So far, 2012 has proven to be a banner year for Canadian rock perennials.
Omemee, Ontario’s favorite son, Neil Young, hgas reigned supreme throughout the year, taking his Crazy Horse out of pasture and back on the road for what is regarded as his finest tour in years. A pair of better-than-expected albums and a big-selling autobiography has only fueled his latest renaissance.
Casting a shadow over Young’s latest return in many camps is Rush who, after years of being ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame powers that be, were placed on the ballot last month. Having also experienced a return to the limelight, starting with the stellar 2010 documentary “Beyond the Lighted Stage” and continuing with this year’s mighty impressive full-length “Clockwork Angels,” Rush are expected to cap off an already noteworthy year as shoo-ins for this year’s R&RHOF class.
Ontario’s Tragically Hip are celebrating a milestone of their own this year; 25 years ago, the modern rock five-piece released their first effort, a self-titled EP, and will celebrate their third decade as a band next year.
Oft compared to R.E.M. on the surface musically and otherwise (front man Gord Downie’s onstage gyrations bore resemblance to those of his compadre to the south Michael Stipe), the Hip can now be classified as a Canadian rock institution a-la Rush and Young.
On their side of the border, Hip sets can generally be counted on to chart at or mighty close to the penthouse on the Canadian rock album charts and sell out venues throughout the homeland. Stateside, the band has and remains a cult favorite, with a particular hold with Windy City music fans in the know.
While R.E.M. scrambled to fill the void left by departing drummer Bill Berry in 1996, the Hip proved to be a more consistent alternative with sets such as 1998’s “Phantom Power,” which features the near-hit “Poets,” 2000’s “Music @ Work” and 2002’s “In Violet Light.” The remainder of the 00’s, though, found the Hip arguably going through the motions artistically and cashing in on their legacy.
With October’s “Now for Plan A,” it seems as if the Hip have reconnected with their muse. Inspired where past sets were lacking and sturdy from front to back, “Plan A” draws comparisons – and all for the good – to “Phantom” and “Music,” which is as worth celebrating as their quarter century milestone.
The Tragically Hip, 8 p.m. Nov. 3, Riviera Theatre, 4746 N. Racine Ave., Chicago. $37.50 (18 and older show). FYI: 275-6800, JAMUSA.COM
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For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Fema Kuti, Jan. 21 Metro (18 and older show, METROCHICAGO.COM)
Naked Raygun, Dec. 31, Cobra Lounge (21 and older, COBRALOUNGE.COM)
Company of Thieves, Dec. 28, Metro (METROCHICAGO.COM)
Dave Matthews Band, Dec, 5, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Pete Wentz, Dec. 1, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Cornmeal, Nov. 23, Vic Theatre (JAMUSA.COM)
Awolnation, Dec. 1, Aragon Ballroom (JAMUSA.COM)
Emeli Sande, Jan. 22, Lincoln Hall (21 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
D.J. Pauly D, Dec. 22 The Venue at Horseshoe Casino, (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
The opinions expressed solely are those of the writer. Tim Shellberg can be reached at T.firstname.lastname@example.org.