Broken Social Scene @ Malkin Bowl -- 09/24/11

Bittersweet. That's really the best way to describe what happened. With the recent announcement of their impending hiatus, it turned out that Broken Social Scene's show at Malkin Bowl would be their last Canadian date for the foreseeable future.
I was glad it was going to be at the Malkin Bowl, in the middle of Stanley Park, surrounded by trees, as it is one of my favourite venues to see a live show in, and some of my favourite concerts had taken place there.

But first, Ra Ra Riot was out to open the show. With over a half dozen members on stage -- including a cello and violin -- they had a pretty upbeat and infectious indie-pop sound to them and a really lively stage presence. The crowd was still filtering in while they were playing, but they had amassed a sizable crowd of people clapping along. "Boy" -- one of the few songs in their set I recognized -- which especially catchy. They were definitely a good fit for the opening slot and I wouldn't mind catching them again next time they're through town.

Not long after the stage filled with the familiar faces of Drew, Canning, Spearin, Peroff, Whiteman, Lobsinger and a few others as Broken Social Scene came out. The stage was prepped for rain (which held off), so everything was set up several feet back from the front, but they made use of the empty space with multiple members walking up to sing or shred throughout the set.
They kicked it off with "Cause = Time", for a set that was an hour and a half long, and included a pretty even mix of songs from You Forgot It In People, their self-titled and the most recent Forgiveness Rock Record. There was also a really cool cover of Modest Mouse's "The World At Large" thrown in, and an amusing moment where Drew joked about an actual YMCA, which caused Canning to start an inevitable crowd singalong to the first bit of The Village People.
They were at the top the their game, and though I have seen them a few times now, it was probably the best show I've seen them play. Other highlights were two of my favourite BSS songs, the gorgeous "Anthem for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" that had many people singing along, followed by the incredible instrumental "Meet Me In The Basement", featuring dueling guitar riffs and intense drumming. They "ended" the set, perhaps appropriately enough, with "KC Accidental", but they were back out after mere moments, saying they had time for just one more, before launching into the absolute perfect way to end things, "It's All Gonna Break". An amazing ten minute jam that built to an intense and epic ending, with horns and each member hoisting their instrument (mostly guitars) into the air for an amazing sight.

When they ended the main set, Drew gave props to each member on stage, giving a heartfelt send off to the band, and proclaiming: "We're Broken Social Scene, please don't forget us"

As if we could.

Cause = Time; Texico Bitches; 7/4 Shoreline; Stars & Sons; All to All; Fire Eye'd Boy; The World At Large [Modest Mouse cover]; Fuzz*; Sweetest Kill; Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day); Major Label Debut; Looks Just Like The Sun; Anthem for a Seventeen Year Old Girl; Meet Me In The Basement; KC Accidental. 
[encore] It's All Gonna Break

*It said Fuzz on the setlist, but it appeared to be "Late Nineties Bedroom Rock For The Missionaries", with some lyrics from Kevin Drew's "Gang Bang Suicide", that segued into "Shampoo Suicide"