The Tragically Hip at 930 Club review; 10-19-09
October 20, 7:04 PMDC
Live Music Clubs Examiner Michael Bogarthttp://www.examiner.com/x-4555-DC-Live- ... iew-101909
Gordon Downie is nothing if not one of the most entertaining front men in all of modern rock. That's right. It's been said. Downie's on, and off-stage antics last night at the 930 Club were a show in and of themselves. The lower half of Dave Matthews and the upper half of Michael Stipe essentially form Downie's presence. The Tragically Hip front man led the Canadian rock heroes through two riveting sets spanning their entire catalog in front of a near-sold out crowd at one of DC's finest indoor venues.
Kicking things off at just after 8PM, Downie, Paul Langlois and Rob Baker (guitars), Gord Sinclair (bass) and Johnny Fay (drums), led the evening strong with a rocking 'New Orleans is Sinking'. It was clear early Downie was in a chatty mood, yammering on about the excitement in DC at the 930 Club "at 930" (even though it was 8-something) before the band laced in to tracks like '100th Meridian', 'Don't Wake Daddy', 'Courage', and 'Gift Shop'.
Downie was awfully playful with the crowd to include numerous hair plucks that were feignly eaten; asking folks if they "remember when you decided to get that awful haircut, do you remember when you decided to grow that goatee?"; singing lyrics in the face of many front-row-goers as if he was having a personal conversation; and some of the most entertaining facial expressions and uses of a hankerchief ever seen in a live setting. He must be singlehandedly keeping some hankerchief company in business as more than two dozen were draped over his face, tossed around ala David Copperfield, bicycled like mini soccer balls, and generally distributed to fans through whatever physical means striked Downie that reflected the lyrics at the time.
They also showcased some strong tracks from their latest release We Are The Same, including 'Coffee Girl', to which Downie opined, "Who doesn't like a good cup of coffee?"; 'Morning Moon', and 'Love is a First'. A strong second set kicked off with the boys pulling it together more intimately for a sweet rendition of 'Music at Work'. Other showcased second set highlights include 'Bobcaygeon', 'Fiddler's Green', and 'Ahead by a Century', to me the show's highlight. While a few sweet tracks were missed, including 'Pigeon Camera', the Hip brought more than two hours of music through two sets that entertained fans both very young and very old. Their reach beyond our northern borders may be limited, but it was hard not to overhear a few Canadian fans explain how insane it was to see them in such an intimate setting.