Rocking the live music scene

When Barry Bellchambers acquired the Whitehorse Lions Pool in 2004, filled it, and created the Yukon Convention Centre, he had a vision of bringing live music to the Yukon. Classic rock bands like April Wine, Nazareth, Randy Bachman, Steve Earle, and Dr. Hook all performed in Whitehorse as part of Bellchambers’ efforts.

That era of flying in live music has long passed, but the Coast High Country Inn, in partnership with Air North Yukon’s Airline, is planning to resurrect big rock shows at their new for 2018 branded Coast Convention Centre.

This new era of live music launches in January with The Trews performing, and is just the beginning according to Northern Vision Development’s Food and Beverage Manager, David Branigan.

“The Trews on Friday, January 12th are the first offering and a crackling way to kick things off,” Branigan said via email. “Other acts we are negotiating with are Alan Doyle, Delhi to Dublin, 54-40, DOA and Doc Walker, with a DJ set scheduled for Halloween (2018).“

The Trews are a hard rock band from Antigonish, Nova Scotia with five studio album releases and multiple Juno nominations to their credit. Their first two albums, House of Ill Fame and Den of Thieves, both went gold in Canada. While they’re described as hard rock, they don’t really consider genre when creating songs, according to guitarist and founding band member John-Angus MacDonald.

“I guess generally we still live in the hard rock world,” MacDonald said via email. “We just write the kind of songs we write, and play how we play, and it comes out sounding how it does. What we’ve been most interested in over the years is evolving as songwriters and being more effective communicators.”

The Trews got their first big break in 2002 when they won Rocksearch, a high-profile contest held by a radio station in St. Catharines, Ontario. Since then, they’ve been part of some big events, but the best part of performing is their relationship with their fans at their concerts.

“We’ve had so many memorable concert experiences, from opening for the Rolling Stones, to playing for the Canadian troops in Dubai, to sharing the stage with Bruce Springsteen during his encore,” said MacDonald. “But mostly I enjoy our own headlining shows the best. It’s great when the stage is yours and you’re free to let the night take you where it will.

The Trews have toured extensively, and while this trip is their first visit to the Yukon, they’ve been to Canada’s North before. The band performed in Yellowknife just this past summer for the first time and also performed in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2011. The Yukon trip is still a bit of an adventure, though.

“Having never played up there before, we’re not too sure what to expect, but we’re looking forward to figuring it out,” MacDonald said. “Hopefully there will be a little time for some sight seeing and what not.”

Their success on the Canadian rock scene has translated into new opportunities for MacDonald and he’s branched out into production. “I’ve been doing a lot of producing for other acts and bands over the past five years or so,” MacDonald said. “The most well known being the Glorious Sons, whose debut EP and subsequent album, The Union, I produced.”

The Trews will be one of the largest rock acts to perform in Whitehorse in a few years and may be the start of a new era of live music acts in the Yukon. Anyone looking for more information about the concert can contact the Coast High Country Inn at 867-667-4471 and tickets are available through

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