In his October review of the Tragically Hip’s latest CD Now For Plan A Toronto-based Now magazine reviewer Benjamin Boles equated the Kingston rock quintet with Nickelback as far as hoser popularity in Canada goes. I get that some people have never been Hip fans, feeling they’re little more than a glorified bar band. But Nickelback? Really?

For my part, I’ve always appreciated the effort the Tragically Hip have made to reflect Canadian history and culture in their songs and advocate for progressive political causes. I also think they’ve done a decent job over the years of picking up-and-coming indie Canadian bands to tour with them and showcase their talents. This tour, which touches down at Brandt Centre tonight at 7:30 p.m., is no exception, as the opening act is the Hamilton rock band Arkells.

Twice I’ve seen the Hip live. Both times it was as part of their Another Roadside Attraction tours. The first time was in Victoria in the summer of 1992 with Midnight Oil as co-headliner, the second time was in Vancouver in 1997 on a bill that also included Sheryl Crow, Ashley MacIsaac and Wilco.

To give you a taste of what’s in store tonight here’s the video for the Hip’s latest single off Now For Plan A called “At Transformation”. And after the jump there’s the video for the Arkells’ song “On Paper” off their 2011 album Michigan Left.