Anyone strolling through Kensington Market on Sunday morning (September 30) may have noticed an odd sight: the sign for the long-running Supermarket bar/restaurant replaced by a banner reading "Now For Plan A." Neither restaurant takeover nor Nuit Blanche hangover, the reality was far more Canadian: a surprise performance by the Tragically Hip. Or, rather, many surprise performances by the Tragically Hip.
In celebration of their upcoming 13th album, Now For Plan A, the veteran Canrock band turned Toronto's Augusta Avenue into their own private campfire, playing a micro three-song set every hour all afternoon and evening.
As merch salespeople wandered through the audience armed with vinyl and CD copies of the new album, fans waited for the hits, unabashedly belting out tracks like Grace, Too and Ahead By A Century with the band when they came.
The unique three-song performance set-up even let them get a bit creative (a defence against detractors who accuse them of rewriting the same song). Sunday's second set, for instance, was made up of songs with the word "ahead" in the title.
The oddball Kensington Market residency continued until Wednesday night, when the band treated the crowd to a full-length concert.
Grizzly Bear's September 26 Massey Hall debut was made even more special by surprise onstage appearances by both Feist and Owen Pallett.
Sam Sutherland's book Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk documents the early days of (you guessed it) Canadian punk. He'll be discussing the book onstage at the Horseshoe on Wednesday (October 10) with Fucked Up's Damian Abraham.