Rick Estrin and the Nightcats play the Queen’s on Nov. 27. (Photo courtesy Rachel Kumar)

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats play the Queen’s on Nov. 27. (Photo courtesy Rachel Kumar)

Bay Area blues band to play the Queen’s in Nanaimo

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats finally able to tour in support of 2019 album, ‘Contemporary’

It wasn’t long after Rick Estrin and the Nightcats released their last album that the world shut down due to COVID-19.

The San Francisco Bay-area blues musicians are now picking up where they left off and on Nov. 27 their return to the road takes them up the coast for a show at the Queen’s in Nanaimo.

Estrin, the group’s singer and harmonica player, said it feels good to be travelling again, especially since “nobody knew what was going to happen.”

“We’re all having a great time being back together and performing again,” he said.

Now that the band is able to tour again, Estrin said they’re finally getting the chance to perform music from their new album, Contemporary, for live audiences for the first time. Estrin said it was a fun record to make.

“It has a great groove and Contemporary, the song, is pretty tongue-in-cheek, but in truth the grooves and stuff on the record are a little more modern, probably, than anything we’ve done before,” he said. “But it still felt totally natural.”

Estrin credits his band mates for transforming his songs from their “primitive” forms to the finished versions heard on the album.

“I’ll show them to the guys and they can somehow glean from that what I’m looking for and then add to that,” he said. “And it’s really cool because generally that’s really great and it’s beyond what I imagined.”

With the world starting to open up, Estrin and the Nightcats have so far been able to take their show across the United States and Europe. Estrin likened the experience of being unable to play for a year and a half to being stuck in a hotel while on tour with multiple days off.

“I caught up on all the television that I missed during the previous 30 years on the road and I found out I didn’t miss much,” he said. “And I tried to maintain my health and take care of myself so that I could stick around long enough to see what happened, because it was a weird time.”

WHAT’S ON … Rick Estrin and the Nightcats play the Queen’s, 34 Victoria Cres., on Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets $38, available from the Nanaimo Blues Society.


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