The Northern Pikes go nostalgic

Canadian rock band celebrate 30th anniversary of debut album with live show

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of their influential debut album, Big Blue Sky, Saskatoon’s The Northern Pikes bring their rock show to Powell River on Friday, November 10. Featuring the classic lineup of guitarist Bryan Potvin, bassist Jay Semko and drummer Don Schmid, and joined by Kevin Kane from The Grapes of Wrath, the band’s stop here is part of a 27-date Canadian tour.

“If you asked any of us if we’d still be playing after all of this time, we would have said no,” says Schmid. “It was unfathomable to think about that, but here we are.”

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Known for hit songs during the 1980s and 1990s such as “She Ain’t Pretty” and “Teenland,” the group released four albums during its height of popularity and went on hiatus for seven years before returning in 2000 to record two more albums. Schmid says those not as familiar with the group may be surprised to recognize at least a few of their songs.

“It’s like most groups you go see live,” he says. “Sometimes you forget a band did a certain song as they play through their repertoire. That happens with us a lot. A lot of people don’t know the same band that recorded ‘Teenland’ did ‘Things I Do For Money,’ even though they are on the same album. They are such different songs.”

Kane, a Canadian rock icon, was added to the band’s lineup for the Big Blue Sky 30th anniversary tour. He and The Northern Pikes guitarist Potvin have been playing as a duo over the years, so it was a natural fit, according to Schmid, after original member Merl Bryck left the band.

“Kevin is an excellent vocalist and he fits in with the band,” says Schmid. “The chemistry of a band is a very hard thing to describe; it either works or it doesn’t, and there’s no rhyme or reason to it. And Kevin works with us. It’s like it was meant to be.”

According to Schmid, the anniversary tour includes two full sets by the band. The first set is the entire Big Blue Sky album in no particular order. The second set is a greatest hits from the rest of the band’s catalogue as well as a couple of new songs, some covers and Kane taking the mic for two numbers by The Grapes of Wrath.

“It’s an evening with the Northern Pikes,” says Schmid. “We just have a good time with it and the last part of the show is meant to be loose.”

The Northern Pikes
When: 7:30 pm, Friday, November 10
Where: Max Cameron Theatre
Price: $35

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