Thursday, May 07, 2009

Loving the Tragically Hip - A Fan Lives in Boston


Wake up music lovers; it’s not too late to fall for the Tragically Hip! Canada's finest export, the band have released fourteen rock albums - each a personal favorite. Their latest; We Are The Same, just emerged last month. The band brings those new songs in tow, arriving in town to play the House of Blues Boston on Saturday (5/9/09). This is one show you will not want to miss!

The Hip are something of a national treasure in Canada, and along with Labatt’s Blue they’re a popular import in American border towns like Buffalo and Detroit. Their shows are epic, where the energy between the crowd and the band expands to fill hockey arenas for eighteen-song sets. When guitarist Paul Langlois plays an opening riff, it sets off a carefully-planned explosion of music!

Singer Gordon Downie is one of rock’s most theatric frontmen. Capable of taking the show in directions at a moment's notice, Downie has been known to spontaneously improvise lyrics (bringing poetic life to songs whose recorded studio versions depend on intrumental bridges or solos.) Famously, these experiments during one tour become the basis for songs on the next album. (And, legends are born?) Watching The Hip perform is a gift. Their shows are never carbon copies of the studio work: the ticket is always worth the price.

COLLECTION FOR KEEPS: The Hip’s albums, for that matter, are never duplicates of one another. Their newest, We Are The Same, again shows the band to be trying out new sounds and new song structures. In “Queen of the Furrows” a mandolin guides the listener in, up until the point that the song slips into tumbling electric guitars. “The Depression Suite” weaves three songs or movements together for over nine minutes, reminding us that our pain and our coping overlap in surprising ways—not to mention the surprising sympathy and ignorance we find in others.

Downie’s spoken interjections in the frantic “Love Is A First” sounds like his live show improvisations, which is fitting since the song’s pre-chorus lyrics “As bad as or worse” come from previous on-stage inventions. At the other end of the same spectrum, “The Last Recluse” reveals the band’s amazing restraint: soft, vocally complex and melodic—almost operatic—the music is constantly on the verge of erupting into something more raucous before being reeled in. The song is, note for note, perfect.

POPULAR SONG THEMES: Recognizable thematic concerns carry over here from other albums—the hardships of rugged work... Small town life in Canadian towns (Up To Here & The Tragically Hip - their self-titled first album), self-reflective tracks and songs from the point of view of wildlife and wilderness (In Between Evolution & In Violet Light), deja vu (Fully Completely), the desperation to be understood (World Container)—we’ve encountered these before.

VIDEO - "The Last Recluse" live
April 27th, 2009 at MSG - NYC

AN EVENING WITH THE HIP: Expect more of the same from The Hip in Boston on Saturday evening. Like their shows back in 2000, The Hip’s performance at the HOB will be An Evening with The Tragically Hip: a complete two set concert with no opening act. Playing around 25 songs, the concert will showcase a number of tracks off the new album and a wide selection of songs from the band’s complete body of work. For those Boston faithful that know The Hip, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by acoustic versions of concert staples and performances of songs you may never have heard live. Tickets for this one are still available!

The Tragically Hip
Web / Myspace
The Hip on the RSL :: Road Apples

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge fan! Saw them last night in are so right, no one should miss them perform live!!!