Saturday, June 14th, 2003
You Forgot It In People
It’s a rare band that can open for itself not once, but four times in the course of a night. Punters showing up late to last night’s sold-out Broken Social Scene / Stars show and passing over the openers missed, essentially, Stars and Broken Social Scene.
Amy Millan from Stars kicked things off with a short countrified set, backed by members of BSS. This was followed by a impressive set by BSS-er Jason Collett, again backed by no less than seven members of BSS and Stars. This was followed up by BSS guitarist Andrew Whiteman’s Apostle Of Hustle project, which looked an awful lot like Jason Collett’s band. As did Feist’s. Did I just see four 15-minute openers or one hour-long set? Don’t know, don’t care, it was all great.
I had seen Stars way back in the summer of 2000, and must admit I wasn’t terribly impressed with their brand of electro-twee pop backed up by canned recordings. After their set last night, I will happily retract that opinion. The addition of a ridiculously strong drummer has done wonders for their sound, as did the addition of a couple of BSS’ guitarists (they had plenty to spare). The result was a surprisingly muscular and energetic show – it seems that Torquil Campbell has learned that Morrisey’s feyness only really worked when backed up by a badass band. Now if he could only learn to be a little less annoying with his stage banter… Regardless, a minor flaw at most.
Lee’s Palace was absolutely packed to the gills by the time Broken Social Scene took the stage as Broken Social Scene. This being their last hometown show before heading out to tour the US, the room was positively crackling with excitement and anticipation, and for the next hour and a half, they proved why they deserve every kudo and accolade that’s been thrown at them since You Forgot It In People‘s release last October. With an on-stage lineup that ranged between seven and ten people at any given time (and at least three guitars at all times!), BSS unloaded massive-sounding versions of most of People, along with some new material and an unexpected cover of Sloan’s “The Other Man”. By the time they closed off the encore with a triumphant version of “Lover’s Spit”, the band was feeding off the energy of the audience and vice-versa in a way that is far too rare. At the risk of sounding horribly cliche, there was love in the air and it was magic.
A particular perk of the show for me, anyway, was being able to connect names and faces with the band. The ever-rotating cast of players makes it difficult to know who on the record plays or sings what, and that’s compounded by the fact that there’s so damn many of them, but it’s still nice to be able to make a visual connection between the band and the record (like “hey – I buy my CDs at Soundscapes from the fourth guitarist!”).
It’s a pretty damn exciting time to be in Toronto, musically speaking. Not only is there a whole crop of excellent bands all around town, but they’re actually getting well-deserved recogintion from the rest of the world. It’s been a long time since there’s been this sort of buzz in the Big Smoke. It’s cool.
There are a whole whack of pictures from the show in my newly-reprogrammed concert photos section.
np – Broken Social Scene / You Forgot It In People