Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene: live in Torontolive in Toronto (2006)
Arts and Crafts

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: LevitateMeLevitateMe
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Note: This review is of the Saturday, 1/21 show. I was also in attendance for the Friday show, but was very sick and left after five songs. With a blood/Dayquil level of surely record proportions, I ventured down Queens Quay to the Kool Haus, braved the breezes off of Lake Ontario (with no coat b.

Note: This review is of the Saturday, 1/21 show. I was also in attendance for the Friday show, but was very sick and left after five songs.

With a blood/Dayquil level of surely record proportions, I ventured down Queens Quay to the Kool Haus, braved the breezes off of Lake Ontario (with no coat because I didn't want to waste time checking anything), and settled in for nearly two hours of waiting in line. There was nothing particular noteworthy about the wait, just freezing temperatures and inane hipster chatter. About one hour in Feist arrived, which provoked the line into an awed hush. Fifteen minutes later, Kevin Drew also arrived; this time the crowd reacted with cheers and good luck wishes. We were finally let in out of the cold at eight o'clock.

I made my way to the front of the stage and settled in neatly right up front and centre. The stage contained at least eight guitars and two drum kits, among other instruments, and a nice backdrop of Broken Social Scene's self-titled album's cover. We were all glad to be out of the cold, but after a while the crowd grew restless. It was nearly ten o'clock and there was no sign of BSS or even an opening act. Suddenly, to the side of the stage, an image appeared, projected on a screen. It was a hand drawing the number ten on an easel. It decorated the number with stripes and colours and hearts and took about five minutes to finish. It then tore off the page and continued with nine, eight, seven, etc. The excitement was building. When the zero page was torn off, the audience eruptedÔ?Žand then it drew negative one, two, and three. A certain audience member interjected "Fuck you!," which described everyone's feelings pretty accurately. About fifteen minutes later, the band finally took the stage.

There was not going to be an opening act. Kevin Drew, joined by seven other band members, greeted his fans, thanked them for waiting, and promised a good show. He said "Yesterday was the warmup, today's the real thing." Oh, was he right. The band then broke into a song that I had never heard before called "All the Gods." It was a nice up-tempo anthemic rock song with some great rocking out by Andrew Whiteman on guitar and Brendan Canning on bass. Following that, Feist and the horn section took the stage (which now contained fourteen people) and went straight into "7/4 Shoreline," which really got the crowd going. This was follwed by a rendition of "Fire Eye'd Boy" that was faithful to the album version. Next up was an extremely powerful and just plain brilliant performance of "KC Accidental," which was probably my favourite song of the night. A bit later came "Stars and Sons," which is an audience favourite because of the infamous clapping part. To help with the clapping, a group containing Amy Milan (Stars), Jason Collett, and Jason Tait (the Weakerthans), as well as many others, joined the rest on a stage that now contained more than twenty musicians. Later, Sebastian from Death from Above 1979 would also join in on drums, percussion, and vocals as well as producer Dave Newfeld on guitar. The band and guests were really nailing every song and all seemed to be having fun. There was a lot of improvisation and rocking out by everyone. "Almost Crimes" was another highlight of this section of the show; Amy Milan threw her microphone into the crowd so they could sing along at the end, which bled into the fast version of "Major Label Debut," which was amazing.

Somewhere around this point, Kevin Drew took an applause poll to see which show (Friday or Saturday) was better so far. Saturday won easily, to which Kevin remarked "always go to the second Social Scene show, the first one's just a rehearsal." Dave Newfeld also took a moment to give shout-outs to the members of BSS's online forum. Kevin then urged everyone to really dance to their "disco" song "Hotel." This was pulled off so well that I don't think there was a single person in the building not getting their proverbial groove on. "Bandwitch" was amazing with Feist, Julie Penner, and Lisa Lobsinger singing the main rhythm with the rest of the band building the song around them. "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" was changed to "Anthems for a Fifteen Year Old Girl" and dedicated to a girl who was killed on the same day that Kevin Drew's grandfather died. Amy Milan did a pretty good job filling in for the absent Emily Haines on vocals, despite a lot of awkward dancing. "Superconnected" was dedicated to "your divorced parents" and started off slow and simple before building into a masterpiece of a crescendo surpassing the already great album version. This was followed by an extra-rocking "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" dedicated to "your best friend."

