Greg MacPherson Plays Intense Sunday Show
by Chris Hibbard
written for LABeat.com
Greg MacPherson plays intense Sunday show
With a hypnotic opener and a kick-start into one of his latest songs, Winnipeg’s talented Greg MacPherson kept a small but attentive audience eating out of the palm of his hand on Sunday evening.
This incredibly gifted self-taught guitar player was polite, friendly and modest; and with an engaging personality that runs contrary to his shredded fingernails and long list of Canadian festival music awards (including a prestigious nomination on the list of best album’s for this year’s national Polaris prize.)
Touring in support of Mr. Invitation, his fifth official full-length album since 1997, MacPherson (pronounced with a ‘-fur’ sound) was hitting up Lethbridge for the first time in three years, just wrapping up the last leg of his latest tour. Having released albums on the now defunct Winnipeg-based G7 Welcoming Committee and Smallman independent record labels, MacPherson has toured the country many times in the past in support of his solo records, often with members of other great Winnipeg scene musicians, including The Weakerthans and Propagandhi.
After an enthusiastic opening set by local heroes The Darby and Joan Club, The Slice became the forum for a spontaneous and improvisational performance by this underappreciated Canadian songsmith, who carefully balanced a mix of full out rockers with some softer flourishes.
With huge choruses and finger-shredding solos found in Good Times and First Class, MacPherson presented a diverse group of songs from throughout his 15-year career. As this small man controlled the room with a huge distinctive voice, a young and talented rhythm section kept every beat beside him. With MacPherson and his friends decked out in sharp three-piece suits, frantically playing for an engaged crowd, songs about broken dreams, playing games of chance and simple blue-collar Canadian living have never sounded so good. It was a high-energy performance; with MacPherson’s vocal tone, range and dynamic delivery dominating the room, propelled by inventive guitar rhythms and a backing duo that creatively controlled the tempo.
Happy to oblige when the small crowd called for an encore, the Greg Macpherson trio provided us with heartfelt classics like West St. James and California, before presenting one brand new song that they had never played on stage as a group. After playing eighteen songs and thanking the crowd for their polite dedication, MacPherson even hinted that we may see another a new album out as early as January of next year.
Then it was over – this motivated songwriter and talented lyricist disabling his latest tour before returning to his day job in Winnipeg, his lyrics having yet again captured the hearts of fans new and old alike. But thanks to some of Manitoba’s most talented musicians, Sunday night acted as a killer kick-off to a brand new week.