Trews to debut new show at FredRock Friday

The Trews are going to do something in Fredericton on Friday, Aug. 22, that the group has never done before. It will during the kick-off show to this year's FredRock festival, happening over the weekend. The first band up at 4:30 will be The Trews. They'll be followed immediately after by ... The Trews! Yes, they are opening for themselves. But each set will be quite different. The first one will The Trews acoustic, where the band strips down the material to acoustic guitars and lighter percussion, an unplugged version of their hits. The second show will feature all the electric highlights from the band's twelve years of recording.

It's not the first time The Trews have played acoustic, and certainly not the first electric, but it's the debut of this format featuring both. Several years back, the group first developed its acoustic show, as a way to move out of bars and arenas, and into soft-seat venues. It was such a hit, a live album and DVD came out of it, 2009's Acoustic-Friends and Total Strangers, recorded at Toronto's Glenn Gould Theatre with no overdubs. Since then, the group has revisited the acoustic tour idea a couple of times.

Now comes the idea of a split show. According to singer Colin MacDonald, it was at the request of FredRock: "I thought it was a really cool idea," says MacDonald. "And Fredericton is the very first. We come to Fredericton a lot so we like to shake it up. Last time we played there, it was in the Playhouse, and we had Rick Mercer join us on drums (recorded for his TV show, The Mercer Report). It was so fun, watching him sweating it out backstage, watching YouTube and trying to figure out the drum part to Not Ready To Go. You can't get a bigger celebrity in Canada than Rick Mercer."

The idea of the split show fits right in with the group's new album, simply called The Trews. It has some of the band's classic rocking and good humour, but also the softer side as well. "That was definitely at the urging of (producer) Gavin Brown," explains MacDonald. "There are a couple of songs even without drums on them. He said he wanted to get 'that acoustic thing you guys do', he really pushed it. We even added cello to it. We were cool with it, it is a big part of our sound, we do acoustic tours every couple of years so we were down with it."

MacDonald says the FredRock show will be a trial balloon for this fall. "We're planning on maybe doing it again on the road, we're really looking forward to it," MacDonald confirms. "It's going to be interesting to see how we do it. We bring a lot of energy to the acoustic stage anyway, so it shouldn't be hard to transfer that to the electric side." MacDonald says changing formats each tour not only keeps it interesting for the musicians, it's a way to stay in competition with other groups. "And that's pretty much the way we work, and the way you have to work to keep moving forward in Canada. There are so many great bands that play across this country, we know we have to shake it up each time. It's so hard to stay afloat. I've been lucky to be with three other guys who are so invested in this band. We're into it, we know you have to be driven, to come up with new ideas, to work hard all the time."

Antigonish's hard-working Trews will take the stage at 4:30 on Friday, Aug. 22, as FredRock kicks off. Ticket info is at

more »

Latest East Coast Music Reviews

Music Review:  Bruised Orange - Ain't That The Way
Music Review: Bruised Orange - Ain't That The Way
Dec 23, 3:06 PM

Another disc from the Moncton trio, long-time friends Roger Cormier, Stephane Boudreau and Steve Long. Songwriters all, and capable of handling lots of instruments, they hunker down in Long's home studio to bring life to their projects. Boudreau's an official... more »

Tony Butyn's honest songs highlight new album
Tony Butyn's honest songs highlight new album
Dec 22, 3:27 PM

You can take the boy out of Newfoundland, but you can't take Newfoundland out of the boy. Tony Butyn may have lived in Nova Scotia the last quarter-century, but he grew up in Gander and the province still inspires most... more »

Rose Cousins sneaks out gem of a mini-album
Rose Cousins sneaks out gem of a mini-album
Dec 19, 1:18 PM

If you'd like a tasty little stocking stuffer, Rose Cousins slipped out a six-track disc recently. Made up of four covers and two originals, it's called Stray Birds. Cousins says she enjoys the freedom of playing covers, either old favourites... more »

Moncton music pioneer Jean-Guy Melanson of Missing Lynks passes
Moncton music pioneer Jean-Guy Melanson of Missing Lynks passes
Dec 18, 2:35 PM

News has arrived of the passing of long-time Moncton musician Jean-Guy Melanson this past Tuesday, Dec. 16. He was one of the pioneers of the Moncton rock 'n' roll scene from the 1960's and 1970's, as a member of the... more »

Vogue Dots one of the N.B. music success stories of 2014
Vogue Dots one of the N.B. music success stories of 2014
Dec 17, 3:11 PM

One of the nice surprises of this year's music scene in the province has been the emergence of a new group, featuring Saint John's Babette Hayward. The young singer-songwriter made a mark with her rich voice and engaging lyrics when... more »

Marie-Jo Therio captivates on new live album
Marie-Jo Therio captivates on new live album
Dec 12, 3:41 PM

The wonderful and engaging Moncton native doesn't make albums so much, she makes artistic projects. As she showed on her last studio collection, Chasing Lydie, showed how interested she is in mixing dialogue and sound with music, also story lines... more »

View all reviews for December 2014 »

About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).

Share this review