A ton of ink was spilled in 2016 about the Tragically Hip. The year in music basically sucked in terms of lives lost and the Hip news was barely better, based on the revelation that Hip lead singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. It seems almost backwards to be flipping through a zine that recounts the band’s final shows.
Love them or otherwise, the Hip were never zine fodder. They weren’t/aren’t typically cool amongst the zine crowd from what I could see. But as this shit story unfolded, tributes flooded in from every form of media so the zine world should be no different. Besides, what be author that Vish Khanna, easily one of the most legit people in Canadian music media circles and a person who clearly cares a ton. This zine shares Khanna’s first-person review of the Hip’s five final Ontario shows: London, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Kingston. These words are less about the tunes and more about the timbre in the crowd. The terror of knowing that something real was coming to a hard stop soon on the surface and then… at some point… for eternity. Tons of personality bleeds through as Khanna overshares in the best possible ways. Personal anecdotes, conversations, plenty of really great exposition. This almost reads more like a coping mechanism than a zine. A therapeutic device. A keepsake. If you’re gonna pick this up and read it, Google Vish Khanna first. Get a sense of the dude and then dive in and dive in hard. It’ll paint a fulsome picture of a person who really likes a band, and why that really matters. (Cam Gordon)