lewis penned, ” High School Confidential” was the last encore number and had the packed Continental Club bouncing high and hard.

The Blasters make it to Houston every year or so and if you crave a shot of fast paced and revved up blues you need to check them out.  Not sure if they have another 35 years in them…but if they do I’m sure they will be delivering the same high energy show to packed venues of excited fans.