Story by Michelle McChristie, Photos by Darren McChristie

Only a voice as powerful and soulful as Laura Rain’s can fill a venue as spacious as the Rockhouse. Rain stormed into town on November 25 accompanied by her three-piece band, the Caesars. The group hails from Motor City and their gig for the Thunder Bay Blues Society was their first in Thunder Bay.

Rain’s knockout stage act covers the full range of emotions—love, anger, longing, hate, joy, sadness, and lust. Backing her up for this show was Tony DiCello on drums, Jim Alfredson on keyboards, including left-hand bass, and her husband, co-writer, and producer George Friend on guitar. The chemistry between Rain and Friend definitely adds to the performance and gives Rain an outlet for her sexual energy. Decked out in a very short romper with fishnet stockings, boots, big hair, and cat eye glasses, she has all of the ingredients of a true diva.

Make no mistake, Rain’s stage act in no way detracts from her talent or that of her band. She is a classically-trained soprano who conjures musical memories of Amy Winehouse and Aretha Franklin. Friend switches between guitar styles with remarkable ease and Alfredson is nothing short of mesmerizing. Tucked away at the back of the stage, DiCello seems unassuming, but he has some serious chops and a few signature moves that add to the band’s stage appeal. Laura Rain and the Caesars are the real deal.

Truthfully, it comes as no surprise that a band hand-picked by the Blues Society would be anything else than extraordinary. After eighteen years, they know a thing or two about what TBay blues fans want (or need) to hear. If you’ve never been to one of their concerts, you owe it to yourself to check it out whether you are a blues aficionado or not. You can always count on two things: the music will be move you and you’ll never be alone on the dance floor.