The Trews with Bedouin Sound Clash and Rebel Emergency at the Horseshoe, January 31. Tickets: $8. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NN Rating: NN
Saturday night's hoedown at the Horseshoe celebrated the virtues of Nova Scotia and Niagara Falls residents the Trews . The atmosphere was jubilant, all for the love of a band that, because of a well-aired video, easy-to-follow sub-classic rock riffs and constant touring, have shot into the Canadian music stratosphere. They attract lovers of classic bar music, drinkers and - judging by the number of baseball caps, frat-guy bead necklaces, out of sync clap-alongs and guys with gelled hair throwing up the metal salute - a lot of students as well.
A fan chalked up the Trews' appeal to their good live show and their crisp, familiar sound. I don't know where the good show was, but the familiarity was in full effect.
After coming out to raucous cheers, the boys proceeded to play tightly for over an hour, with bespectacled singer/guitarist Colin MacDonald fervently singing samey bar-rock jams in the vocal key of Gordie Johnson and to a lesser extent Danny Greaves from the Watchmen.
Meanwhile, Colin's brother and lead bearded guitarist John-Angus Macdonald played it up for the ecstatic crowd, keeping them dazedly enthusiastic. He did some kind of unimpressive guitar freakout for five minutes, only slightly after a ridiculous and pointlessly long drum solo.
But as my 65-year-old uncle who accompanied me to the concert pointed out, the Trews are good at what they do. After three seconds of applause upon leaving the stage, they returned for an encore and closed off the night with a few more originals and a faithful cover of Whole Lotta Love.
Familiarity also marked the opening bands. Rebel Emergency rebelled against logic; their onstage accoutrements included a fur coat, Sex Pistols and Ramones T-shirts, and a faithful cover of James's hit Laid.
After them came Bedouin Sound Clash , a three-piece that sounded like Bob Marley and Sting quietly having almost satisfactory sex with each other on top of an oversized novelty dub plate. Their predictable covers of choice were Electric Avenue and Jammin'.