John K. Samson & the Provincial Band The Great Hall, Toronto ON March 22

John K. Samson & the Provincial BandThe Great Hall, Toronto ON March 22
As the beloved frontman of the Weakerthans, John K. Samson has garnered quite a reputation for being one of Canada's finest musical storytellers. When he took to the stage for his sold-out set at the Great Hall, he proved that he's also one of our best live performers. Stepping out to massive applause, wearing a Toronto T-shirt, Samson opened with the first two tracks from his recent solo effort Provincial, before being joined by the full Provincial Band. Tunes like "When I Write My Master's Thesis" and "Longitudinal Centre" fired up the night, though Samson even encouraged the crowd to dance along to the sombre country waltz "Letter in Icelandic from the Ninette San," a song about a man dying of tuberculosis. Also, the Weakerthans catalogue was not ignored, with "One Great City" and "Pamphleteer" among the show's highlights. For the encore, the band even delivered some old-school Propagandhi with Samson on bass, followed by an unplugged solo rendition of "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure" that had the whole building singing along. Obviously a seasoned performer, Samson was completely captivating as he fronted the Provincial Band, smiling just as much as the audience was the entire time.