Weakerthans / Complete / Beekeepers Richards on Richards, Vancouver BC - December 5

Weakerthans / Complete / Beekeepers Richards on Richards, Vancouver BC - December 5
"I'm having a mental block," said John Samson, the Weakerthans' front-man, as he plucked at his guitar with a puzzled expression during "This Is A Fire Door Never Leave Open." "We've only played this song 300,000 times," said bassist John Sutton. If the band had been any more comfortable on stage, they would have looked bored. Regardless, since they've been focused on putting together their third album, the half-forgotten song was discarded in favour of a new offbeat country tune, during which guitarist Stephen Carroll unveiled his spinning whirlywind and drummer Jason Tait palmed maracas. Despite Samson's momentary memory lapse, these perennial cult heroes from Manitoba played much of their second album, Left and Leaving, switching from frowning lyrics to energy-fuelled, feverish rock interludes on songs like "Aside" and "Exiles Among Us." They also played tracks from their first, grittier album, Fallow, including the vulnerable and melodic "Confessions," while Samson eyed his microphone like the subject of an unspoken crush. "Prescience of Dawn" had the unmistakable Weakerthans melancholy, although the new song itself is, perhaps, more rejuvenated in spirit. On a completely different note, the night's openers, Vancouver's own Beekeepers, are a bizarre handful of local misfits. Songs like "You Can't Change That Girl" and the sci-fi thriller "The Thing With Three Souls" displayed interesting mod-emo stylings. Complete followed up with standard punk. I've seen these guys play in school gyms in northern BC for small-town punk-starved kids and it was much more fulfilling.