The Trews exploring new territory with acoustic tour

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

After a summer of playing shows with a full band, three original members of The Trews will bring their acoustic trio to Fort Frances as the opening act of the 2022-2023 Tour De Fort Series.

John-Angus MacDonald is the lead guitarist of the Trews and has been with the band from it’s start along with his brother Colin who sings lead vocals and plays rhythm guitar and bassist Jack Syperek. The trio will be headed out on a tour of northwestern Ontario that with a more laid back concert than they usually perform.

John-Angus MacDonald spoke with the Times ahead of the tour which starts in Geraldton and has stops in Atikokan, Fort Frances, Red Lake and Sioux Lookout. He says all of the places on the tour are new locations for the band. The acoustic format is something they group has come back to now and again throughout its touring life.

“We’ve always kind of bounced back and forth between doing the full on, high-energy electric show and doing something a little more intimate and stripped back,” MacDonald said. “This is even more stripped back than usual because it’s just the three of us, me, Colin and Jack, the three original members. It allows us to go into different rooms and markets that we may not be able to bring a full show into, case in point being all the towns we’re going to on this tour. We’ve never been to any of them.”

After a summer with a full schedule that saw them play all across the country from British Columbia to Nova Scotia and many places in between. MacDonald says it was good to get back to a regular schedule after COVID-19 changed many things.

“This summer was a total return to form,” MacDonald said. “It was so welcome because the last two years were really wild for everybody. But we had nothing to do, nowhere to go, nowhere to play. We really had to get creative with how we made our records and how we interacted with our fans, a lot of stuff migrated online. The shows we did do were very bizarre. They were like drive-in shows and socially distanced and what have you. This is the first summer since the summer of 2019 that felt like a normal summer to us. We had some of the best crowds of our career and some really high-watermark shows happened this past summer. So, hopefully it’s onward and upward from here.”

The acoustic show on the upcoming tour will feature a wide range of material, a little different from what the full-band shows, MacDonald says.

“It’s going to be a pretty broad mix of stuff from our catalogue,” MacDonald said. “We get to explore stuff from all across our catalogue. We put out a new record last November called Wanderer so there’s some new stuff that we’ve been playing and every now and then we throw in a cover. It’s just kind of a good time.”

MacDonald added that they will also play many of the classics that have been popular over the years.

Brothers John-Angus and Colin MacDonald and bassist Jack Syperek of The Trews will be the opening concert for the 2022-23 Tour de Fort concert series. The trio will be hitting the Townshend Theatre stage for an acoustic show, on October 14. – Submitted photo

On Monday, Tour De Fort announced that passports for the season are halfway to being sold out with less than a month before The Trews acoustic trio opens the series on Oct. 14 at the Townshend Theatre. Passports for the season include six shows and cost $125. They’re available online at as well as at Ski’s Variety and the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre.

MacDonald says he thinks the show will be fun for anyone who goes, noting it will be a pretty easygoing atmosphere.

“I love playing in this format, because it feels kind of casual, you know, as opposed to a big festival or arena or something like that,” MacDonald said. Doing these shows with just me and my brother and Jack, there’s something casual about it, something off the cuff about it, and spontaneous. So I really enjoy them and I hope that the audience does too.”