The Trews at WestJet Street Party in Vancouver, BC March 27th 2009
The Trews at WestJet Street Party in Vancouver, BC March 27th 2009

Live Review: The Trews + Arkells + Daniel Wesley + Incura @ WestJet Street Party – March 27th 2009

Walking up the crest of Granville Street You could see it was a little chaotic.  The entire 3 blocks was turned into a mini-festival, with refreshment kiosks, merchandise booths and wondering masses.  With no expectations in my mind, I worked my way over to the main tent.  A long, narrow white monstrosity, running almost an entire block on its own.  I am not sure of the capacity, but I think at its peak there were near 1200 people in there.  After eating some pizza by the slice, and choking down a delicious beverage, I worked my way into the tent and of course right up to the stage.  There was no media restriction, as this was in conjunction with the Junos, which is an advocate of Canadian free press.  I saw about a dozen people with high end DSLRs ready to snap up glimmering moments on stage.  I myself brought my concert camera, and snapped off a few pictures to remind me of the evening.

I missed the warm up band, and in fact don’t even know there name, but there were maybe 20 people in the tent when they played, and there sound emanated through the thin white walls.  It in no way made me want to venture over to check it out, a little too crunchy, and plain for my tastes.  After about 15 minutes in the tent, it started to flood with fanatical concert goers, and the main opening act took the stage, Incura.  They are the Fox Seeds 2008 winners, there sound is very dark rock pop.  They come out in black eye liner, black clothes, and a bleak outlook, but they can rock and that’s all that really matters.  The lead singer has a great time with the audience and woos them quite well.  Many people were sporting Incura memorabilia and singing along to every song, which stands to defend them as a good up and comer.  They lept all over the stage and had enormous levels of energy.  Standing right up front, I felt the power of the mosh pit and was winded a few times from having the entire mass bounce off of me, thrusting me into the dividing metal fence.  The mosh pit actually turned violent a few times and had to be broken up.  Some people hitting the sauce a little early and getting bent out of shape over being bumped at a concert, fists were thrown and people ejected, its the norm for this type of band and I wouldn’t have expected any less.  After there 45 minute set, they left the stage to chants for Encores, but soon enough the Incura followers left the tent and once again it was desolate.  I lay in wait for the next act.

Daniel Wesley was supposed to be the second opener but was running late so The Arkells took the stage early.  The eastern Canadian pub rockers started to work over the stage, swapping out their equipment and getting ready.  The band looked just the same as when I saw them at the Biltmore three weeks prior.  No frills, no gimmicks, just ready to throw down some great tunes.  After some moments of anticipation, the delved into their set.  A lot of the people there were waiting for Daniel Wesley and had no clue who this band was, but soon enough were pleasantly bombarded with great song after great song.  A great thing to note, was that the sound at this show was terrible, and I mean terrible, but the band still sounded great.  The echo on the mics was maxed out and changed the entire sound of each song, but since they were rocking out so hard, the crowd loved every minute of it.  Discussing the band with some concert go-ers I explained how they had played a collaborative version of Dont Let Me Down at the Biltmore show with the Waking Eyes, and how jaw dropping it was.  Shortly after stating that, two female vocalists took the stage, and The Arkells and them played a Motown song, which rocked the house and left some people in pure awe, myself included.  I was lucky enough to get the lyric sheet for the joint song they did, I still am not sure the name of the song, but when I figure it out I will update this review.  The Arkells left the stage, and the crowd didn’t really thin this time, I guess in anticipation of Daniel Wesley.

After about 15 minutes, Daniel Wesley took the stage with an entirely new set of support staff behind him.  Looks like Mr.Wesley was tired of the old crew, and got some hired guns to play with, and apparently from his speal on stage, this is the group he is recording his new album with.  The show was the same as always, each song is a great summer hit, about drinking, partying and smoking dope.  The mass of people enjoying it were mostly younger and blindly chanting the chorus to his hits and silent when it was any other part.  Daniel Wesley’s look was the same, dessert hanker chief, beret and some old school looking kicks.  His set did include 3 or 4 new songs, which the crowd loved, but too me there was no growth and it seemed like he was stuck in the same old song and dance.  I am sure his album will do well, but without growth people can’t stay fans forever, because they grow, and if you don’t, you get left behind. That is my fear for this musician, a loss of connection.  I mean he is only a year into the life and has already kicked his friends out and replaced them with hired help, this shows where he is at.  After Daniel Wesley departed from the clutches of the screaming masses, there was a longer wait for the final act, probably about 30 minutes.

With the house lights down, The Trews made there entrance on the stage.  With all at once blazing illumination the entire place was filled with bright whites.  And before the crowd stood an eager band ready to rock the house.  They had so much energy and so much enthusiasm it was hard not to get caught up and just rock out to every song.  The singer entices you with every lyric and their down home nature, allows you an immediate connection on a personal level.  I was shocked at how great they were live, they sounded amazing, the instrumental work was top notch, and they just radiated musical integrity.  The mosh pit went insane to every song, and the crowd kept up a feverish pace with the intense music.  Everyone new the words to at least one song, and were singing along as much as they could.  The band has a definite pub rock sound and makes it tie in nicely with the rest of the lineup.  The only person out of place among the group was the lead guitarist, his look was that of Ritchie Sambora in the late eighties and early nineties, with a dingle ball lined gaucho hat and a matador uniform.  His playing style was very drug rock driven, and that tied in with his look.  This gave the band an unfinished look as he seemed like the odd man out.  His solo attempts were shaded and dark and didn’t match the up beat tempo and feel to everything else.  It didn’t ruin the entire show but it definitely didn’t fit.   All in all though the show went on without a hitch, the crowd had a blast and the music was intense.  I managed to get a set list, and also managed to get it signed by the band the following day.  I can see these guys progressing to arena or stadium level by next year, glad I got to see them at this show.  I would say these guys are a must see live, the music is much better with them performing for you.

Happy Concerting

Jamie Taylor

Photos © Jamie Taylor

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