I have got to stop telling people about the Weakerthans.
Mac Ballroom was absolutely jam-packed for Tuesday night's concert. Tuesday night! Traditionally the worst possible night to hold a concert. It seems the Weakerthans are no longer Canada's best kept rock secret.
In fact, at first it seemed as though I was not going to be able to see a bloody thing, what with the 8-foot woman standing directly in front of me. She was one of those annoying concert goers who are not only way too tall, but also never stop moving around, so you can never quite find that little peephole to peer through the heads. But she did have the most gloriously ugly hair I have ever seen. I spent the entire opener set, gazing in admiration at her huge straw mullet. But then she and her gentleman friend moved elsewhere and I was able to see the rest of the concert really well, once again proving my theory that you should never move from your chosen spot at a concert.
The evening started rather late, possibly to allow for the insane security crackdown that for some unknown reason was in place at the doors. I'm old, I'm not used to being patted down and having the contents of my purse thoroughly scrutinized when I go to a show. But The Last Town Chorus, the opener, was worth the wait. They sure made a lot of music for two people on guitars. The frontwoman played a steel lap guitar, an instrument that I generally associate with country music, but there was nothing country about the other worldly sounds that she coaxed out of that thing. The Last Town Chorus was well received, and she kept telling us that we were the politest college students she had ever played for.
But if the Last Town Chorus got a warm reception from the crowd, the Weakerthans were jumped upon, knocked down, and had their faces slobberingly licked by a packed house of adoring fans.
I am happy to report that frontman John K Samson has let his hair grow back into a spiky quiff with lovely wee sideburns and once again looks like a proper rock star, instead of sporting the English professor image he has been fostering lately. But enough about image, we're talking the Weakerthans here, the only image that matters is the imagery that you will find in their highly literary songs, songs that musically run the gamut from their early punk-charged blasts through to the much more diverse offerings of their newer work.
The Weakerthans always put on a rousing show and this one was no exception; they were tight, energetic and seemed to be feeding off the love. They didn't spend a lot of time on chatter, opting instead to go from one crowd favourite to the next, but their songs are such perfectly told vignettes that you come away feeling as though you have had a satisfying conversation, a conversation told entirely in song. The set list was a nice mix of portraits of Canadiana from their new album, Reunion Tour, and all the must-plays from their previous albums.
Weakerthans fans are hard-core. You know how at every concert, whenever a song is performed that sort of has a false ending, there are always a number of people who are caught off-guard and start clapping at the wrong place? Not on Tuesday night, and quite a few of the songs performed had false endings. But Weakerthans fans know. And they love their Weakerthans.
So should you.
Here's a song that always makes me tear up, and it brings me right back to the day I loaded up all my earthly belongings in my old Chevy Nova and drove out of Winnipeg forever - Left and Leaving.mp3
And this one is off the new album. In fine Canadian fashion, it's about curling - Tournament of Hearts.mp3
And lastly, although some of you who have been coming by here for a while have probably seen this one, here is one of my favourite videos of all time. It never gets old.
Have a great Friday night, you great explorers. We're off to see the New Pornographers tonight! Details tomorrow.