Before the encore, Kevin Drew took a few moments to drunkenly ramble about many topics, one of which being the (at this time) shortly approaching Canadian election. He was also presented with a doo-rag from an audience member (Amy Milan tied it on him) and a demo CD which he tossed backstage. This was all very entertaining. He was taking audience requests for the encore, but declined to play resounding choices "Pacific Theme" and "Windsurfing Nation" before eventually settling for "Lover's Spit." This was followed by a just okay version of "Cause = Time," aside from Charles Spearin's guitar solo which was excellent, and an unreleased/never-going-to-be-released song entitled "Where's Your Heart." They then played one of my favourites and a song that I was not at all expecting to hear, "I'm Still Your Fag," and finally an extra-long and extra-good performance of "It's All Gonna Break." After nearly three hours on stage, Broken Social Scene took a final bow and exited to overwhelming applause.

You may think that their new album is overproduced, you may even think it's shit, but I dare you to attend a Broken Social Scene show and not have a good time. It would be impossible. Their songs just translate so well to a live environment and the sheer number of people in the band provide the songs with so much power and energy. This was one of the best shows that I've ever seen.

Set list:

  • All the Gods
  • 7/4 (Shoreline)
  • Fire Eye'd Boy
  • KC Accidental
  • Major Label Debut (slow version)
  • Stars and Sons
  • Handjobs for the Holidays
  • Late Night Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries
  • Shampoo Suicide
  • Almost Crimes
  • Major Label Debut (fast)
  • Hotel
  • Bandwitch
  • Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl
  • Superconnected
  • Ibi Dreams of Pavement
  • Backyards
  • Lover's Spit
  • Cause=Time
  • Where's the Heart
  • I'm Still Your Fag
  • It's All Gonna Break


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mysillyname (January 29, 2006)

i like bands that take orphan/unwanted band members of other bands and smush em together to make a "rad" band like this. i have yet to see them live.. i will someday. i dont think i was into this review though. i'm not sure if i care that the writer didnt wear a coat or not to the show or that toronto was cold. chicago's cold too. so is new york.. and even alaska. doesnt affect my feelings about a show.. anyway, score is for the band and the latter part of the review that actually talks about the show..

hobojew (January 26, 2006)

I played this show. It was fun.

Anonymous (January 25, 2006)


I really want to see this show..


Anonymous (January 25, 2006)

BSS are fantastic live, I'm jealous.

ryanbolger (January 25, 2006)

rumours are stirring of them playing the island this summer in toronto again, as well as a free show in dundas square again.

everyone should move to toronto.

sickboi (January 25, 2006)

I'd probably be sick and leave after 5 minutes...

LevitateMe (January 25, 2006)

I forgot to put it in the review, but you just reminded me. Kevin Drew's position on the election: "vote for your mom."

Marlon (January 25, 2006)

Instead of, "Your mom goes to college," kids will now say, "Your mom is in Broken Social Scene."

Testiclese (January 24, 2006)

i think everyone in the world is in this band

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)


Marlon (January 24, 2006)

"And I've never heard of any of those bands, save the Stars whom I met at while working at a gas station in michigan. Boring."

You know what else was boring? Your post. Save your name dropping and "I met that band!" for Absolute Punk.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

"Members of BSS are also in: Stars, Feist, Apostle of Hustle, Do Make Say Think, Most Serene Republic, Reverie Sound Review, and Fembots."

And I've never heard of any of those bands, save the Stars whom I met at while working at a gas station in michigan. Boring.

