Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sens Win!!!

The Senators win! Stanley Cup bound! Alfredsson scored the game winner, in overtime. Huzzah!

Big thanks to 100.5 Sports Radio. I thought that I'd have to follow it on the 30 second update on the internet. Yay Sens. Boo NBC.

Spitting Nails

I'm so fucking mad right now. Who the fuck cares about the fucking Preakness? I sure as shit don't. I hate fucking horses and the fuckers that preempt the overtime Senators game. Those fucking bastards.

"I'm Excited To Be In The Presence Of So Many Canadians"

On Tuesday I went with Mary to go see one of my long-time favorite bands, the Tragically Hip. Ever since I saw the video for "My Music At Work" on MuchMusic back in 2000 I have had a fascination with this band. I bought Music @ Work several weeks afterwards when I fortuitously happened upon it while stopping for smokes at the Den on State Street. I bought it strictly for that one song, and at the time I recall thinking that I had made a mistake in buying it. However, after a few years I grew into really enjoying the entire album. Several years later, I found In Violet Light and added that to the collection. Two years ago I came across In Between Evolution, which was immediately one of my favorite albums of the year. I've been listening the Hip for some time now, but it has always seemed like I was the only one. Despite my continual efforts to promote this band to my friends, no one ever seems interested. The notable exception to this is my sister - perhaps it's something in the genes.

The Tragically Hip are a Canadian band. They've been around for over twenty years and are often called Canada's biggest rock band. However, their impact in the U.S. of A. is limited. This Tuesday's show was the first time I had a chance to see the Hip. I don't know why, but the Hip just aren't that popular here. Whereas they sell out arenas in the Great White North, I was able to see them in a relatively cozy venue - the Barrymore Theater. I wrangled Mary into coming because she had told me at New Years that she'd seen the Hip, and she didn't like them at all. I was incapable of comprehending this, so I insisted she come along. I even loaned her my entire Hip catalogue, including the new World Container.

Prior to the show I extended my proselytization to include fish tacos along with Canadian rock. Just down the road from the Barrymore is Tex Tubb's Taco Palace, which has quickly become E Eugene's and my favorite venue on the near East Side. My claims to the deliciousness of the blacked tilapia tacos was met, as always, with scepticism. Much like the Tragically Hip, I just can't seem to convince my friends of how good these are. Regardless, the non-aquatic tacos at Tex Tubb's stand on their own merits - I ordered one shredded beef along with my two tilapia tacos. Coupled with a Negro Modelo, it was the perfect start to the evening.

The opening band was another Canadian act called Wintersleep. I hadn't heard of them prior to the show, and I didn't have a chance to look them up either. So I was pleasantly surprised when they started playing. They have a fuzzy indie-rock sound that is spiced up with very powerful drumming. Both Mary and I were highly impressed, and I bought a copy of their latest untitled album. The lead singer indicated that they had just finished recording a new album, and played several songs off of it. These were the set favorites for Mary, and I agree that these were excellent songs. However, my favorite of the set was "Jaws of Life" off of the untitled album that I purchased. The audience was initially indifferent, but by the end of their set, Wintersleep had the people on their feet and wanting more.

We went down to the front for the Tragically Hip. As Mary and I stood in the crowd that was beginning to matriculate to the front of the stage, she told me that the reason she didn't like the Hip before was due to the stage antics of the lead singer, Gordon Downie. Because of this, she tried to stake out a spot behind a tall man, so she wouldn't have to see Downie that much. I find this strange, but I also focus more on the sound rather than the looks of the band. However, I do recall seeing a few acts where I was put off by the actions or movements of the performer. This tends to come into play when one is unsold or indifferent to a band. Having never seen the Hip live before, I knew nothing about this.

The Tragically Hip came onstage to a raucous reaction from the crowd. It was fairly obvious that a good deal of the audience was reliving a bit of their youth. The Hip opened with "Yer Not The Ocean," the leading track from World Container. A band like the Tragically Hip proves an interesting case in the problems associated with being in a band over 20 years. Do you play the hits that made you famous, or do you keep pressing the new stuff? I think that the Hip are more U2 than Foreigner. They played about half of the new album, and scattered the old hits, some of which I knew, and some that I didn't, among the more recent songs. The energy level was high, and the crowd was really into the songs. One strange moment came about three songs into the show: after explaining some of the lyrics to "The Dire Wolf" off of In Violet Light, Gordon Downie walked off stage for about two minutes. Several songs later, he said he was "done being sick" before playing "Luv(Sic)" off their newest. I don't know for sure, but maybe dinner didn't set so well. He should have had the fish tacos.

As the show started early, so did it end. The band played their encore and the lights came on a little after ten. To tell the truth, I was somewhat relieved. After all, I did have to work the next morning. Having seen the Tragically Hip, I can now say that I'm even more a fan. I can see Mary's qualms with the prancing about by Downie on stage, but it's nothing that I haven't seen before. It's even tame compared to Th' Legendary Shackshakers. And although I didn't have Mary raving about the Hip afterwards, she did ask to hang onto my four albums a bit more, so as to give them another listen. That's how it starts.

If I had to come up any regrets, I would say there were a good number of songs that I would have liked to hear. The Hip didn't play anything off of In Between Evolution, which is my favorite of the albums that I own. Also, at the merch table there was a sweet Tragically Hip hockey jersey that I wanted so much. The price was well beyond my wallet's capacity. Maybe they didn't adjust the prices to U.S. dollars. Regardless, it was a great time. I hope that they make the trip down again soon.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

"Just take everything down to Highway 61"

I find myself on yet another trip up to the northern reaches of Minnesota. This time I get to travel up Highway 61 on the North Shore. You can bet that I'll be playing Highway 61 Revisited along the way. At least now the weather is relatively decent, and for the first time in what seems like forever, I made it to the hotel before night descended. While I don't relish the thought of spending most of my Friday in MN instead of playing nine with my father, sacrifices do need to be made from time to time.