The Aspen Times- Tonight: ‘world’s tallest midgets’

Tonight: ‘world’s tallest midgets’

Belly Up brings talent from north of the border

ASPEN — It’s a big-name rock band headlining at Belly Up Aspen on Monday. Tragically, The Hip probably doesn’t ring a bell.

The Tragically Hip, better known simply as The Hip to their fans, are hugely popular north of the border, but the Canadian quintet has never hit mainstream success in the States. Consequently, a band that plays sold-out arena shows at home, judging from several web bios, appears in smaller venues and clubs below the boarder. The band heads from Aspen to the Boulder Theatre on Tuesday before turning south for dates in Texas and New Orleans.

Drummer Johnny Fay reportedly once quipped that being the biggest band in Canada is “like being the world’s tallest midgets.”

The heights of their U.S. success not withstanding, these guys were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005. They’ve got some 10 studio albums, a couple of compilations and a box set to their credit since emerging from Kingston, Ontario in 1983.

Their latest, “World Container” was released in Canada late last year and in March in the United States. The third track “In View” quickly charted in Canada — the latest in a long string of homeland hits for the band.

When the group played Halifax, Nova Scotia last month, reviewer Stephen Cooke of The Chronicle Herald in Halifax, wrote: “Few Canadian bands thrive in the bloodstreams of their listeners like The Tragically Hip.”

The band’s current lineup features Rob Baker on lead guitar, Gordon Downie on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, drummer Fay, Paul Langlois handling rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Gord Sinclair on bass and backing vocals.

Opening for The Hip is up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter Joel Plaskett and his band, Emergency, touring in support of their 2007 release, “Ashtray Rock.”

The band is dubbed Joel Plaskett Emergency; Plaskett has several East Coast Music Awards to his credit in Canada, including male artist of the year, single of the year and songwriter of the year.

Tickets to Monday’s Belly Up show are $40. The music starts at 10 p.m., after Monday Night Football (the Giants at Atlanta) on the club’s big screen. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the football (no cover until the music). 450 S. Galena St.

Also on Monday: Aspen Community Church hosts the Shooting Stars Concert at 7:30 p.m. featuring singer/songwriter Steve Brook from Spain. Hear his John Denver tribute song, “Shooting Stars,” and learn about its connection with Laurie Olson’s new book of the same name. $10 donation. 200 E. Bleeker St.