Reviews:: The Weakerthans Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre

When you take a quick scan of the mostly flat reviews of the CD/DVD live recording that marked a decade of music from Winnipeg’s blue collar heroes, The Weakerthans, you find more than a few harsh and hurtful dismissals. Unnecessary. Uneven. Uninspired.


The one word I never read was celebration. What people missed about this record was quite simple; this was not only a chance for us to all say thanks to one of the most consistent and under appreciated modern Canadian modern rock bands, but also for the band stand proud with friends on stage, play and soak in the success and experiences they’ve had.


Live at The Burton Cummings Theatre isn’t littered with hidden surprises (although hearing Wellington’s Wednesdays made the cut was great), new arrangements (although again, the strings and harmonies offered fans a new perspective) or far reaching covers. No, this 70-minutes finds the straight ahead band doing what it has always done. Plugging in, turning on and rocking, leaving a room full of smiles and sing-alongs in their wake. Playing the hits for the fans - tolerating the same people that yell for the same few songs from the minute they take the stage - sounding note perfect, giving back and giving everyone an evening to remember.


The record is tight; the band is clicking on all cylinders although occasionally the female harmony from Christine Fellows miss the mark (although her piano more than makes up for any stumbles), so much so that I can’t help but challenge the tepid receptions. The band has a playful urgency on anthems like Tournament of Hearts but more importantly, for any listener interested enough to seek out a live album from the band, they have created a time capsule. Few bands have aged as well and as in tune with their fan base and having a perfectly recorded set of classics from one of my favorite bands is something - as a fan - I cherish more than the chance to critique it.


This band is more than Left and Leaving, and certainly more than one great song about one great city. The Weakerthans have the amazing ability to write a song that could end up in the bottom of their catalog and still have fans connect and sing along.  Maybe it’s time we started giving the Winnipeg musicians credit for all they are, instead of what they aren’t?


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The Weakerthans - Benediction (live @ the Burton Cummings Theatre)



Tags: The Weakerthans

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 at 7:12 am and is filed under 2010, Live, Music, Reviews, The Weakerthans, Winnipeg. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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One Response to “Reviews:: The Weakerthans Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre”

Justin April 22nd, 2010 at 9:06 am

I couldn’t agree more - there were a few flaws but that’s part of live performance vs. studio recording. All in all I think it’s a brilliant tribute to a band that is known for their live shows and that, if anything, has been more consistent over the last decade than their peers in Broken Social Scene and the New Pornographers.

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