There are things about the music business that puzzle me. Artists with limited talent get pushed so hard by the labels that they find major success, while some amazingly talented musicians keep toiling in relative obscurity. And there is no greater enigma than the fact that The Trews are still playing small venues like the Petit Campus.
The Rise in the Wake tour takes its name from the opening track of their newest, self-titled album, and also served as the opening track of the show. Brothers Colin and John-Angus MacDonald, along with bass player Jack Syperek, drummer Sean Dalton and touring keyboard player Jeff Heisholt, didn’t let the small stage inhibit them; their performance’s focus is the music, with cool riffs, catchy melodies and rich harmonies and all around solid musicianship. The sound was maybe a tad loud in the beginning, and the overdriven speakers hid some of the subtleties of their performance, but it quickly got under control, and the band’s performance shone through. The Trews is one of those bands whose music takes on a new life on stage; as much as I adore their albums, their live sets are consistently among some of the best I’ve ever seen. And last night their show just got better and better as the night went on.
The band’s set covered their entire discography, and acknowledged the diversity of their musical style, from all out rockers to tender ballads like the delicate 65 Roses, played acoustically by the two brothers. Many songs were given slightly different treatments to breathe new life into them, with one particularly brilliant example being the funky intro to Poor Old Broken Hearted Me and its double time ending that recalled Guns ’n Roses’ Paradise City. Colin even attempted some french; “It’s hot as fuck in here” became “c’est chaud comme… fuck ici.” Hey, it’s a start! 🙂
Old favourites like Tired of Waiting, I Can’t Stop Laughing or Yearning were welcomed as old friends by the crowd, but newer material got an equally enthusiastic reception as the fans in attendance were obviously well acquainted with them. It’s really hard to single out highlights from such a great set.
The main set ended with a rousing version of Hold Me In Your Arms, and the band quickly came back for an encore consisting of New King from the latest album, and closing with their first hit Not Ready to Go, which got the crowd into frenzy. The crowd REALLY wasn’t ready to go, and even as the house lights came on and Wolfmother came up on the PA, the crowd still stayed in place, not ready to end such a great night of music. It took a roadie taking away the cymbals from the drum kit for the truth to register: it really was over. I’m sure I’m not the only one that could have stayed for another 90 minutes. It should be noted that Highway of Heroes was on the setlist but was skipped. Curfew? The show did end a few minutes before midnight.
There were two openers to the evening: local act The Cranes played 30 minutes of rock that was very well done, but didn’t really stand out.
Australia’s The Lazys then followed, ready to present their new self-titled album. It would be fair to say that the band exploded on stage as guitarist Mat Morris and singer Leon Harrison were all over the place (not a small feat considering the size of the stage!), head banging, jumping, singing and playing burning solos. Morris even went into the crowd at the end of the show and played a long solo on the bar, much like Joel O’Keefe of Airbourne did on Thursday (is that an Australian thing?) Harrison would later turn up during the Trews’ set to sing on Hold Me in Your Arms (a song they covered in Australia).
They did an excellent job of warming up the crowd, and probably picked up a few fans along the way. They even got a visit from Vincent Peake from Grimskunk to help them sing a song. I’m sure we’ll hear from them a lot in the near future.
It was a great night of music, one that for sure deserves a bigger following. It seems like The Trews are Canada’s best kept musical secret, but I’ll be bold and proclaim this: The Trews is one of the best Canadian rock bands. EVER.
If you need me, I’ll be sulking in the corner. Because the show’s over, man. Can’t wait til next time.
- Rise in the Wake
- What’s Fair is Fair
- So She’s Leaving
- Age of Miracles
- Paranoid Freak
- Sing Your Heart Out
- Hope and Ruin
- Where There’s Love
- Tired of Waiting
- 65 Roses
- I Can’t Stop Laughing
- Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me
- Hold Me in Your Arms
- New King
- Not Ready to Go
- Show Me What You’re Made Of
- Really Ready
- Love Your Gun
- Shake It Like You Mean It
- All Fired Up
- Howling Woman
- Hard Luck
- Punk Come N Get Me
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