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23 Jan 06

broken social scene finally puts it all together

i cashed in on my final christmas present on friday night when i went to see broken social scene at the kool haus (thanks anne!) BSS has been (and remains) one of my favourite bands on my ipod (which accounts for their #1 position on my last.fm charts), but when i’ve seen them live in the past, i’ve always left feeling a bit disappointed. when i saw them at the merchant in kingston a couple years ago, i felt like they spent more time setting up between songs than they did actually playing, and we left early as a result. their olympic island show was fun but watered down somehow – perhaps it’s because they were upstaged by the arcade fire, or perhaps it was just the nature of the massive venue. their show at bluesfest in ottawa was ok but self indulgent – i felt like the songs could’ve been distilled into something amazing, but instead just went on and on. so, in truth, i didn’t go into friday’s show with the highest of expectations.

and i was wowed.

as kevin drew pointed out, they spent a couple months touring on their new album before christmas, and they managed to get most of the kinks out during that time. gone were most of the self-indulgiant jams that at times were mainly a wall of indistinguishable noise. they were replaced by a cohesive set with excellent sound quality (although my earplugs helped – it got loud), and for once i felt like the layers upon layers of sound actually worked in a live setting. as expected, there were countless people on stage at any given time – horns, a violin, keys, multiple guitars, even two drumkits for some songs (crossingham appropriately filled the role of drummer #2) and, of course, multiple vocalists. feist was there, as was amy millan, but sadly, emily haines was off with her real band becoming even more of a super star. k-os was there too, but as far as i could tell, his only role was to leap into the crowd during the encore, along with feist.

one quibble: it would’ve been a perfect set if they’d cut their set off after almost crimes – a high energy fantastic performance – but instead, they dragged things out for a few more mostly mid-tempo songs. they didn’t particularly end on a high, especially with the 5 minute drone that segued the set into the encore. it’s hard to complain about a 2 hour set, especially when there was no opener, but apparently the same point was made about the saturday show as well. but hey, if the only complaint i have is that they played a bit too long, i’d consider that a success.

i’m happy they finally got it right.

ps. thanks as always to suckingalemon for taking such good photos of the shows i go to.

One Response to “broken social scene finally puts it all together”

  1. 1
    suckingalemon Says:

    more like a thank – YOU.

    cheers

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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