Stages goes Can-Rock with Trews

The Trews’ Colin MacDonald adds an element of rock to the usual Stages-induced sweatiness.
The Trews’ Colin MacDonald adds an element of rock to the usual Stages-induced sweatiness.
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John-Angus churns out yet another jaw-dropping guitar solo.
John-Angus churns out yet another jaw-dropping guitar solo.
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Walking into Stages on Tuesday night, it was impossible not to notice the change in atmosphere. Knee-high boots and scandalously short skirts were replaced by cardigans and sneakers, and the only person grinding a pole was Brad Germain, the lead singer of the Marble Index.

Tuesday night, Stages hosted—through the extreme music series—a concert by the increasingly-popular Trews. The band, made up of drummer Sean Dalton, bassist Jack Syperek, lead guitarist John-Angus MacDonald and guitarist and vocalist Colin MacDonald, made a Kingston appearance two weeks ago when they played the Across The Causeway benefit with The Tragically Hip. Tuesday night’s crowd, though modest by comparison, was equally as excited to be there.

The night started off with Oliver Black, a local Kingston band made up of vocalist Serena Pruyn, guitarist Nicolas Lesyk, bassist Greg Zack and drummer Allan Colavecchia. The group was an appropriate opener, having made two previous recordings with Trews lead guitarist, John-Argus MacDonald. Their sound was big, energized, tight and only improved upon by Serena’s stage presence and impressively huge voice. Unfortunately, their talents went relatively unnoticed by the meagre 9 p.m. crowd.

By the time the next act—The Marble Index—hit the stage, the crowd had increased considerably. People must have been curious to see what all the hype is about.

The band’s influences range from The Cure to Franz Ferdinand, but I think their charm can be summed up by their lead singer, Brad Germain, whose quirky, comedic, and sometimes crude persona prove he’s anything but shy about his role as front man. He twisted, gyrated and grooved his way around the bar on top of every available surface. He thrived off the audience’s energy.

“Loud crowds,” he told the audience, “give me a special kind of erection.” By the time they left the stage, The Marble Index had the crowd rowdy and primed for the headliners.

The Trews opened with “Every Inambition,” the first song on their debut LP, House of Ill Fame. People, who had previously been viewing the show from the balcony, came down to the main floor to get in on the action. The band went on to play the entire tracklist from House of Ill Fame, including the singles, “Not Ready to Go,” “Tired of Waiting” and “You’re So Sober.” As testament to their growing popularity, the crowd belted out the words to the singles and some shouted requests for them to play them a second time.

The highlight of the show was John-Angus MacDonald’s guitar solo during “Stray;” one of the last songs performed in the night. It demonstrated both his considerable technical abilities, and his sheer enjoyment in performing. You couldn’t help but be impressed as MacDonald played his guitar behind his head and jumped from the floor to the amp without missing a beat.

When the Trews called it a night, their exit was immediately followed by a chant for an encore. So as not to disappoint, they retook the stage and showed their class by inviting Serena Pruyn—from Oliver Black—back to sing with them. The gesture allowed her to perform in front of the full crowd she deserved, but missed out on earlier. It was nice to see a band that wasn’t afraid to share the spotlight, especially with a person so deserving.

As the crowd cleared out, I couldn’t help thinking that this was one of the few times I had lasted at Stages until last call.

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