This weekend was not 100% about the enforced home renovation.  I don’t mind renovating but I prefer it to be on my own schedule and to be replacing something rather than just making it less lousy.  On Saturday night, Amy, Heather and I drove up to see The Weakerthans in Guelph at the River Run Centre.The Weakerthans are a very well established Canadian indie band.  They are extremely Canadian and extremely indie.  Check out this song from their most recent album, Reunion Tour.

This song is about a man sitting in the lounge of a curling club debating whether or not to go home.  A Curling Rink!  And it’s called Tournament of Hearts.  So very Canadian.  According to Luke, they go and curl against other indie bands when they’re on tour.

John K. Samson is the lead singer and, I think, the song writer.  He used to be in a punk band called Propaghandi and he is from Winnipeg.  They have a song about Winnipeg that is called “One Great City” and it is all about how crummy a place the ‘Peg is.

The video I had up there was originally one with shots of Toronto but I thought this one was much cooler even though it cuts off the last verse.  I would imagine that John K. would not be pleased to see such a thing as he is from a city in Canada that is not Toronto and is therefore required by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to hate Toronto and most of the rest of Ontario.

The opening band was called Bahamas and was a two-piece (guitarist/singer and drummer).  They put on an adequate show (originally typed ‘shoe’ there, should have left it) but weren’t really good at dealing with the drunk guy in the front row who kept yelling stuff at them.  The lead guy was a very good guitarist and a pretty good singer but their songs weren’t great.  The Constantines came on after that.  I am only passingly familiar with their stuff so they weren’t really much of a draw for me.  They were also super loud and I forgot my ear plugs (yes, I take ear plugs to concerts, generally).  During their last song, one of the guitarists was swinging his strat around and making feedback but he kept making motions as though he was going to smash it.  I almost wish he had.  It would have gone a long way to redeeming their act.

The Weakerthans put on a heck of a show.  I’ve only got their latest two albums and a couple of tracks from one of the Hopeless Records samplers but I knew the entire first half of their set and most of the second half.  John K. came out and did a solo version of “One Great City” to great joy from the audience.  I sang along with all the songs I knew and I think there were many in the audience who did the same.  The lead guitarist did a solo for one song by spinning a flexible tube around his head to make different notes.  Amy’s reaction: “As a physics teacher, I appreciate that.”

I will leave you with another song from the Reunion Tour album.  It is from the point of view of a bus driver in Winnipeg whose route takes him by the house where his relationship ended.  The video is one long shot and is really well done.  One of my favourite things about these guys is the intelligence of their lyrics.  They are clearly bright people.  John K. was very engaged with the audience and did a shout-out to The Bookshelf, a bookstore, cafe and cinema in Guelph.  He bought a book about turning one’s lawn into a garden for growing food.  I also liked that they were just wearing normal people clothes and not pulling a Coldplay (honestly Chris Martin don’t wear torn up shirts like that.  You look like a twit).

angry like you never were