By Graeme Wiggins
April 7, 2019
The Biltmore Cabaret
From the opening lines of “The Fox in Motion” it was clear that this show as going to be something special. Hop Along are still touring in support of last year’s acclaimed Bark Your Head Off, Dog which took their emotion and raw sound, and added groove and more complex arrangements. The opening number proved that these new complexities and sounds would integrate wonderfully into their set list.
What unified things most clearly was Frances Quinlan’s voice. Hop Along’s records show case the myriad of things she’s capable of doing with it (raw screams, breathless ethereality to name a few) but live it takes an even stronger focus. The rawness is louder and even more raspy which makes the contrasts she’s capable of even more stark and gives even the more eclectics sounds of new songs “Not Abel” or “Somewhere a Judge” a power that matches the more rocking tunes from Painted Shut.
Canadians are suckers for a little bit of pandering so the fan favourite was probably encore opener “Tibetan Popstars” with the lines “they met their fiancés cherry picking out in Canada” getting screamed along by the crowd even louder then most of their sing-a-long friendly set. It was one of the few songs from something older than the last two records and it was nice to see it get some love from the audience. They ended evening with “The Knock,” another fan favourite (and probably one of their catchier tunes) and the crowd left cathartically, their voices likely as raspy as Quinlan’s.Biltmore Cabaret