THE TREWS Live at London O2 Academy

Apparently, if you want to check out the great Canadian band ‘The Trews’ on YouTube then you will need to trawl through a lot of videos by Russell Brand (who has a daily show titled ‘The Trews’ – a compound word which he thinks he invented that equates to truth + news.)

Of course, we know better – The Trews is the name for the best classic rock band in Canada.

Consisting of vocalist Colin MacDonald, guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, bassist Jack Syperek, and (temporarily – for UK dates only) drummer Gavin Maguire.

These hard working lads from Nova Scotia are constantly grafting – creating wonderfully rocking sounds for our eager ears.

Recently the band have released their eponymously titled fifth album. It has become the band’s highest charting disc to date.

John-Angus MacDonald - Incredibly clever guitar...
John-Angus MacDonald – Incredibly clever guitar…

What separates this band from others in their field is the drama, range and the sheer quality of their voices.

Lead singer Colin has a voice like good cheese – smooth, strong, powerful and incisive. Although it is never aggressive – it still possesses bite and mature ferment. It is thoroughly engaging .

When this lead vocal is close-coupled with some terrific harmonies from the other guys – the results really are absolutely stunning.

Promising six-or-so new songs from their 2014 self-titled album and a few others from what they call their ‘classical period’ at their O2 Academy, Islington – London show – the band kicked off with “Age Of Miracles” – the second track from the new album.

Guitars jangled and glistened – whilst the crowd woke up the to repeating line “Wait for the day…

The call-and-response chorus was a joy.  And Colin’s voice trembled (ever so slightly) giving the number a sacred atmosphere.  It was as if we were witnessing something deeply emotional.

Jack Syperek - bumptious bass follows the tracks of the drummer’s rhythm like an obedient lamb...
Jack Syperek – bumptious bass follows the tracks of the drummer’s rhythm like an obedient lamb…

The drum-work on “Age Of Miracles” and later on “Not Ready to Go” (from the ‘House of Ill Fame‘ album) was sparkling.

The best we’ve heard for a long while: Tight, ferocious and precise.

The main voice on ‘Not Ready to Go’ possessed more vibrato than previous songs.

It reminded us of early 1970’s Bryan Ferry – perhaps without the brylcreem or the dapper panache – but the yeastiness was clearly similar.

Another fabulous song was “Tired of Waiting”.

Jack’s bumptious bass on this one followed the tracks of the drummer’s rhythm like an obedient lamb.

Then the song broke out of the centre of the number – in a starburst of powdered sugar and jimmy-sprinkle guitars. It was the musical equivalent of a girl breaking out of a gift-cake.

The riff then soaked into the song  – like rum seeping into black cake.  By now the crowd were very happy… all singing along “I am tired of waiting… the long way down…”

The set finished with the ‘feeling sorry for ourselves’  song – “Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me” – but maybe this is  a ‘keeping strong’ song.

In any case, it had all the thump and vibration of some the best rock-tunes we’ve ever heard.

And the guitar work was incredibly clever. This was a splendid song (with everyone clapping along for the a cappella part) – and summed up this wonderful band.

Hard working classic rock … with ever-ripening vocals grafted onto crisp and vivid instrumental play.

A bunch of wonderful songs from a group of all-round good-guys. They possess enough talent to take your breath away.

The UK Tour continues:

Mon 6 Oct O2 Academy 2 Sheffield
Tue 7 Oct O2 Academy 2 Oxford
Wed 8 Oct O2 Academy 3 Birmingham

Words and pictures by @neilmach © 2014


One Comment

  1. trewsfans

    Thanks so much for this review – we’ve been looking for some word about how they’re doing over there. 🙂 Will be passing the link for this around the Network with absolute glee.

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