By Jane Flood – Original TFN content!
“Power Of Positive Drinking” (or POPD) was the opening of The Trews’ set list for their Friday, February 22nd show at The Ale House in Kingston, ON. There certainly was evidence of the power drinking taking place, even before the opening act was introduced – whether it was positive or not was in the eye of the beholder. Glorious Sons, Kingston born and raised, did a good job as a warm up act; there was a group of fans, front and centre, who knew the songs and their enthusiasm was infectious. The five member Indie rock band were the champs for the Whisky Rocks Showdown contest this past fall and subsequently won a spot to open for The Trews in Barri, ON, in November. John Angus came out at the end of their set to play guitar, in fact. They posted on their Facebook wall Saturday, thanking everyone for making it a night to remember, with one response being, “Wish I could remember it”.
I can never remember the full set list, nor the order of the songs (this has nothing to do with drinking, positive or otherwise), but according to the list posted, crowd (rowdy crowd might be appropriate) favourites “Not Ready To Go”, “So She’s Leaving”, “The World, I Know” and “Paranoid Freak” followed the popular “POPD”. Jeff, on keyboards, was his usual amazing self – “Paranoid Freak” showcases his talent beautifully and a nearby youngster exclaimed he was “insane”. I’m pretty sure she meant it as a compliment.
By the time they slowed things down with “Sing Your Heart Out”, I’d had a good enough look at all four members and I realized the truth behind a fellow Trews fan’s comment that both Jeff and Colin had lost a fair amount of weight – certainly since I’d seen them last spring. Jeff had looked like a teddy bear before and is now a slimmed down, more handsome man, but Colin has undergone a more dramatic transformation, with less beard, a shorter hair style and a cut of clothes that flatter. And why not? Casual, but fitted shirts are better than tees in giving off an air of “Hockey Tonight” athleticism – appropriate, since he did lend his vocals to this version of the theme song.
The kids in attendance were, at this point, giving the middle aged fans a run for their money, with a lot of jostling (really rowdy comes to mind) – it’s the risk you run, wanting to be anywhere within the first six or so “rows” from the stage. Having said that, the most athletic among us was a couple who had to be 50-ish and best described as free spirits in their style of, and space they took up, dancing. All of this made it difficult to focus on the band, which is unfortunate, as there are some who are there for the music. Despite knowing full well what the club experience will be, it’s still a challenge to be patient and pleasant, but it’s not without a few laughs: the aforesaid fellow Trews fan was accused of being, basically, a pain-in-the-ass “40 year old” by someone at least half her age…she is 50 and so was delighted with being upgraded by 10 years. I was hit on (I guess) by a younger, university-age fellow who put his hand on my shoulder, gazed into my eyes and solemnly asked if I was “Jasmine”. That had to be a bonus worth 25 years.
The second song performed from The Trews’ recent …thank you and I’m sorry EP was “Oblivion”, followed by the gospel-y “Lord Keep Me In Mind”, with oldie “Sweetness” sandwiched in between. “One By One” led into “Tired Of Waiting”, the perennial favourite that no one seems to grow weary of. “Yearning” flowed into “Fleeting Trust”, keeping things moving along. The crowd decided to step it up a notch rowdiness-wise on “Highway of Heroes”, but not before Colin asked us to take note of John Angus’ guitar, crafted as a yellow ribbon, that he played for that song.
It was good that “I Can’t Stop Laughing” was next, as it seemed to serve as an outlet for the continued revelry; it transitioned into “Leaps And Bounds”, The Trews’ loving remake of Aussie Paul Kelly’s 1987 hit. “30 Days In The Hole”, another cover they do well, had been worked in somewhere – usually it’s “Not Ready To Go” – but it wasn’t posted on the set list [Yes, it was in “NRTG”. – Also-There Ed]. Next was “Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me” and Sean’s drum solo, followed by “Hold Me In Your Arms”, the harder rocking of the two hits. It wasn’t long before the band returned for the encore, starting with “Hope and Ruin”, which the audience responds well to – just friends and total strangers singing back to Colin with gusto. The final song of the night, “We Are The Trews”, is a great tribute to some of the realities of life on the road, their fans and a number of fellow Canadian musical artists and bands. It is new, off of last fall’s …thank you and I’m sorry, but obviously already a crowd-pleaser.
It was a pleasure to see this band for a fourth time in 11 months. Good to see the familiar with the new: Jack, resident artist and introspective on bass, a dad for the second time now; Sean, a great partner-in-crime to the Rick Mercer Report host, in last month’s Sabian symbols segment; John Angus, the statesman of the group and a newlywed; and elders of the group, Colin and Jeff, taking their appearance and health seriously – a more mature preoccupation, maybe, but important to be able to withstand gigs that don’t start til 11:30 p.m. – the power of positive drinking notwithstanding.
Crappy photos taken by us, not Jane; all rights reserved. Not that you’d want to use them anyway.