Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Well, technically, they played Cambridge. TT the Bears, to be exact...
Last night's free, full-capacity, MySpace-sponsored "secret" show was an absolute sweaty blast, and marked the debut of the new incarnation of Broken Social Scene, which includes mainstays Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, and drummer Justin Peroff, along with three new faces: Andrew Kenny (of the dearly departed American Analog Set), Sam Goldberg (Hawaii, Uncut, Bodega), and Bill Priddle (who is actually a now-returned founding BSS member). The band will be touring off and on through December, and playing mostly songs off Kevin's soon-to-be-out solo album, "Spirit If...". But make no mistake, even with just a couple old BSS faves in the setlist, and despite the lack of female vocals, strings, or horns, this was a Broken Social Scene show through and through. The energy, the three-guitar goodness, the all-out catchiness of the new songs, have no fear. BSS fans can rejoice, because they are back.
TTs started handing out the bright pink wristbands for the show just before 2pm that afternoon, and within a couple hours all 300+ were gone. The steady queue wrapped around the block and into a nearby construction area, and as we waited, a van pulled up, Kevin jumped out, and immediately start doling out high-fives to every fan in line...
Ryan Walsh from Hallelujah the Hills really was the perfect opener (which made sense, as he was personally picked by BSS), playing stripped-down HtH songs through an amplified and sometimes pedal-fied acoustic guitar. No mellow singer/songwriter was he, as the songs kept the urgency and energy of their recorded versions, and Ryan kept the eager crowd's attention throughout. Afterwards, I heard more than a few new fans comment on his performance while waiting for Kevin & co. to hit the stage. It was a pretty special gig to be invited to play, and he made the most of it, showing off those songs, and solidifying HtH's spot as my favorite Boston-based band at the moment. Buy their excellent Misra Records debut disc here.
Before I comment on my personal BSS highlights, for the curious, here's what they played. I'll say this though: If you plan on seeing the band soon, look away, as I know you'll appreciate the set-ending surprises...
Broken Social Scene
playing Kevin Drew's "Spirit If..."
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007
TT the Bears, Cambridge, MA
01. Lucky Ones
02. Safety Bricks
03. F-ked Up Kids
05. Back Out On The...
06. Hit the Wall (a Brendan Canning song)
07. Farewell to the Pressure Kids
08. Broke Me Up
09. Bodhi Sappy Weekend
10. Frightening Lives
11. Superconnected (BSS)
12. Canada vs. America (BSS)
13. Lover's Spit (BSS)
14. Major Label Debut (BSS)
Sam Goldberg, Andrew Kenny, Kevin Drew, & Bill Piddle of BSS
Highlights: "Safety Bricks" (which Kevin called 'a responsible song'), and Andrew Kenny's keyboard work throughout the whole set, especially on that one; Brendan Canning's new song, "Hit the Wall", (which will supposedly be the single off his own upcoming "Broken Social Scene presents..." solo album, out in early 2008) made me eager to hear more of his own stuff; Kevin's random John Legend / R. Kelly / the Secret ramble; seeing Kevin's smiling, birthday-celebrating brother watching the band rock out on "Superconnected" from the side of the stage; Kevin asking how many in the crowd had already downloaded the leaked version of his album (answer: a bunch); Kevin handing out sage advice like "call your parents" and "go look at a tree"; "Bodhi Sappy Weekend", which is sure to be a beautiful highlight of "Spirit If..."; The dynamic "Farewell to the Pressure Kids", which will be the album's first single. Seeing Andrew pick up a guitar and head to the mic for the last song; And, of course, those four BSS numbers that finished up the set.
Kevin requested that I not share my recording of the performance, and of course I'll honor that... totally understandable since the album isn't even out yet. The new songs should first be heard how he wants them to be heard, y'know? But I'm sending him a copy, and maybe he'll be cool with sharing some songs later on. We'll see.
Keep an eye on the current list of tour dates to make sure you can catch Kevin & Broken Social Scene on the road this fall. They play tonight at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn, then head overseas through October, until I assume they return to North America for dates through December.
To bide time until "Spirit If..." arrives on September 18th from Arts & Crafts, here's what's been made available so far...
A footnote: I talked a bit with Andrew Kenny, and he's got a lot of new songs, and a new band to perform them, in the works. Demos are down, studio time is planned after all this BSS touring, and he's playing bass this time around ("If I played guitar, it'd end up sounding exactly like American Analog Set"). It'd be an understatement for me to say that this news is the good kind.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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