PREVIEW: The Trews return for a third dose of Cap Ex

There’s a certain sense this year that the headline shows at Cap Ex — much like the annual lineup at the Blues Fest — are verging towards the secure.

Still, as with Cam Hayden’s annual party in the park, it’s hard to knock organizers for filling Cap Ex’s lineup with Canadian road warriors, like last night’s show by Terri Clark and tonight’s by Nova Scotia’s The Trews, who played the show in 2010 and 2008. If the pattern continues, we can expect them to be replaced by Paul Brandt and Our Lady Peace next year.

Back before they were named after a pair of Scottish trousers, The Trews were a cover band doing Tragically Hip tunes in college bars across the Maritimes. They wrote a killer first CD for a radio-won record deal — 2003’s Gordie Johson-produced House of Ill fame –changed their name and haven’t looked back since.

Of course, the name change had to happen quickly: their old name, trouser, was someone else’s trademark and they had to put something on the front of the CD. So they brainstormed over a weekend and came up with the Trews, for reasons Mike Ross uncovers in this recent interview. ““Now that’s a really hard thing to do,” guitarist John-Angus MacDonald told Gig City.

“It’s hard thing to do when you have all the time in the world. Naming a record is hard, let alone naming a band.”

Now, the band is hot both in Canada and Australia, has opened for the Stones and Robert Plant, has a bunch of music awards, Juno nominations, three more studio CDs (including the recently released Hope and Ruin, reviewed here by Michael Senchuk) and two live CDs. And they seem to have good luck here, with a string of killer gigs, including a 2008 show where they were bellowed onto stage by Gene Simmons in one of the more memorable Cap Ex moments in recent years.

“We’ve met a lot of people over the years,” vocalist Colin MacDonald told media at the time. “We got to meet the Rolling Stones when we opened for them. It’s all the same deal, because they’re all relatively normal people who tend to be really talented or just really lucky,”

Trewer words were never spoken.

The Trews play the Cap Ex mainstage tonight, gates at 8 p.m. The show is free with admission to the fair grounds.