Broken Social Scene @ Comodore -- 10/13/10

Broken Social Scene. What more needs to be said? After their first album in five years (not counting the Drew & Canning solo albums), they hit the road to tour. And while I had actually seen them several months ago, when they played a surprise show at Ontario House during the Olympics, I was still insanely excited to see them. And they most certainly did not disappoint.

The Sea & Cake opened the show, and they were good, but seemed to lack stage presence. I admit, I was back a bit for their set, and the stage was blocked, so I couldn't see them playing, but what little banter they had was mumbled, and the few times I saw the lead singer, he was taking the "shoegazing" thing a bit too literally. There was also a similar-ish sound to a lot of their songs. Certainly nothing bad, and they played Perfectly Acceptable Music, but nothing that really won me over. Maybe I was just a bit tired and/or excited for the main act.

And then finally around 10:30, Broken Social Scene hit the stage with some of the usual suspects; Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff (whose birthday it was), John McEntire (who produced the album), Charles Spearin, Lisa Lobsinger, Andrew Whiteman (with his wife, Ariel providing backup vocals on a few tracks) and a few others. As the fog rolled off the stage, they kicked things off large with "World Sick", the opening track form their new album Forgiveness Rock Record. From there they went on to play an amazing set of two hours and over twenty songs, hitting a lot of older material as well as the new stuff. The songs off the new album all sounded great, as you would expect, since they were made by the new, "slimmed down" lineup (which still saw as many as a dozen members on stage), but the older material was also fantastic, despite lacking some original members.
Some of the highlights for the set were "Fire Eye'd Boy", which had a drum fill that seemed like they played with the surround a bit, so Peroff was coming at you from one side, then McEntire, on a small kit, was rebutting from the other speaker. The Sea & Cake members coming out to join them on a couple songs. Drew and Whiteman joking about hitting the right note on "Forced To Love", mock-cursing Sebastien Grainger, and Lisa Lobsinger absolutely nailing "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl", sounding every bit as good as Haines' original. I was especially glad to hear it, as it's one of my favourite songs (BSS or otherwise). Ariel Whiteman, who sang backup for that and a few others, took the spotlight and killed "Almost Crimes" and the two lovely ladies proved that they were more than able to take on the female vocals. They "ended" the set with "Meet me In The Basement", my favourite song from the new record. The instrumental started off grand and then just build from there. The intense drumming, the powerful horns and especially the duelling guitars of Spearin and Whiteman all came together for one of the most intense live songs I have seen.
For the encore, first just Drew came out to start playing "Lover's Spit", to a very low, very blue lit stage. Then slowly a few other members came out to finish it, before launching into another old one, which Drew mentioned was his favourite, "Looks Just Like The Sun". The whole night was brought to an end with "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)", as the sold out crowd was still going ballistic.

I am very, very, ever so slightly disappointed I didn't hear "It's All Gonna Break", but they did play it earlier this year at the free Olympics show, and the setlist was damn near perfect even without it. With this show, Broken Social Scene once again proves that they are not a band. They are a force of nature.

World Sick, Texaco Bitches, 7/4 Shoreline, Fire Eye'd Boy, Forced to Love, All to All, Stars & Sons, Cause = Time, Sweetest Kill, Art House Director, Romance to the Grave, Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl, Pacific Theme[?] Guilty Cubicles, Superconnected, Almost Crimes, Ungrateful Little Father, KC Accidental, Meet Me In The Basement.
[encore] Lover's Spot, Looks Just Like The Sun, Water In Hell, Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day).