Marlon (January 24, 2006)

I didn't DL it either. I don't have the technology. A friend just sent me the tracks.

shadydeals (January 24, 2006)

I'm moving to Toronto in August and I'm really hoping that there will be more shows like this one. Awesome setlist.

sickboi (January 24, 2006)

Marlon -

To start, I didn't DL it, just to clear that up.

But I have heard it, and from what I've listened to, I like it better than 'Greatest Story...', but not sure if its better than 'Apathy...'.

'Apathy...' just has a few tracks that are kinda timeless, that I feel I'll play a few years from now and remember exactly when I first heard them.

ryanbolger (January 24, 2006)

major label debut (fast) is arguably the best song they've written since "your forgot it in people", and it's not even on the LP.

only after listening to the LP to know it well enough, can you truly appreciate the version found on the EP.

Marlon (January 24, 2006)

Hey Sickboi what do you think of the new Lawrence Arms?

sickboi (January 24, 2006)

This dude loves him some Kevin Drew.

I hate artsy shit. Score is for D4, for "putting the 'f' back in 'art'."

sXenester (January 24, 2006)

Score's for Jason Tate.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

This sounds like a fantastic show. I saw them in November in Saskatoon and I was left quite disappointed. They looked like they just didn't want to be there. Like they could've been doing something far better. Don't get me wrong, it was in fact in a good show. I just went in there expecting so much more. However, this show seems like it would've been gnarly. Damn you, Toronto! We got the short end of the stick.

Cos (January 24, 2006)

I was at the second BSS show in LA last November, and both the band and Feist (as the opening act) commented that the second night was way better than the first. Maybe they always say that to whatever audience they're playing to.

Or maybe its just true. They rocked regardless

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

This review almost makes the band sound good. I've tried, but I just can't get into them at all. Boring art crap.


LevitateMe (January 24, 2006)

If anyone wants to see pictures there are some really amazing ones on the brokensocialscene.net forums.

hungryjoe (January 24, 2006)

This may be splitting hairs, but....neither of the 2 guys who make up FemBots (Dave Mackinnon and Brian Poirier) are part of BSS. However, Jason Tait (drums) and Julie Penner (violin) played on both FemBots albums, and are listed as "guests" in the latest BSS album, and suprisingly not one of the 17 (!) members of the band. There used to be a whole family tree on their website showing all the bands they had connections with...it was really pretty amazing.

For what it's worth, my favourite band to come out of this incestuous Toronto/Montreal scene is Do Make Say Think. Their last album was a post-rock masterpiece.

Marlon (January 24, 2006)

Well it was Toronto. It was probablly just one big Arts & Crafts and other Canadian musicians party.

LevitateMe (January 24, 2006)

There were members of TMSR on stage, but they weren't singled out (like Sebastian of DFA79 and Jason from the Weakerthans) so I just assumed that they were actual members. I really don't know, though.

Marlon (January 24, 2006)

None of the members of TMSR are listed as part of the band on the cover of the s/t so... I'm more confident now.

Marlon (January 24, 2006)

Actually Levitate... I'm pretty sure The Most Serene Republic is one of the only A&C band without a Broken Social Scene member... I have been wrong before, but I don't think any of them are in BSS... unless some were added very recently.

skanknsmile (January 24, 2006)

probably top on my list of bands to see ever.

xote (January 24, 2006)

wow they know how to start and end bands like no other I guess.

LevitateMe (January 24, 2006)

Members of BSS are also in: Stars, Feist, Apostle of Hustle, Do Make Say Think, Most Serene Republic, Reverie Sound Review, and Fembots.

Anonymous (January 24, 2006)

Does anyone know if one of the people in this band was in one of the opening acts for I think it was just the last Bright Eyes tour (he played at Constituation Hall in dc if that helps)

LevitateMe (January 24, 2006)

Swingline, their second album You Forgot It In People is the best one to start with, but the s/t certainly is a grower.

somegirl (January 24, 2006)

Crap, I missed them the last time they played Northampton. The person I was supposed to get a ride with already had eight people in the car when I got therer. Boo.

swingline (January 24, 2006)

i have their s/t. i don't like it very much.

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