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Strictly Hip to play Las Vegas before Sabres game

When the Buffalo Sabres play the Las Vegas Golden Knights in Vegas on Tuesday, the day will have a hometown feel for the blue and gold.

Strictly Hip, Buffalo's popular Tragically Hip cover band, will perform a special "tailgate" concert before the game at the Brooklyn Bridge Stage of the New York New York Hotel & Casino at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The band originally received a phone call about the gig a few months back, but it didn't come up again until the beginning of October, said frontman Jeremy Hoyle who was scrambling to put together all the logistics for the out-of-town show last week, which he called a "fly-in" appearance.

"You bring your instruments and carry-on your guitars on the plane," he said. "Everything else is rented. We travel pretty well."

The music of the Tragically Hip, and therefore Strictly Hip, goes well with hockey. Members of the Canadian rock band are hockey fans and have multiple songs that tell stories about the sport including "Fifty Mission Cap" and its tale of the mystery surrounding Toronto Maple Leaf Bill Barilko.

As a result, Strictly Hip has performed often for the Buffalo Sabres, as well as at other hockey-related events for teams including the Rochester Americans and Chicago Blackhawks.

"The band's music and hockey go hand-in-hand," Hoyle said of the Tragically Hip. "There are a lot of Tragically Hip songs that deal directly with hockey stories or name-check players. I think it's more of the total immersion into Canadian culture where hockey is so ingrained in it. You can go to a hockey game, even in Buffalo, and you hear Tragically Hip songs played in the arena."

Hoyle formed Strictly Hip in 1995. For about the last 14 years the lineup has also featured Bruce Wojick, Frank Nicastro, Alan Sliwinski and Johnny Panic.

Strictly Hip (Photo by Mike Sansano)

As to the timing of the concert so quickly after the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, Hoyle said the band is hoping to help the city's healing process through its music.

"We're all believers in the healing power of art and music. I think there is something to be said for that and that it brings people together," Hoyle said.

That connection with people and the sharing of the Tragically Hip's music is what the band is all about, he added. "For us, it's always about the audience and building community around a certain type of music."

Taking the Hip's music out of town to a city that may not be familiar with it, is extra special. "Because the music we do is unique and provincial to Buffalo and Canada, you feel like you're an ambassador for it. And because of its popularity here, you feel like you bring a bit of Buffalo culture to a different city."





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