The pride of Winnipeg, indie-rockers The Weakerthans have never really dazzled sonically, always content to sound like a more serious version of Fountains of Wayne with a sprinkling of alt-country twang. Turns out, that seriousness goes a long way: instead of babbling about sexual advances of the local MILF, lead singer John Samson is more of the nerdy poet type, dolefully singing “I’ll go through it all again, watch their doubtful smiles begin, but the visions that I see believe in me” in a song titled “Bigfoot!” The arrangements may be simple and the chord progressions slightly generic, but there’s a pleasantness behind Samson’s melodies and lyrical flourishes, who wears his dreariness like a badge and spells it out pretty convincingly. “One Great City,” a song with the emphatic chorus “I hate Winnipeg,” reveals a sentiment I thought us Midwesterners had patented: “A darker grey is breaking through a lighter one.” Who needs pure joy or sharp pain when you’ve got sweet, sweet melancholy? (Andy Seifert)
September 25 at Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, (312)929-2022 at 8pm. $17.