Jumping onto the tiny stage at Flashbacks nightclub in Kelowna, The Trews stride over to their places in about 4 steps, take up their guitars and suddenly the air is filled with the familiar Rise in the Wake guitar riff compliments of John Angus MacDonald… brother Colin’s clear crisp voice cuts in for the first two lines before bass, drums and keyboards join the medley. A wild night with The Trews has begun!
What’s Fair is Fair is early in the set, and since our local radio station has been playing it a lot, the crowd is into a singalong in the chorus, and that carries over into a Trews vintage hit, So She’s Leaving, with the jam packed dance floor shouting the chorus. Up front are a group of college aged guys, so into the show that its a pleasure to watch the head banging, hair whipping, elbow tossing spectacle, even while having to duck a few elbows.. one of the fellows apologizes a few times throughout the evening for his long limbs shooting into other people’s spaces but it’s all good.
Age of Miracles is the one new song i’m waiting to hear live, and it’s early in the set list.. the hook is so apparent that again we all sing the chorus even though most are unfamiliar with it… that hook, and front man Colin MacDonald firing us up to join in with arm gestures, get the energy nearly explosive.
Colin MacDonald introduces the next song as ‘a tribute to Russell Brand – we’ve been touring the States and Uk and people finally know who The Trews are, and Russell steals our brand.. we love his ‘true news’ but dude.. couldn’t you have picked someone else’s name?!’ Piano cuts in, and to my left is Jeff Heisholt nearly hidden by the massive speaker on the cramped and crammed stage, but the spotlight shines giving him his moment as Paranoid Freak takes centre stage.
Just as we think the crowd is going to go ballistic (including some very drunk very ‘in your space’ new comers to the front row), the band tones things down just a wee bit, with perennial favourites Sing Your Heart Out, Hope and Ruin and Oblivion.
Familiar strains of fat bass notes sound, and Jack Syperek is front and centre, leaning on the ‘stripper pole’ in the middle of the stage (‘who puts a pole in the middle of the stage’ Colin had asked a few songs back, ‘maybe it’s for strippers?’) Tired of Waiting makes the set list – probably ‘the’ song which highlights the 4 band member’s amazing vocal harmonies the best.
Drum beats break the cheering of the crowd as the band moves into the next song, and although its not Sean Dalton on drums for this tour, that drum beat is mesmerizing – Under the Sun (who are the lucky ones under the sun, under the sun, we are the lucky ones.. ) LOVE this song live! its so catchy, and infectious and the crowd sings the ‘Whooah’ and ‘ohs’ to close the song out.
Highway of Heroes is introduced by Colin MacDonald as a song about the troops, and not about the war – and the lights are dimmed as acoustic guitars take the place of full on electric. Looking at guitarist John Angus MacDonald’s face, one can tell the song is special to them, all as he plays and sings with eyes closed.
Permanent Love is also a new song (from The Trews new self titled album) and although by now the rowdy crowd isn’t wanting softer songs, its welcome to hear as it’s my personal favourite off the new album. The end of the song, Colin MacDonald ask the guys in the back to not shove and push as ‘there are ladies down here in front being squashed’ asking the guys to respect that there is nowhere to go in the tiny space. The band leaves the stage, and the drummer gets a solo.. a massive solo.. while side stage is a flurry of bodies and activity and suddenly the small space is invaded not just by the 5 Trews members, but by all 6 of The Glorious Sons! Brett Emmons shares singing duties with Colin MacDonald, brothers Jay Emmons and John Angus MacDonald rip on the guitars, Jeff shares the space with Tony while each man plunks on his own keyboard, the two of them literally stacked on top of each other. The Glorious Sons bassist and drummer do duty on cowbell and maracas and the stage is alive with music, motion, and energy as they all sing first Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me, then into The Glorious Sons ‘Mama‘ then finishing with Poor Ol‘.. as the bands leave the stage.
Short encore, The Trews come back to sing Hold Me in Your Arms, and Colin has to cut the song short to try and defuse a fight in the same spot as previous.. ‘please, show some respect to the ladies in the crowd here,’ he says.. ‘quit pushing and shoving, there is nowhere to go.’ The song picks up again and the mood is a little more sober but the audience sings the chorus loud and energetically.. things are back on track until a fan in the front decides to jump on stage, hang an arm around Colin MacDonald and sing Not Ready to Go, then literally hip checks MacDonald (who’s busy with a guitar of course) and takes over the microphone encouraging the crowd to sing louder.. finally security comes to remove the over enthusiastic fan and the show closes out to cheers and whistles.. another great Trews show for the books!
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