Students from Williamsville’s Academy of Theatre Arts, shown here performing at a the 2012 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, will be included in a new theater education program sponsored by Shea’s Performing Arts Program and iTheatrics. (Performers left to right: Emerson Adams, Michelle Tetro, Emma Lawley, Sidney Lawley and Angelina Capozzolo)

On paper, it seemed like a strange union - Tragically Hip poet and frontman non pareil Gord Downie, teaming with Torontonian punk-roots collective the Sadies. The Hip, after all, are much more abstract expressionist painting than they are rootsy Americana rendering. How would it all work out?

More than well, as it turns out. “Gord Downie, the Sadies, and the Conquering Sun” is a brutally compelling marriage of disparate influences that finds Downie forging strange and beautiful melodies to carry evocative lyric-poems, while the Sadies bring the din, crafting country-punk riffs and hellacious chord sequences, and generally summoning the devil to do the angels’ work. It’s a masterpiece in miniature, one of those unexpected musical unions that, once you wrap your head around it, seems like it has always been there.

We’re lucky to claim one of the few tour stops on Downie & the Sadies’ summer tour. The group headlines at Canalside next Thursday, with guests Hey Rosetta and Boy & the Bear. Admission is free, and the show kicks off at 6 p.m. sharp.

– Jeff Miers

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