Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre
With a big sound, solid mix, and minimal crowd patter, it's easy to forget that Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre is actually a live album and not just a best-of from Winnipeg's the Weakerthans. Unlike a lot of live albums, the sound on this one doesn't try to re-create a booming stadium show, but instead captures a more intimate concert experience. The warm guitars and easygoing demeanor of singer John K. Samson create an inviting space for listeners to immerse themselves in. The whole thing ends up feeling more like sitting in on a casual jam session than being packed into a venue with a thousand screaming fans, which works really well with the Weakerthans style of relaxed indie rock. Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre isn't so much about feeling the heat of the crowd or the sweat coming off of the band, as about witnessing a group of musicians who enjoy their craft doing what they do best. To aid in this, the album comes packaged with a DVD (complete with 5.1 mix) of the performance to let fans put themselves in the crowd to see the uncut show. While a live album is normally a bit of fan service to appease the folks who can't make it out to live shows, this album feels like it captures the band well enough to service both longtime fans and anyone unfamiliar with them.