Geist - - Endnotes - —roni Simunovic

The first thing John K. Sam­son (for­merly of the band the Weak­erthans) said when he and his band stepped on­stage at the Com­modore Ball­room on Fe­bru­ary 2 was, “Hi, we’re a mid­dleaged soft rock band from Win­nipeg, Man­i­toba.” Sam­son, a small, scruffy man with boy­ish charm and an imp­ish stage pres­ence, smiled as he sang. In the lull be­tween two songs, he took a swig from a pa­per cup at his feet and said to some­one in the crowd, barely au­di­ble in the mic, “It is pep­per­mint tea, good nose.” He told the crowd that he’d never done karaoke be­cause he didn’t know what to do with his hands when he sang if he wasn’t hold­ing a gui­tar. He then passed his gui­tar to some­one stand­ing in the front row and said, “Hold onto this for me. Wow, this is scary. See you on the other side,” and sang “The Last And” with his hands free while he wan­dered around the stage and wagged the mi­cro­phone cord back and forth. The crowd cheered and shouted, “You’re do­ing so great!” A guy in a Jets jersey knocked back shots of whiskey at the bar. Pairs of mid­dleaged women wear­ing hood­ies danced with gusto and groups of dowdy folks in sweaters and glasses nursed craft

beer in plas­tic cups along with gawky bearded men who swayed awk­wardly to the music. When the band played “One Great City!”—the Weak­erthans’ snarky ode to their love-hate re­la­tion­ship with Win­nipeg—a lady in front of me leaned to­ward her friend and yelled, “He’s be­ing ironic! He loves Win­nipeg!”

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