Celebrating Gord Downie’s Birthday with Acoustic Hip from Starpainters

Gord Downie would’ve celebrated his 56th birthday on February 6. 

As has become tradition, Buffalo’s Strictly Hip is throwing a party to benefit the Gord Downie & Wenjack Fund, inviting along some friends to help keep Downie’s spirit alive and to answer his call to Do Something in the name of reconciliation. 

This year’s celebration is taking place on Saturday, February 8 at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto and will feature Jason Mowat, aka My Friend the Moon. 

But instead of Strictly Hip’s normal fully plugged in set, this year’s show will be a little different. 

While this year’s show is part of the FamilyBand events that Strictly Hip singer Jeremy Hoyle started with fundraiser extraordinaire Rob Ferreira, the concert is taking place at a smaller venue. 

“FamilyBand events have been held at large and iconic venues in the past. The idea behind this event was to present something more intimate for guests,” Hoyle said. “The Dakota Tavern is a beautiful venue to hold an event of this nature. It has a rich performance history that includes appearances by Gord Downie and so many other incredible artists.” 

But that’s not all. 

This Saturday’s event will be the debut of Starpainters, an acoustic set from Strictly Hip that will be a bit more contemplative than their normal performance. 

“The idea behind the project was that it would allow us to present Hip-inspired music in a more elemental and intimate way,” Hoyle said. “It’s a collective of friends playing music we love.” 

Starpainters, if it sounds familiar, comes from Downie’s “Coke Machine Glow” album. It was the album’s first song. 

“It’s a beautiful spoken word piece,” Hoyle said. “It seemed and appropriate name for the event, given its intimate nature.” 

There will be some guest musicians sitting in for the Starpainters set, but don’t expect to see a full and total change going forward. It’s a special deviation for a good reason. 

“We like to say that Strictly Hip are Hip evangelists, spreading the good word of the Tragically Hip. Our performances at FamilyBand events are just that, continuing a message and a musical legacy. It is an incredibly powerful thing to be in a room full of consensus.” 

Anyone who wishes to help keep Downie’s legacy alive is welcomed to make a donation to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, created in 2016 after the release of Downie’s “Secret Path” album and graphic novel. More information on the fund can be found here.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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