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Full text of "The Gateway (2007-10-04)"

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Friday, 5 October at 8pm 
Winspear Centre 

Originally from Mogadishu, Somalia, Toronto-based 
K’Naan combines political activism with a fusion of 
hip hop and rap 

He hits the Winspear this week on tour to pro¬ 
mote his recently released album The Dusty Foot on 
the Road, and rest assured, no rhyme will be 
slung, no foot left jn-Swiffered. 

Eamon McGrath and the Wild Dogs 

With The Paperboxes and The Pack 
Saturday 6 October at 8pm 
Victory Lounge 

Eamon McGrath brings his bluesy folk rock sound 
and lovable group of Cujos to the Victory lounge 
this week to indulge you in some musical rabies, 
for whom you should be foaming at the mouth and 
cycling between euphoria and a semi-permanent 
catatonic delirium. But if the bassist or drummer 
should start drooling or staggering about, slowly 
back away and inform concert security: they will 
drag them out back and take them down, Old 

Becoming Jane 

Opens 6 October 

Directed by Julian Jarrold 

Starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy 

Garneau Theatre 

Anne Hathaway has done a remarkable |ob over the 
years typecasting herself into the role of the shy-yet- 
attractive princess figure, sick of her upscale life and 
who really has more substance than one would think 
of someone in that position. 

Finally taking on a part that may give her some 
actual substance, Hathaway stars in this romantic 
drama about the life and alleged secret romance 
of legendary writer Jane Austen. While there have 
already been allegations of historical inaccura¬ 
cies—a problem rarely, if ever, seen in the penod 
drama genre—the film chronicles iane's relationship 
with Tom Lefroy, suspected by some to be Austen's 
inspiration for the famous Mr Darcy, who in t jrn was 
the asshole responsible for Hugh Grant- 

1, Claudia 

Runs 9-28 October at 7:30pm 
Directed by Chris Abraham 
Starring Liisa Repo-Martel 
Citadel Theatre 

The mam actress—actually, only actress—in I, 
CJaudia, asks, "Ever stare at yourself so hard that 
your eyes practically start bleeding? I do' 

A one-woman show performed through the 
swapping of masks, the story focuses on four 
characters, most prominently Claudia, a prepu- 
bescent girl dealing with the stresses of being a 
young teenager such as self-esteem issues, the 
divorce of her parents, and, well, puberty. 

The play won the Dora Award in Toronto for 
Best Play in 2001, a testament to the strength of 
the production and the emotional impact of seeing 
copious amounts of sanguine blood explode out 
of the eye sockets of an actor's mask. It could be 
classified as a "must-see, though some may find 
that to be of poor taste 


Break-page champ 

mlertanmx' • thursday. -4 October, 2007 

Weakerthans’ Reunion shares local folklore 


The Weakerthans 

With The Last Great Chorus 

Wednesday and Thursday, 10-V October at 


Myer Horowitz 

Arts& Entertainment Staff 

Throughout the greatest hits and watermarks 
of their past, there has always been something 
undeniably Canadian about Winnipeg's The 
Weakerthans—there’s some subtle aspect of 
their musical philosophies in which we in the 
Great White North can see ourselves. Perhaps 
it's tile haunting-yet-exquisite Prairie imagery of 
windswept fields of wheat or snowy highways at 
night trailing off into the horizon. Or it could be 
the quirky metaphors and amusing anecdotes by 
which lead singer and songwriter John K Samson 
shapes his sonic soliloquies. 

But even after taking a four-year break, die hand 
hasn’t forgotten that the central element for their 
songs revolve around the emotional resonance 
found in the quaint tales of average Catiadians; 
after all, the Weakerthans are just average Prairie 
boys themselves. 

“I really hope people—especially Canadians— 
are able to identify' with this record,” Stephen 
Carroll, the band's guitarist and backing vocalist, 
remarks over the phone. 

That record is Reunion Tour, an album "pop¬ 
ulated by characters,” as Carroll describes it. 
Recorded at a studio built above a factory on 
the outskirts of Winnipeg during winter nights, 
the isolation of the process gets reflected in the 
record’s themes of reunion, reconciliation, and 

regret. Bui the album also features a more story- 
driven approach titan 2003's high-concept album 
Reconstruction Sire, while still offering the quar¬ 
tet's signature folk rock sound tinged with punk. 

