Friday, April 23, 2010

The Trews - Toonik Tyme

I’ll always remember April 2010 as the time when The Trews came to Iqaluit. There was this buzz around town about it. Everyone you talked to was either up in arms about the cost of the band coming or they didn't care and were just so happy to see a show. Either way, there was a buzz.

The band stayed at the Nova and made an appearance in the pub the night before their much anticipated appearance at the Curling Club. They signed autographs for those who approached and signed T-Shirts, DVD’s, and CD’s for local promotions and charities. Kyle was playing in the pub that night and they happily sung along with what he played. What surprised me the most was that they seemed more amazed to be up here than we did about them coming. As the acting bartender, I fielded a lot of the usual questions you’d get from people who aren’t used to being up here but somehow it came across as charming. The guys genuinely seemed interested about the city and what happens up here. One thing is for sure, they were all proud to have seen this part of the country and they made it clear to me as well as others. True Canadians.

They drank us out of Moosehead and were the last ones out of the bar but they were all incredibly kind, generous and fun people to be around. If you didn’t recognize them you’d have thought they were just another group of people that’s how well they fit in after a few hours. I don’t know if it’s legal to have played that many Black Crowes tunes off one iPod in a single night either! I don’t need to fluff anyones feathers or glorify someone because of their pop culture status, but I find it necessary to share the insights I discover. It helps break the prejudice and assumptions that people often carry for people who have status. The entire Trews outfit were nothing short of friendly, fun and respectful people.

When the night of the show came around the Curling Rink was full. Everywhere you looked you saw familiar and excited faces. It was so communal to share that excitement and to all be there holding the same anticipation. Concerts are more quality than quantity in Iqaluit however, this one felt big. Whether you were a fan or not, the accessibility of The Trews music was inescapable; you knew their songs. And it was evident from the second they walked on stage . . .

The lights went out . . . and the speakers rang out the organ intro to The Band’s “Chest Fever”. It was a musical way of saying Here comes the rock”. The band walked on, the crowd screamed and finally the show was here. For the better part of 2 hours the band filled the rink with a jammed packed set of Trews classics. Within the first 30 minutes we heard “Fleeting Trust”, “So She’s Leaving”, “Ready To Go”, and “Poor Ol Broken Hearted Me”. The onslaught seemed relentless but eventually slowed down when the band came a little more forward on stage yet stripped back for an acoustic set. The crowd was overwhelming and ate up everything from the ever-popular “Sing Your Heart Out” to new cuts like “Highway for Heroes”. It wasn’t long before the band plugged back in and performed extended and remixed versions of classic favourites like “Tired of Waiting” and “Yearning”. They even threw in a crowd sing-a-long of “ K’naan’s new Canadian anthem “Wavin’ Flag” just for good measure.

It may have cost $15,000 for the performance fee and it may have meant that the local opening acts played for the love of music (which means FOR FREE) but, it was something special and something that I’ll remember for a long time. When you looked around at the hundreds of faces, there wasn’t one single person in that rink that wasn’t beaming with joy. Not one.

I don’t think it’s in good taste to tell the stories of how drunk the band got after the show or how their drummer “missed his flight” the next morning; you can always ask me in person! This was a great night to be in Iqaluit and a great night to be Canadian.

My first Toonik Tyme was a great one.

And Sean Dalton, if you’re reading this: I hope you finally got home safe and... you’re a $&%#’in Legend!

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