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Hard-rocking Trews can still surprise

Tremendously popular Canadian quartet. Walls of throttling guitars behind the arena-ready wail of a plaintive, stylish frontman. Deliveries of diesel-powered tracks that complement the fist pumps of black-clad rock droves.

These specifications may lead some to match The Trews with its country’s famously divisive brethren, Nickelback. But for those familiar with the latter’s near 20-year rise from Nova Scotia bar band to opener for Bruce Springsteen, this comparison is either oversimplified or straight fallacy, as proven throughout the variation of the band’s five studio albums and fleet of Top 10 Canadian rock radio singles.

Yes, the Colin MacDonald-led act checks all the Canadian rock boxes, adhering to a guitar-worshipping tradition that’s weaved through such northern luminaries as the Guess Who, Tragically Hip and Headstones. But its arrangement variations and genre flexibility—unrolled on both 2016 releases “Time Capsule” and "Acoustic: Friends & Total Strangers"—make the band unpredictable enough to surprise.

The Trews: 8 p.m. Dec. 29 at Town Ballroom (681 Main St.). Opening is First Ward and The Black River.  Tickets are $20-$25 (Ticketfly, box office).

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