At a recent music panel, Arts & Crafts label head Jeffry Remedios was asked what he looks for when signing a band. His response, "I look for something that is great not just good, but more importantly, I sign artists that have been, or currently are, members of Broken Social Scene." Granted, Remedios was being silly, but when you consider all of the bands that play some role in the making of a Broken Social Scene record, you'd have to think that just being part of their collective would be reason enough for label interest. Stars, Metric, Jason Collett and Apostle Of Hustle are just some of the contributors to the musical orgy that is Broken Social Scene and each of these artists is more than worthy of the accolades bestowed upon them for their individual efforts. Sadly, Stars had to be in Canada to prep for a series of big shows to preview their forthcoming release, Set Yourself On Fire. The rest of the previously mentioned bands did, however, make it out and the result was a fittingly spectacular end to a whirlwind year-and-a-half's worth of international tour dates in support of 2003's You Forgot It In People.
Last night was Broken Social Scene's third New York City show in as many days. Earlier in the week, the band played a Monday night sold out show at the Bowery and a Tuesday-night support slot for none other than The Pixies. Last night's Bowery show was also a sold out event, with people crawling all over each other throughout to get a better glimpse of the stage.
Anticipation in the room was high right from the beginning, so when ringleader-of-sorts Kevin Drew began the quiet strumming of the opening song, not a peep could be heard from the packed house. It was the first of quite a few new songs the band would run through throughout the course of the night. In true Broken Social Scene fashion, the band began the set soft and slow, hitting some of the more understated, mellow jams like "Late Nineties Bedroom Rock For The Missionaries" and "Shampoo Suicide". Band members slowly trickled onto the stage during the first few songs building both the bands numbers and their energy steadily until they unleashed the sonic orgasm that is "Cause=Time". A majority of the fan favorites were all eventually touched upon, including "Almost Crimes", "Stars And Sons" and even the Emily Haines-penned "Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl".
A number of new songs were played as well, adding to the excitement surrounding the band's next album (they should be turning in a master to Arts & Crafts in early '05). At times, the stage was so incredibly crowded that it almost matched the shoulder-to-shoulder, pigs-in-a-blanket feel the audience was forced to deal with. Is that why BSS has such a connection with their fans? Perhaps. Regardless, the controlled chaos that normally ensues on stage at a Broken Social Scene show ensures that even the short people in the crowd who can only see a corner of the stage, still have plenty to look at.
The show officially ended with the crowd favorite "Lover's Spit" followed by the instrumental jam "Pacific Theme", the latter of which brought Montreal's The Stills back on stage for another round of tambourine tapping madness (members of The Stills were on and off the stage all night, playing odd percussion instruments and dancing around). Most of the group stuck around to play, along with about 60% of the audience, for some end-of-tour fun. Jason Collett played one of his songs. Apostle Of Hustle played one of theirs. Some guy from the audience played one of his (which involved hand claps from the audience). Kevin preluded one of the last songs with "this one's from the early '90s. You'll all probably recognize it." We found out later that it was actually one of BSS' new tunes that just happens to sound a lot like an early '90s rock song. He definitely pulled one over on us. I would have bet money that it was a Dinosaur Jr. tune!
Everyone involved had a great time. Fans had the chance to hear some of the band's new music and rock out to old favorites, while the band got a chance to test out some new songs in front of a serious, music-centric audience and finally put to bed some of the tunes they've been playing night in and night out for the past year-and-a-half. The band was at their best last night, and that's saying a lot, as I've caught them in action at every possible opportunity over the past 18 months. Thanks to Jeffrey Remedios for hooking it up.