"This was a record we hadn't really known we 
were going to make. It was created in tlte studio.” 
Carroll explains. “With Reconstruction Site, we 
liad a structure arranged, and we knew how the 
trilogy of songs that are the chapter headers would 
work. For this one. we didn't really have a longer 
look at it; we just sort of had some songs, some 
that we'd played and some we liadn’t played. We 
got to the studio with [producer] Ian Blurton. and 
we just kept saying. 'Well, what else is there?’ " 

Plenty, if the diversity of subject matter on the 
record gives any indication. Ever able to pull the 
most lieartfell sentiments out of the most mun¬ 
dane of subjects, tbe band gives common, every¬ 
day occurrences an element of mythos, taking tales 
about a Winnipeg bus driver's forelom sorrow 
about an ex. or a dot-com businessman who loses 
everything, and sculpting them into local folklore. 

One piece. "Hymn for a Medical Oddity." was 
inspired by the story of fellow Winnipegger 
David Reimer. A famous case in die lore of psy¬ 
chology. Reimer was sexually reassigned at birth 
and raised as a girl. After discovering the truth 
and living several years as a man, he sadly com¬ 
mitted suicide in 2004. 

"Jolui was asked to do this project by this com¬ 
poser who was writing a musical about David 
Reimer." Carroll notes. "John composed a song, 
and then the composer son of fell off die map. 
and we couldn't find him anymore. At some point 
in the recording process. John mentioned, 'Here's 
this piece I wrote; it's kind of weird, but maybe 
we can make something around it.'" 

Alongside tributes to Gump Worsley or poems 
about Edward Hopper paintings, the guys from 
The Weakerthans also tackle tltat classic game 

of the north: curling, "Tournament of Hearts" 
details that most-Canadian of competitions, 
told fittingly by a band that has had their share 
of experience hurrying hard. 

"We played on my dad's curling team for two 
years, myself and John." Carroll says. “We were 
the worst in the league last year. Soineliow vve 
ended up sneaking in through the hack door into 
the playoffs, going on a streak, and being tied for 
first in the playoffs. We ended up going to a draw¬ 
off and unfortunately, their rock ended up closer 
to the button. But we got second place in the B 

Willi their hometown, down-to-earth men¬ 
tality rooted in our culture, it may come as a 
surprise to some that the band has a devout fol¬ 
lowing across the world. But Carroll notes the 
underlying meanings in their songs are the same 
for fans everywhere, front Regina to Cologne. 

“In our experience, we’ve been really surprised 
at how the songs resonate with people. For exam¬ 
ple, when vve play 'One Great City’ in different 
towns, with the lyrics T hate Winnipeg,' people 
will insert their hometown name and shout 
it back to us. We’ve heard '1 hate Nottingham’ 
when we were playing in the UK." 

Even with the widespread esteem for their 
message, the parables of The Weakerthans will 
always find their foundation in the annals of 
Canadiana, taking the banal emotions hidden 
within our contemporary lives a nd i timing them 
into balladry worth paying attention to. 

"We've got songs about curling. Bigfoot sight¬ 
ings in northern Manitoba, a medical surgery 
making an anomaly of science with a tragic end— 
just these bizarre stories about Winnipeggers. I 
hope that people from tlte Prairies and Canada 
see themselves represented because I really feel 
the songs are written about our experiences living 


The Weakerthans 

Reunion Tour 


Arts & Entertainment Staff 

The Weakerthans are one of the precious few 
bands out there who have the ability to be 
emotional withoui being etno. and are skilled 
enough to be intellectual without sounding 
pretentious. It's a fine line to walk, and the criti¬ 
cally acclaimed band has delivered once again 
wiih Reunion Tour. 

John K Samson, the band’s main lyricist and 

songwriter, may be one of the finest musical 
talents of our generation. Samson wields his 
metaphors so efficiently in the context of his 
stories that every song is fluid and thought- 
provoking, such as the declaration that "my 
face is my mask" in "Elegy to Gump Worsley" 
or asking the listener to "make me something 
somebody can use” in “Utilities.” 

The rest of the band are no slouches either, 
matching Samson’s vocals with tbe catchy, 
riff-driven hooks we've come to expect, along 
with some progression from their past with 
an increased use of synthesizers and electronic 
sounds that actually compliment their straight¬ 
ahead rock rather than hinder it. 

The most disappointing part about the 
album is its brevity. Clocking in at 37 minutes, 
the length is frustrating to fans who have been 
waiting for four years for more Weakerthans 
introspection. But if the worst part of an 
album is that there isn't enough of it, that's 
also a sign of its overall strength. Every track is 
solid, none are easily skipped, and the album 
will enjoy constant rotation through both 
your headphones and your head—j ust as we've 
come to expect from one of the country's most 
respected bands.