Broken Social Scene show review

I wrote this article for the burgeoning website Innerloupe.com.  Innerloupe is a corporation created by all-around good man, Andrew Lane, and two other really cool guys, Ryan Mann and Wesley Bunch.  Their intentions are to elevate and cultivate the music community in Hampton Roads.  One way they do that is booking and promoting shows in the area, especially at the restaurant, 37th and Zen.  Check out the website and support their venture. 

The show I attended was at The National in Richmond, VA.  

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I walked in to The National just as Broken Social Scene began their first song, “Superconnected,” and I was pumped.  I had seen them before and I knew what to expect: a Braveheart-length performance, including every song you wanted to hear, and about an hour of just pure sound and jamming.  “Superconnected” sounded a lot like the album, only better.  Frontman, Kevin Drew, belted the melody out stronger than the album (and my car stereo) allows, his voice powerfully bouncing back and forth between notes like a nuclear powered metronome.  What ensued was one of the best rock n’ roll shows I’ve seen.  It seemed like BSS felt like blessing Richmond, Virginia with all of their most up-tempo rock songs (“World Sick,” “Cause=Time,” “7/4 (Shoreline),” “Forced to Love,” etc.) all at once.  At one point guitarist, Andrew Whiteman, even pumped the fisted-longhorn symbol in the air.

BSS is the trunk of a many-branched indie rock tree.  Charles Spearin of Do Make Say Think and Whiteman of Apostle of Hustle, as well as co-founders, Drew and Brendan Canning, remain pillars of the band.  And the best part of the show was that, after more than a decade, all these talented members with their own projects still love playing together.  There was constant smiling between them, and sometimes it seemed like they would have put on the same show in their basement with no one else around, just for fun.  The atmosphere was light and spontaneous.  Whiteman was constantly adding and changing his riffs and solos; Drew altered several of his melodies; and drummer, Justin Peroff, prolonged and ended songs on a whim.

The song choices were just as spontaneous.  Kevin Drew reminded me more of a quarterback than a lead singer, constantly dashing around stage audibling to his members what song was next, while instruments and band members were subbed in and out like defenders on fourth down.  Drew treated the crowd like friends, constantly complimenting and talking to people as if he was in the crowd with them.  Halfway through he accepted a crowd member’s pair of neon green sunglasses and donned them for the rest of the show. “Meet me in the basement” had to be the highlight.  When it seemed like the song was over, Drew yelled into the mic the staccato phrase, “This life should feel like this!” and the band pounded the song’s crescendo.

Broken Social Scene played for 2 and a half hours as expected, and they wasted no time.  Drew announced at the 2-hour mark that they weren’t going to leave the stage for an encore; instead, they were just going to play more songs.  And the jamming I remember? Nearly absent.  After the release of “Forgiveness Rock Record” there’s just two much material for BSS to spend time jamming, and I’m not complaining; a 2 and a half hour whimsical set of my favorite songs is just fine with me.

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