“This is like old-school Broken Social Scene. This doesn’t happen very often.”
And with those words Kevin Drew pretty much summed up why I thought last night’s Broken Social Scene show at the Manning Bar was pretty special. While the show was certainly not of the epic proportions and sheer insanity of their last headlining show in Sydney, I came away from the gig feeling that, yet again, Broken Social Scene were unforgettable.
The first great sign of the evening was seeing Andrew Whiteman and Charles Spearin puttering around the stage during support act Belles Will Ring. I had no idea they had made the trip over with Broken and I was assuming the band would be the same 6-piece that was touring in support of Spirit If… late last year. Instead we got what amounted to a stripped-down “classic” version of BSS: Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Whiteman, Spearin, Justin Peroff, newcomer Sam Goldberg, and to the immense joy of all in attendance, the incomparable Leslie Feist.
The gig started with Kevin Drew taking the stage to LCD Soundsystem’s Someone Great. With a glass of tequila in one hand he took the mic in the other and introduced the band (sans Feist). The band launched into a lengthy instrumental piece and when the final notes died away Drew announced one more member for the night. When Feist walked on stage the crowd temporarily lost their shit. It was great. I’d never actually seen Feist perform with Broken before so I was stoked to say the least. Feist quickly picked up her guitar and the band tore through KC Accidental and Stars And Sons before dipping into Kevin Drew’s “solo” record with Farewell to the Pressure Kids.
While it was a solid start to the show their were some sound issues and the band were at times a tad sloppy…but that’s all part of the charm of a BSS gig; since the lineup is always changing there are bound to be some hiccups. That thin line between brilliance and total chaos that Broken Social Scene are always treading is what makes their gigs so special. No show is the same and every show could be their last.
One of the highlights of the gig was Feist taking lead vocals (or at least harmonizing with Kevin Drew) on Fucked Up Kid. While I had anticipated her dominant vocal appearances on Almost Crimes and Shoreline, it was her presence on Fucked Up Kid, Cause = Time and Looks Just Like the Sun that added to the magic of the gig.
After Fucked Up Kid the band left the stage for a few minutes to let the sound guys sort out the monitors and when they returned they let it all out with Fire Eye’d Boy, 7/4 (Shoreline) and Backed Out On The… . I can’t tell you how long I’d waited to hear Shoreline live with Feist on vocals. It was amazing. Whiteman got his chance to take centre stage with a great version of Looks Just Like The Sun (with superb backing vocals from Feist). Is there a more fun guitar player to watch in any band right now? Andrew Whiteman is just nuts up there…he seems to spend half the gig on one leg.
The band played a couple new songs towards the end of the set. Water In Hell featured a lead vocal by Brendan Canning so I’m assuming it’s going to be on his record which, I believe, comes out in May. It didn’t blow me away, but the second new one was more memorable. It’s called Tepeslan and it featured a Kevin Drew lead vocal and hopefully it shows up on a future BSS record.
Now, Almost Crimes. That has to be the greatest live version of it ever played. Feist absolutely belted out the vocal, Andrew Whiteman was destroying his guitar and the rest of the band were just amped. It was, hands down, my favourite song of the night. Major Label Debut, which followed, was nearly as good as the band decided to end the night on a massive bang rather than a more subdued (Lover’s Spit) note.
After the band left the stage Kevin Drew was, once again, alone on stage chatting with the crowd. When he looked over to see if they had more time (it was already 30 minutes past curfew) and got the “cut it” signal he picked up his guitar and started strumming out It’s All Gonna Break. Charles Spearin and Brendan Canning then joined him on guitar and the trio played through most of the song. But then the rest of the band took the stage and the show ended with the triumphant finale of It’s All Gonna Break. 45 minutes past curfew….it was a perfect ending to an amazing gig.
Stars And Sons
Farewell To The Pressure Kids
Cause = Time
Fucked Up Kid
Fire Eye’d Boy
Backed Out On The…
Looks Just Like The Sun
Water In Hell
Major Label Debut (Fast)
It’s All Gonna Break
And a news tidbit. According to an interview I read with Feist, Broken Social Scene will be having a family reunion at the end of March in Mexico to write some new songs. So it seems as though another “proper” BSS album is on the way.
And speaking of Feist, we just got home from her gig at the Metro…she is ridiculously talented. Review, setlist, photos to come tomorrow (SPOILER: she played 1234).