Who: The Trews
When: Sunday, Nov. 7, 7:40 p.m.
Where: Millennium Place
Cost: $24; $21 students & seniors; $19 WAC
Worst Gig Ever: the Trews were touring America on the Gibson tour bus - a bus that had been gutted and filled with Gibson guitars, pianos and other instruments but lacking beds or comfortable seats of any kind - to make the 19-hour drive between San Francisco and Vail just a little more pleasurable. It was anything but. The route through the mountains was winding and icy, while the band was sitting in this bus stocked with premium guitars and hard benches. And when they finally arrive in Vail, they were exhausted and depressed.
"And I think we played for the sound guy," said the band's vocalist, Colin McDonald. "So that was the worst gig ever. And that was just last year, so we were pretty bummed about that one."
He's speaking from a more comfortable tour bus, en route from Grand Prairie to Edmonton, in the middle of their second, extensive cross-Canada tour in support of their acoustic live album, Friends & Total Strangers . The band wanted to do something different following the heavy riffage of their third album No Time For Later and instead of indie-fying their sound as the zeitgeist has dictated for many bands, they harkened back to an old trick from the 1990s: a live acoustic album and tour.
But don't expect an MTV Unplugged show when they play Millennium Place next week.
"It's got more of an East Coast vibe to it, more of a kitchen party," McDonald said. "It doesn't even really feel like an intimate acoustic (thing). It's more just, like, have some drinks and have a good time. We need to make it feel like we used to back at 3 a.m., sitting around the table back at Antigonish playing songs for one another."
The band has always made a point of visiting Canadian cities and towns, exposing their band to as many different people in this country as possible. They just played Lloydminster of all places. But McDonald said most of their success has been in Canada, and to them it's necessary to give their music back to Canadians. And the crowds are the better for it.
"They're not jaded," he says. "They haven't seen five shows already this week. Some of the big city crowds can be so pretentious and it's unmerited. These people really appreciate what we're doing for what we're doing. It's good."
The band recorded their fourth album earlier this year with Tragically Hip bassist Gord Sinclair at the Hip's Kingston studio, the Bathhouse. McDonald described the process as far more spontaneous than previous albums.
"We basically just went with the best songs," he says. "Whichever were the best tunes, whether it was an acoustic thing or a kind of a jammy type of thing, or a heavy, almost Black Sabbath kind of song, we didn't let the concept dictate the record, we thought we'll just go with whatever's making the nicest songs to us right now, and that's how the album came about."
McDonald says the new album, to be released in spring, will be a hybrid of sounds explored on No Time for Later and Friends & Total Strangers. It also has no name as of yet and the band is asking for fan suggestions for a title. So far there has been nothing of note so here's your chance, Faithful Reader, to make your mark on the world. Name a Trews album and live happily ever after.