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Ticats season opener a ‘new thing clicking’ for the Trews

Ticats season opener a ‘new thing clicking’ for the Trews
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Sports and rock ’n’ roll have always found symmetry with the Trews. So it only makes sense that the Hamilton-based rock band is playing the halftime show for the Tiger-Cats season opener.

The Trews will perform a nationally televised three-song set Thursday when the Ticats host the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Tim Hortons Field (7:30 p.m. on TSN).

“I feel like it’s followed us around our whole career,” says guitarist John-Angus MacDonald when asked about the band’s long relationship with major sporting events.

Back in 2004, the Trews knew they’d arrived when their breakthrough single “Not Ready to Go” was the opening theme for the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast of Game 7 of the Toronto Maple Leafs-Ottawa Senators playoff series.

Since then, the band has performed at a couple of NHL Awards shows, sang “O Canada” at the 2010 Grey Cup game and at Blue Jays games, and thrown out first pitches.

MacDonald admits to being more a fan of golf than football. Since moving to Hamilton five years ago, however, he’s come to realize the importance of the Tiger-Cats to his adopted hometown.

“I hear it takes five years for you to be able to call yourself local,” says MacDonald, 38. “So now I’m a local and I feel a connection with the Ticats.”

A native of Antigonish, N.S., MacDonald says his allegiance may switch when the Halifax Schooners enter the CFL.

“My allegiance may have to change to my home province,” he laughs.

MacDonald says the big Ticat fan in the band is bassist Jack Syperek, who lives near Tim Hortons Field and regularly attends the games with his two children.

“Jack goes to the games all the time,” MacDonald says. “He’s invested for sure.”

The hardest part of playing a halftime show — besides the pressure of the national live broadcast — is picking which songs to do during the abbreviated set.

“The CFL actually came to us with requests, which I thought was kind of cool,” he says. “We’re doing two songs for TV and one for the crowd, a new one and an old one for TV, and another old one for the crowd.”

Expect the new song to be “Vintage Love,” the latest single off the band’s Juno-nominated album Civilianaires. The song was co-produced by friend and fellow Hamiltonian Max Kerman of the Arkells.

“He was coming by the house a couple of years ago and I was playing him all my demos for the record and he was making all these great suggestions,” MacDonald said.

“I said, ‘Max you’d be a great producer, great set of ears, great instincts. And what you’re doing is very hot right now.’

“When it comes to this stuff, it’s all about chemistry, all about new things clicking.”
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