Something’s On: Strictly Hip takes on Phantom Power at the Horseshoe

Something’s On: Strictly Hip takes on Phantom Power at the Horseshoe
They’ve even recreated Live Between Us, complete with stage banter. H.: The show at The Kee in August is something we’ve been looking forward to for months. J. This time, it’s Phantom Power, front to back, note for note. This time, they’re playing one of the best-known venues for outdoor shows in the country: Muskoka’s Kee to Bala on Friday, Aug. Hearing songs that aren’t heard often like “Save The Planet” or “The Rules” will get a smile and a fist in the air. So so cool.#thehip #gorddownie
— The Strictly Hip (@TheStrictlyHip) May 27, 2018

And after this show, the band has a few weeks to prepare for the second in the FamilyBand series of shows, fundraisers for the Downie-Wenjack Fund organized by Hoyle and Rob Ferreira, formerly of Courage for Gord and the guy responsible for pre-show parties throughout Ontario during the Hip’s final tour. It’s special for so many reasons. H.: The Tragically Hip fandom is unique in that the band’s catalog is universally appreciated. A year after the first-of-its-kind collaboration with an orchestra, and just months after their first appearance there in their more than 20 years together, Strictly Hip are returning to Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern on July 28th. J. We've been hunkered down in the Voodoo Lounge rehearsal space. It’s been a busy year for the Buffalo-based dual-national band: There was the aforementioned sold-out show with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on the eve of Canada’s 150th birthday; travels through the U.S. It’s both delicate and bombastic. H. Thinking that its under-discussed how important Gord S and Paul's vocals are to @thehipdotcom "sound". Phantom Power gives us some big radio hits and some under the radar fan favourites. Catharines respond to any song in a way that was surprising? H. : The album was released in July of 1998 so celebrating the twentieth anniversary seems appropriate and worthwhile. : I think Phantom Power is incredibly important to The Hip’s artistic growth. How do the Phantom Power shows prepare lead in to the Kee show next month? : There’s an ethereal feel to “Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin’ Man” that is difficult to capture. Hip fans always react positively to this song. : I saw an interview once where Gord Downie paraphrases Henry David Thoreau, “Read a book as deliberately as it was written.” That is our approach to learning and performing a Hip record. Especially @paullanglois101 counter vocals. J. Did the audience in St. In prep for upcoming #PhantomPower album shows… re-examining details and nuances. We’re so excited to be sharing the stage with two incredible Indigenous artists, DJ Shub and My Friend The Moon. 17. J. What’s special about Phantom Power? This summer, it’s all about Phantom Power, The Tragically Hip’s fifth album and the follow-up to the bombshell that is Trouble at the Henhouse. We attempt to be accurate as possible with due respect and honour to its creators. Steve Berlin’s production is a big departure from the previous record, Trouble At The Henhouse. How has the band been preparing for these shows — the one in St Catharines and this one in Toronto? J.H. It’s a reason for Hip fans to gather and celebrate what The Hip have given us all. Typically, when Strictly Hip plays, it’s a mix of old favourites and deep cuts, songs everyone knows and a few surprises — earlier this year, they even picked up the Dallas Green – Gord Downie beauty “Sleeping Sickness.”

But they also do incredible full album recreations, usually of Up to Here, Road Apples and/or Fully Completely. Which song posed the biggest challenge? Show info at
— The Strictly Hip (@TheStrictlyHip) June 28, 2018

Why Phantom Power? The greatest enjoyment? J.H. This year, in honour of Phantom Power’s 20th anniversary, the band has worked diligently to master this album as well. Final preparations for Saturday's Phantom Power show at Warehouse Concert Hall in St. Catharines. and parts of Ontario and even a few trips out to Vegas to perform for hockey fans eager for a little taste of Canada’s band in the middle of the desert — including during the Knights’ unfathomable run for the Cup. The opportunity to learn and create friendships is the whole reason behind Familyband Benefit Concerts. Catharines, was to a capacity crowd that loved every minute. My bandmates have never been to Muskoka so I’m excited for them to experience a little of the north. It’ll be at least the second time this summer the band has played Phantom Power in full; the first one, in St. Jeremy Hoyle, the Canadian-born lead singer of the band, pulled back the curtain to shed a little light on the band’s inspiration for their show at the ‘Shoe on July 28.