Having seen The Trews in Kelowna a few nights earlier, a casual fan would ask, why go see them again? Especially with a 4 hour round trip commute? Thank God we went! What a difference a city makes! But What’s Fair is Fair (pun intended) While Friday’s show was energy packed, and the band gave everything they had (as always), Kelowna’s crowd was a little too drunk, a little too aggressive, and a little too self absorbed to have the full experience – with fights and a stage diving fan taking over the microphone, the band cut the encore short, and we missed something fantastic.
From the get go, the Kamloops crowd was there for the band, not for the booze and it showed, with people leaving the bar to crowd the dance floor as soon as the band started opening notes of Rise in the Wake. Feeding off the crowds energy early on, the band kicked it up a notch and Power of Positive Drinking became a singalong with many of the crowd raising their hands in the air into the chorus, which carried over into the powerful So She’s Leaving.
Age of Miracles was well received – all the new songs from ‘The Trews’ were! The switch up tonight were Sentimentalist and In the Morning, with MacDonald and brother John Angus doing an effect job on the song (the album features Colin and Serena Ryder duet). Sentimentalist is a decent song, but we missed hearing Permanent Love (hard to not want your favourite songs right?)
At one point of I Can’t Stop Laughing, an over exuberant fan jumped on stage – and a big burly security fellow was there in mere micro seconds, and the fellow was gone.. most people didn’t even notice the blip and the band didn’t break their stride in the least. The ending of the song saw a killer piano solo from Jeff Heisholt, with crowd clapping, faster and faster as Heisholt kept up to our pace, in fact making us keep up to his pace! The song ended in a crescendo of key pounding, clapping, laughing from MacDonald (Colin) and whistles.
Tonight’s crowd paid proper respect to ‘a song about a girl we knew who died in service’, and three screens on the side wall showed images to the passionate Highway of Heroes. People took out a few cell phones and even a lighter or two, in tribute of the song about the troops and not about war – “I wish there were no more fucking wars.” said MacDonald. Amen.
Just as with the Kelowna show, The Glorious Sons joined The Trews for a combo of Poor Ol Broken Hearted Me and Mama .. singer Colin MacDonald smiling and turning slightly pink as he spat out “she ruled my mind my heart my dick,” while the audience belted it out with him. The smile never left MacDonald’s face all night, and the energy the crowd fed back to the band, just raised the bar, over and over. Bands really DO need crowd response to get ‘into the zone’ and bassist Jack Syperek was in the zone all night… bending and contorting his lanky frame over the bass with intense concentration. Colin MacDonald danced in circles around guitarist John Angus MacDonald, as The Glorious Sons Brett Emmons took over vocals on Mama, both bands having a blast, as well as the crowd right into it. The set closed out with Hold Me in Your Arms.
Very brief respite and the band was back out on stage, with a single spotlight.. all 5 members (including Heisholt and fill in drummer Gavin), standing around the mic, Colin MacDonald with an acoustic, and the crowd settling down a little, mindful that something special was happening.. ‘hello my name is Ismael, forget the one about the whale, I’ll tell you about a broken hearted sailor,’ Ishmael and Maggie acoustic, with us in the front of the stage sitting casually on the low row of speakers. The attention was apt, the singalong was loud, and ‘I only drink with friends and total strangers‘ getting a resounding response.
The Trews left the stage all except guitarist MacDonald who ripped into a solo then moved in behind the drum kit with guitar still slung over his body… and did double duty with bass drum beat (foot) and guitar solo… until the ‘noodling’ became recognizable as Not Ready to Go, and the band returned to stage to bump up the energy yet again. New King closed out the encore and the crowd went crazy.
Having seen two shows nearly back to back, The Trews definitely belong on the big stage. A small stage can’t contain them! It’s also perfectly evident that they don’t do the same show night after night. This isn’t a ‘by rote’ band, never has been, never will be. They give back more than they get. Where there’s love there’s life…
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