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That’s When the Ceremony Starts

Last year for the encore at their AIDS benefit concert at Hart House, the Hidden Cameras played a mean cover of “Umbrella.” You know which “Umbrella” we’re talking about—that amazing ubiquitous pop song, oft-covered but never really matched or trumped. Not until Joel Gibb and his dozen or so band members took it on in Hart House, at least: Gibb’s pronounced croon somehow fit the song even better than Rihanna’s resigned “ey”s, and the huge band—killer drum line and all—only added to it. People at the concert flipped out, as well they should have.
We’ve been trying to find it or a similar performance from the band ever since: somehow, footage of the Hart House cover never made its way to YouTube, even though “Smells Like Happiness” and “the WAning mOOn” and “Awoo” from the same gig did. But thank goodness for Soundvenue: the site filmed the band playing a unplugged version of their cover in Copenhagen this past summer, with the Toronto gang (including Maggie MacDonald and Laura Barrett) mostly intact. With Gibb’s voice backgrounded and with more than a bit of the oomph of the song drowned, it’s only a little like the band’s other cover, but we’ll take what we can get. Skip to 1:45 for the highlight of the whole thing: an a cappella, ella, ella, ey, ey, ey.


  • rek

    I love ‘sincere’ covers of stupid pop songs; the Travis cover of Hit Me Baby One More Time is my favourite.

  • Marc Lostracco

    “Umbrella” is such a fascinating phenomenon. It was built on a stock look in Apple’s GarageBand software and was supposed to be for Mary J. Blige’s last album, but was rejected (oops of the century). It’s been covered by Manic Street Preachers, Tegan and Sara, Mechanical Bride, Scott Simons, Marié Digby, Mandy Moore, Linkin Park, Plain White T’s, Carrie Underwood, My Chemical Romance, All Time Low, and OneRepublic, among others. So, yeah…enough already. But it’s the song that every pop songwriter wishes they had written.
    Rek: One of my favourite “sincere” covers is the Vines’ cover of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” (as mentioned in my Cover Song Catalogue post from a couple of years ago).

  • ariehsinger

    Marc and Rek – Don’t forget the fantastic Sharon jones & the Dap Kings (coming into town in a few weeks) cover of the Kenny Rogers’ Tune Just Dropped In…..

  • atomeyes99

    anyone know what the Hidden Cameras have been up to lately?
    that Hart House show was amazing (and not overly attended, sadly).