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Tragically Hip to play the Wharf Canadian rock band booked for July 30

Downie is headed downtown.

Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip and its enigmatic leader Gordon Downie will perform at 6 p.m. July 30 at the Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf as part of the Buffalo Place Rocks the Harbor Concert Series.

The group has an immense Western New York fan base, as exhibited by its most recent local appearance: a four-night run of sold-out shows at Artpark in 2009. July's concert will be the band's first at the relatively new Erie Canal Harbor venue and the group's first concert in the City of Buffalo since it headlined HSBC Arena in December 2000.

"The Hip really just wanted to try something different," said Donny Kutzbach of Funtime Presents, which is handling the booking for Buffalo Place's Thursday at the Square and Rocks the Harbor series. "They've been so popular here and in Canada for so long, that they've played pretty much everywhere there is to play. The Arena, Artpark, Darien Lake, the Town Ballroom, you name it," he said.

"Most of these venues, they've really enjoyed," he said. "But these guys don't want to keep doing the same things over and over. That's the way they are."

Kutzbach said the band was shown pictures of the harbor venue and saw the chance to offer fans something different.

"The clincher was the idea of playing downtown, right by the water, in a historical site," Kutzbach said. "They loved that concept."

The quintet is playing a short string of shows this summer, before returning to the studio to work on its 13th album.

Opening the show will be Hamilton, Ont., band Arkells.

This summer marks the return of Artie Kwitchoff and Kutzbach's Funtime Presents booking shows for the Buffalo Place concert series at the harbor and Lafayette Square. The addition of the Hip rounds out a Rocks the Harbor lineup that now includes Dark Star Orchestra with Soulive on June 24; Elvis Costello & the Impostors on June 25; Alice Cooper and Anvil on Aug. 26; and Great Big Sea with Martin Sexton on Aug. 27.

Tickets for the Tragically Hip and Arkells are $46 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through Ticketmaster.

e-mail: jmiers@buffnews.com

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