Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Tragically Hip bring Canada to the States

by Velouria

At first glance, it was a typical Saturday night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Fans were packed in tight and there was an air of excitement that comes with the collective knowledge that in this venue, anything can happen. With a closer look, one realized that this crowd was not the normal 9:30 Club hipster crowd. There were hockey jerseys, mullets -- even she-mullets, and a bunch of people walking around with very peculiar pronunciations of "out" and "about." Of course, this crowd was approximately 90% Canadian. Many were Canadian-Americans, but some Hip-heads traveled from Canada to follow the Hip around on their US tour of small venues.

The Tragically Hip are not only Canadian, they belong to Canada. They are to Canada what U2 is to Ireland, native sons who love their country and whose country embraces them with enormous pride. Unfortunately they are not remotely close to being what U2 is to the US. It defies explanation that this band, with a tenure of almost 20 years, who sells out 20,000+ stadiums in a neighboring country, has never caught on with Americans. We have embraced hockey; their comedians; their actors; their pop-stars such as Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, and Alanis Morrisette, but not their greatest rock band. If an American has even heard of the Hip, it's likely that they were introduced to the band by a Canadian, as I was.

The Tragic thing for "hip" Americans is that they are missing out on a really great rock band at a time when there seems to be a dearth of quality rock music. They are true music veterans and they have a substance and grit that has garnered them comparisons to the Rolling Stones, REM, and U2. While there is truth in each of those comparisons, they have a sound and a voice that is their own. They are rock and roll with some blues and a little bit of country. Their music is based on simple chord progressions, but its many layers and textures give it a unique depth. Their frontman, Gordon Downie, is simply one of the best. His strong, unique voice grabs you and then holds your attention with some of the best storytelling lyrics of our time. His lyrics, whether about a depressed polar bear or a dead hockey player, are true poetry.

This band is also one of the best live bands currently touring. Their show at the 9:30 club last Saturday opened with "As Makeshift As We Are," a raw, rocking tune from their recently released In Between Evolution. The crowd was definitely in to this song and other tracks from the new album, but erupted and sang along to old, familiar favorites such as their second song, "Grace, Too." Other highlights were an amazing performance of "Bobcaygeon" and the new country-bluesy "It won't be Nashville Every Night." Downie, when not harnessed by an acoustic guitar, was a frenetic, gyrating contortionist. Gordon Sinclair (Bass, vocals) and Johnny Fay (Drums) were one of the most solid rhythm sections I have ever seen live. Rob Baker (Guitar) and Paul Langlois (rhythm Guitar, vocals) wove in licks that were sometimes edgy and other times delicate. Together they put on a show definitely worth going to see.

The Hip are headed out to Texas and the West Coast and will return to the Northeast and East Coast at the end of October, so be sure to catch them if you can.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Franz Ferdinand stings Sting

Alex Kapranos, frontman for new media darlings Franz Ferdinand, took on a music legend who may be on tantric overload. In a recent interview, Kapranos explained how appalled he was when he saw an interview where Sir Stingdom apparently revealed how he had to be in a certain tower in his mansion, surrounded by candles, to be able to write a song. An excacerbated Kapranos says Sting is "distanced from reality." Could be all that yoga going to his head.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Tears for Fears

ok, so I owned "Songs from the Big Chair" in the 80s and would sing "Shout...Shout...Let it all out..." as I cruised around Harford County, MD in my buddy's MG.

But, I just watched the Tears boys on Leno and I must say that some comebacks are not meant to be. Maybe a one off for a VH1 special reunion, but new originals from Tears for Fears are not working for me. I love the 80's, but some things are best left in the past.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Rock Alert

DC favorites "Confidence Man" sent us this note today:

Dear friend,

In this time of political mud-slinging, it is difficult to distinguish truth from fiction. But one thing is for certain: Confidence Man was never in Vietnam. We did not hump through the jungle. We did not chase down Charlie. We were never in Cambodia, especially not on Christmas, and we were most definitely not in "the sh--."

However, had we been there, we would have done our best to rock.

Come hear us rock this Saturday night at Chief Ike's Mambo Room in Adams-Morgan (Washington DC). Check out for maps and details.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

rapper angers conservatives

think I'm talking about the Eminem and Bill O'Reilly wars here in the US? Nope, Iran.

Following Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, all but classical or religious music was banned. But restrictions eased after the landslide victory of reformist President Muhammad Khatami in the 1997 elections. Even with "reform" it took four years for the "Culture Ministry" and only approved the album after deleting six songs from his original 10.

Just a reminder of how nice it is to still have a 1st Amendment here in the States.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Liz Berlin dates...

Earvolution friend Liz Berlin emailed to let us know that she and Rusted Root bandmate Jenn Wertz have scheduled some new acoustic dates:

September 11, 2004
Mr. Smalls Theatre
400 Lincoln Ave. Millvale, PA 15209 (near Pittsburgh)
With: Box Step, Anthony Fugate & Friends….
8:00 pm, All Ages,,Only $5.00
And free beer if you are of age . . . wow!!

Other upcoming shows:

September 10, 2004
Generations, 10pm, $5 cover (over 21 show)
338 National Road
Wheeling, WV

September 17, 2004
Blue Moose Cafe
248 Walnut St
Morgantown, WV 26505

Thursday, September 02, 2004

U2's Bono talks about AIDS

Something we need more of...actual discussion on important issues.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!