Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Live Review: Broken Social Scene @ Metro 10/28/05

I almost had my eyeglass repair toolkit confiscated at the door. But the head security lady stopped my accoster, saying, “This is a mellow show tonight. We’re letting almost everything in.” Mellow? Ha! I honestly don’t know what stopped me from taking that skinny, inch-long screwdriver and stabbing it into the temple of the guy standing next to me--such was my frenzy, so much was my compulsive energy driven by this show. All right. That’s a lie. The last thing Broken Social Scene makes you want to do is assault people. Last Friday at the Metro it was more about delivering cross-country dedications from sweethearts, more about “Raise your hand if you’re in love.” Lest you groan I’ll attest that this is the one band in your lifetime that can pull off these sugary shenanigans. This isn’t a didactic group crusading for world peace. This isn’t a gang of politicians pretending to be musicians or a gang of musicians pretending to be politicians. It’s just a good ol’ fashioned rock band that isn’t afraid to be passionate. And optimistic. By god, they’re downright cheery. The entire show was like a weekend party where friends come and go as they please, picking up an instrument on a whim and contributing for a few songs, disappearing for a while and then coming back again. If a person didn’t leave the stage he stood off to the side, saluting those playing with a raised bottle of beer, or else admiring with awe and applause. The glorious cycle of band feeding off crowd energy and crowd feeding off band energy is what animated this show. This was Broken Social Scene’s first time playing the Metro, and the guys revealed that the event was a dream come true for them, as they knew about the club’s legendary reputation. The crowd did not disappoint, and the band’s excitement was hard to miss. This was definitely the liveliest show I’ve seen in this mopey town. At any given time there were eight or more people on stage jumping, swaying, skipping, dancing, running across the stage to play eight bars on a trumpet, then running back again to pick up a guitar. The set lasted around two hours and the sound was solid all the way through. On tunes like “KC Accidental” and “Superconnected” the band created a luscious chaotic mass of beauty that sent the kids spastic. On the mantric “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl” singer Lisa Lobslinger, taking over for the absent Emily Haines, mellowed them with her wispy voice and baby doll demeanor. For the last half of the set Leslie Feist joined the fun and on “Almost Crimes” rocked the drums and air guitar when she wasn’t singing counterpart to a behoodied Kevin Drew, who may have been battling an illness but still sounded strong. Broken Social Scene has restored my faith in the Metro. Anymore I hate going to shows in Wrigleyville because the band always turns out to be bigger than I realized, the crowd further removed and lazy, simply there because it’s the Metro and whoever’s playing there must be cool because the Metro is cool. On any given night it seems like half the crowd knows one song or less by the band, and it’s not due to the artists’ newness or obscurity. It’s because the Metro seems to no longer be about getting fucked by music but about trying to fuck the cute little girls in spaghetti straps or the handsome buff boys in baseball caps. But last Friday there was an energy I haven’t experienced at the Metro in years. Broken Social Scene has only been around a few years but has already procured a loyal mass of fans whose good vibes rival any Phish cult. It was refreshing to hear for a change collective voices singing along and not an incessant, messy clatter of hundreds of apathetic conversations. Whether or not you love a band, if the group around you is going insane with passion for the music it makes the show a gazillion times better. If this passion is merited, well, then you have the epitome of live shows. I think that with Broken Social Scene, indie rock finally has a live act worthy of a devoted following of tripped-out, obsessive nomads. Technorati: Also check out more photos from this show in the RFC Live Photo Archive

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