Friday, January 27, 2006

Broken Social Scene 1.26.06 Webster Hall

by Charlotte Deaver

This show started off really badly -- for me. When I got up to door of the club I couldn't find either driver's license or credit card, so I spent the next hour in search of these essentials, held back a few tears (silly me), and ended up finding my license in the pocket of my car door. Still no credit card, but it was a relief.

By the time I finally got inside, the band had already been playing for a long time. About eight, long BSS songs, someone told me, and this next song was sounding very much like an encore already. Again, I almost cried! My emotions, alas, know no perspective -- Alito, global warming, and being late for a show -- these are troubled times.

After several songs it became clear the show was not over, and all was right in the musical universe -- or nearly so. The band sounded sloppy, which might be expected from a band that calls itself a "collective" (but not from one this popular and one in the middle of a tour).

Their messiness, however, is part of their appeal. As all-over-the-place a song may begin, a lengthy vamp out gives the musicians enough time to synch up with each other. And that's when the payoff begins. Many of their songs are kind of sprawling already, and the musicians -- five or six guitars, five horns, a bunch of singers and guest performers, and one violin -- take up a lot of space on stage, so the most satisfying live moments occur when they all finally get together for these extended grooves.

There's also something slacker-sexy about them, which is probably partly due to some of their sexually explicit lyrics. Nor does it hurt that the stage is crowded with such a great number and variety of gender-bending, band-hopping, hipster musicians from the ever-cool Canada. So when, during "Lover's Spit," singer Kevin Drew slipped into the audience without fanfare, I regretted I wasn't stage-hugging that night.

Broken Social Scene is one of those bands that was so over-hyped for a while that they are already inching to the other side of the hype-hill. Not a blogger yet myself, I (luckily) didn't know that, and fell in love with them through one song, "I'm Still Your Fag," which they did not, unfortunately, play on Thursday night. You can listen to it (for a few days) on the Audioblogger bar to your right. If you like the song, you'll understand one thing that is great about this band. If not, you won't like Brokeback Mountain, either.


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