2011 Advent Calendar

Tragically Hip

2 : The Tragically Hip

July 14, 2011

“take a look at this photograph
clearly his teeth were bare
he could of been yawning or snarling
the story was never clear”

Yawning or Snarling, The Tragically Hip

Hard to believe that Smalltown Bringdown came out just over 24 years ago. I've been a fan since.

This shot is from the Edmonton show in July, 2011. I was able to get close enough to get some decent shots with my iPhone. Most of them were Hipstamtic.

This was a regular shot with the iPhone camera. The original version is a little 'rough' so I cropped it and converted it to a high contrast black and white.

If you've ever been to a show, you know this scene. No frills. Just some lights and great music. If you're lucky, Gordie will ramble for you.

If you've never been to show, I highly recommend it—before it's too late.

Over the years, I've listened to the music enough that I have some very distinct memories associated with the songs and albums.


I first heard Smalltown Bringdown when I moved to Calgary to attend the U of C. I remember being in Toronto in March of 1988 and trying to find out if they were playing anywhere near downtown where I was staying. No luck.


Driving from Calgary to Fort McMurray in a Pontiac Firefly listening to the Up to Here cassette over and over because it's the only tape we had.


Hungover in a Ford Ranger pickup with 2 other guys going snowboarding - Little Bones and Twist My Arm blaring on the stereo.


Fully Completely comes out. First time to a show at Max Bell in Calgary.


Another Roadside attraction at Clarke Stadium with the Hip and Midnight Oil (among others). Gordie with a scruffy beard.

I remember the wind picking up and lightning flashing in the distance behind the stage. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I heard Nautical Disaster mixed into the middle of New Orleans is Sinking.


Day for Night came out in 1994. The Hip are now playing the big arenas in Canada. We drive to Lethbridge to see them in a smaller venue instead of the Saddledome in Calgary. It was a good choice.


I didn't pick up Trouble at the Henhouse when it came out. I remember hearing some of it on the radio. Finally, on a trip to Winnipeg, I needed a CD for the rental car, so I bought it - mostly because of 700 ft Ceiling.


In the fall of '97, I begin frequent trips between Edmonton and Calgary. Most of these were on board the Red Arrow. It's impossible to estimate how may times I listened to Live Between Us on these trips.


Phantom Power tour in Edmonton. The one and only time I go to see the band in a big arena.


I live in Edmonton, now. We've all made it through Y2K. Music @ Work comes out. I think Tiger the Lion just may be the worst song ever released by the Hip. It takes me 10 years to come around to the song.

(side note: as I was typing this, Music @ Work starts playing on my iTunes)

Napster comes out and we're all able to download the Highway Girl Double Suicide and the New Orleans is Sinking Killer Whale Tank versions. Yay for technology.


2 more studio albums are released: In Violet Light and In Between Evolution. I bought both when they came out, listened to In Violet Light steady and remembering seeing The Darkest One video with the Trailer Park Boys and Don Cherry delivering fried chicken.

Front row seats for a concert at the Jubilee Auditorium. Great show. We all pay for our tickets by giving the money to the wife of the guy that bought them - presumably for safekeeping since we were all drinking. I find out later that she lost it all.


The kids get involved. I catch Craig dancing to In View and record it. Many laughs.


We hadn't planned to go see the band outdoors at Northlands, but we score some tickets and off we go. The crowd is much smaller than it should be. I shoot the picture above and a whole series in Hipstamtic. When the band plays In View, Cheryl reminds me how much Craig's version is like Gordie's on stage.

It's been 18 years, but this time I'm sure I see Nautical Disaster played in the middle of New Orleans is Sinking.

We are the Same has been out for 2 years and I just discover it a few weeks ago thanks to this great video using 3 songs from the album. I buy the album on iTunes immediately after seeing it. It's different, but could be their best.

Instagram Hip

At the same show as the shot above, I did a whole series in Hipstamatic and published to Flickr. Being so very clever, I called it The Hip in Hipstamatic.

In View was playing on the stereo one day. Craig grabbed a tupperware lid and got right into it. I grabbed the camera and started rolling. To make the sound quality better, I replaced the video's orginal sound with the song in iMovie.