The Weakerthans
Live At Burton Cummings Theatre


5.0
classic

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
February 10th, 2011 | 37 replies | 6,676 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist


Weakerthans frontman John K. Samson sees insecurity and fragility everywhere he looks. From Bigfoot sightings to the winter Olympics, the world he sees is one where we leave pieces of ourselves wherever we go, on highways and in empty rooms alike. The characters he sketches are scared or emotional but ordinary people, whose thoughts comprise twisted threads through past relationships and future possibilities. But not in an otherworldly, transcendent way; these people are confused and messed up by real life, doubt themselves on a regular basis, and attempt to make some sort of resolution out of everything they feel and do.

In short, Samson writes about his audience, with whom the tender and unbridled introspection of his lyrics resonates hardest because of its proximity to home. Live At Burton Cummings Theatre is what happens when you put a phenomenal songwriter in a room with people he understands. For the duration of the show, it is impossible to imagine any one of the onlookers in this crowd engaged in anything other than the music being played out. Where there are brief and gentle trade-offs between The Weakerthans and their fans, they are subtle and affecting, in the form of soft handclaps or the gentle hum of backing vocals.

Is that not a gig? It might not seem like it any more, in an era where the concert experience has been doubled and tripled and quadrupled by gimmicks and croud participation and lights and smoke and moshpits. But that’s why this album translates so perfectly to a live setting what The Weakerthans have long since been exemplifying in the language of studio records: the tension in the room, the undivided focus on every single picked electric guitar and every split-second of silence before Samson sings another cutting line. These things turn songs into religious experiences, to an extent that it’s easy to imagine the doors on Burton Cummings Theatre closing and shutting off the outside world from this tiny pocket of yearning and connection.

And it’s nice that, for a moment, music which has its soul in the footsteps of busy commuters and the panic and heartbreak of the world outside can escape for a few minutes into itself and those than understand and appreciate it. That’s what The Weakerthans have always offered: a refuge, solace from the complex meanderings of over-worked brains and bodies, because when Samson holds close the best parts of lonely, that doesn’t need explaining. We know what it means, despite even he himself being incapable of describing that emotion in full. And so Live At Burton Cummings Theatre gives people a place to put everything that ever left or is leaving, every birthday card they threw away, every favourite chord and every fire door they ever left open. And that’s why it’s perfect.



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user ratings (47)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
Eric (4.5)
When an artist’s music translates well to a live format, it’s impressive. When the music is so s...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
February 10th 2011



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've had the worst day of my life so I'm going out and getting drunk but I wanted to post this before I did because, well, it fixed me, to some extent at least.

Slum
February 10th 2011



2579 Comments


Very nice review, pos'd. I still have this band on my to do list

mallen-
February 10th 2011



1235 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of the best live albums I've heard

Tyrael
February 10th 2011



20724 Comments


Amazing review Knott.

robin
Emeritus
February 10th 2011



4241 Comments


with whom the tender and unbridled introspection of his lyrics resonates hardest because of its proximity to home. Live At Burton Cummings Theatre is what happens when you put a phenomenal songwriter in a room with people he understands.


yes

guitarplaya91
February 10th 2011



485 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is all I listen to right now. Great review, pos'd.

AggravatedYeti
February 10th 2011



7684 Comments


tbh I still need to listen to this and I'm not quite sure whats been stopping me.

especially after reading this here review

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2011



7136 Comments


Great review Knott - pos.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 10th 2011



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks guys, was nice to get back in and see you enjoyed the review. Now go enjoy the album because it rules. My 3rd 5 of 2010; absolute madness.

JesusChris
February 10th 2011



673 Comments


new words for old desires, and every birthday card I threw away.

BigTuna
February 10th 2011



5154 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Knott don't be sad :{ Awesome review my friend.

Best band ever.

Digging: Common - Nobody's Smiling

guitarplaya91
February 10th 2011



485 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Although I love this band with all my heart, I do like their studio albums better for the energy level. But they are too good live.

couldwinarabbit
February 10th 2011



6996 Comments


So I should get this.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 10th 2011



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You'd love this, Miles.

couldwinarabbit
February 10th 2011



6996 Comments


I missed them live I was really sad/pissed off.

couldwinarabbit
February 10th 2011



6996 Comments


and beauty's just another word I'm never certain how to spell...this is amazing.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
February 10th 2011



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this band

*ahem*


RULES

Knott-
Emeritus
February 10th 2011



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ill go through it all again

(i have 6 and a half times today)

Satellite
February 10th 2011



20676 Comments


and beauties just another word I'm never certain how to spell

* beauty's

Digging: Dikembe - Mediumship

Knott-
Emeritus
February 18th 2011



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is absolutely perfect in every way



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