The Trews Make Vancouver Acoustic Show Look Easy

TrewsThe Trews (Acoustic)
Vogue Theatre
Vancouver, BC
Nov. 6, 2010

By Christopher Ryan

The greats make it look easy. That was the lesson at The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver for the Trews acoustic rock-out. That is, if people weren’t so high from the dancing, fist pumping, and lighter-raising.

The band grabbed the audience by the throat from the beginning with a blistering vocal performance on Sing Your Heart Out. Then, proceeded to rough up the crowd throughout their first set with a steady onslaught of classics sprinkled with  some unreleased tracks.

When most bands go acoustic for a performance they often call it, “An Evening With…” and treat it as an art project. However, this family band began life in Antigonish, Nova Scotia called One I’d Trouser, so when they play acoustic it’s not an ‘evening’ it’s a party.

The intensity of the guitars may have lacked without distortion on some of their hits, but each member of the band was constantly engaged in flat out strumming, picking, shakers, tambourine, vocal harmonies, etc. easily increasing the energy to blitzing crescendos. At times the crowd seemed a little overwhelmed by the acoustic attack. For example, at the conclusion of a few songs lead singer Colin MacDonald snapped everyone into place with a quick salute, or comment, that was followed by cheers after some initial moments of awe.

Forget that they have toured with the likes of KISS, Robert Plant and Guns and Roses. Forget that they have been nominated, and won, numerous awards. Forget they are good friends with Bubbles from The Trailer Park Boys. These guys do what they love and they do it from the heart. As MacDonald acknowledged, this was their third trip to Vancouver this year. Very few bands would be able to handle that, in terms of draw and just the rigours of a touring life.

Throughout the night there were lots of sing-alongs and even good-natured pushing and shoving between friends, always the hallmark of good rock, especially acoustic.

The East Coast feel crept further into the mix during the band’s second set by the addition of an accordion, rhythm guitar and opener, Tim Chaisson, on fiddle. People jigged and there was much applause when the last of the large balloons tossed out by the band finally popped. The crowd had been admonished moments earlier for having the softest touch of any of the audiences The Trews had played to, thus far.

A sweet, melancholy mood also filled the hall during their tribute to the fallen soldiers of Afghanistan, Highway of Heroes. It was a proud moment that the vast majority of the people knew what the song was about, and let their emotions be known. It wasn’t a feeling for the flag, but for the individuals who put their lives in our hands.

The final comment of the night must be reserved for The Vogue, however. It’s great you spent a lot on renovations, but don’t charge $6 for a Pabst Blue Ribbon if you only take cash, have only one ATM, and run the bar area reminiscent of a Stag and Doe. Recycling bins full of ice make me keenly aware of how much I’m being ripped off just to drink at a rock show.