Arts, The Muse

Broken Social Scenery

On Friday night, Broken Social Scene played at the House of Blues in support of this year's Forgiveness Rock Record.

Indie-rock veterans The Sea and Cake opened the show and were incredibly disappointing. I did my job as a journalist: I listened to all their records all week and ended up getting really excited for them. Then they came out and were pretty terrible. They didn't really engage the crowd and looked about as bored as I felt.

Also, for a band that has been around for about as long as I've been alive, they were pretty sloppy, missing cues and falling out of time. Thankfully, they played a short set, and at least John McEntire, also of Tortoise, was stunning on the drums. His solos, and beats in general, were sharp and dazzlingly complicated. He would pop up again soon in the circus that was the headlining set. A Broken Social Circus, if you will, led by front-man Kevin Drew.

The members of Broken Social Scene, local musicians, McEntire, and even Drew were constantly switching instruments and sauntering on and off stage. Several of their songs featured fewer than four guitarists, creating a gigantic wall of sound.

Admittedly, I've always found Broken Social Scene a little sappy and wasn't sure how their sound would come together live, but I was shocked at how what looked like a messy stage of musical chairs came across as an exciting explosion of horns, percussions, and jagged guitar solos.

The set spanned their entire career, from Forgiveness Rock Record cuts "Texaco Bitches," "Art House Director," and others, to early gems like "Guilty Cubicles" and "Cause=Time." Canadian Drew also loved talking to the crowd, even poking fun at the Red Sox who were losing to his home team the Toronto Blue Jays across the street. My only qualm was with female vocalist Lisa Lobsinger, who took replaced former members Leslie Feist and Emily Haines. She was spot-on with the new material, but did not do justice to the Feist/Haines classics. She sang "Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" as if she had never heard it before, and I again hesitantly admit that I was really amped to see it live. I was never a 17-year-old-girl, but I love the haunting beauty of the song, and it just wasn't there. It was cutesy and lame.

The band played a marathon set, going right up until the midnight curfew. Their energy lit up the crowd that was deadened by Sea and Cake, and brought us to a long three-ring event.

Comments are closed.