September 30, 2023

Broken Social Scene played Brooklyn Steel

Defying a state-of-emergency and flood warnings across the city, Broken Social Scene weathered the storm and played a rapturous set to a soggy, yet dedicated crowd at Brooklyn Steel.

Like they did last year when they came to Webster Hall, Broken Social Scene have continued their tour in support of their classic album You Forgot It In People's twentieth anniversary, and like they did a year ago, they played tribute to the record without playing it entirely in-full making for something as close to a greatest hits set as you could hope for. Teasing the crowd with the instrumental intro the band took to the stage and began to lay into the track before band leader finally joined the rest of the ensemble to come in for the vocals on  "KC Accidental" which kicked-off the first part of the album before hitting into "Stars and Sons" and "Almost Crimes," a killer opening that really set the tone of indie rock in the early aughts and helped shaped their specific style of post-rock that navigated more towards anthemic vocals and soaring choruses as oppressed to the long, drawn-out instrumentals of the standard loud/quiet dynamics many of their peers in the scene were known for creating. Guitarist Andrew Whiteman took over vocals on the slow-burner "Looks Just Like the Sun," a track Kevin Drew referred to as one of his favorites on the album, which mellowed things out for a minute and wonderfully transitioned into the sputtering rhythm that kicks off the jubilant, bouncy, and overall good time jam "Pacific Time," which became an instant mood boost for the crowd and really helped assert the vibes that would remain for the rest of the evening. Acting like a gateway drug to the indie world of the mid-2000s, the influence of the album remains impressive and still retains the feelings of the exciting times when music blogs could make a band and have the ripples felt across a community. Forever following their belief of power in numbers, the band counted at least ten members, most of whom switched up instruments throughout the night, a necessity for a band that's historically been a collective led by few constants, but given their cohesiveness on stage and ability to jam alongside each other through some lengthy tunes, you'd assume this has been the group behind these tracks from the beginning. "Cause=Time" was a transcendent hit that amassed a sensational dose of euphoria and delivered straight through incendiary guitar riffs that broke apart at just the right moments before coming together again for sheer bliss. Near the mid-point of the album, Drew announced that they'd verge away from the record and play around because it was a Friday night and they were there to have some fun (he also rightfully acknowledged the catastrophic storm from the day and how the band was unsure all day if the show would even occur). The band then launched into the killer "7/4 (Shoreline)" which amped up the crowd and transitioned the concert into a full-fledged Broken Social Scene show with high potential for greatness. As the triumphant horns kicked-in to bring the song to a close, it was clear that the band were ready to reward those who could attend and the night only continued to gain momentum with each song. "Fire Eye'd Boy" was another solid throwback to their self-titled album that maintained the energy level for another major moment before turning back to the honorary album of the night. "Late Nineties Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries" and "Shampoo Suicide" restated the purpose of the evening, before Drew threw in a lone solo number from his most recent record, which he dedicated to his recently departed mother, before delivering an emotional speech about his friends up on stage. For "Hug of Thunder," Jill Harris took the lead vocals and delivered a powerhouse performance that ignited the crowd once more, invigorating the night with a jolt of elation before Drew cooled it down once more with a moving "Lover's Spit." Starting alone on keys, he led the crowd through a glowing singalong as the rest of the band slowly rejoined on stage making for a strong, climactic finish. Much to my surprise, the band played "World Sick" from 2010's Forgiveness Rock Record, an underrated gem that swells like the best of them with surging guitars, going big before settling into a tingling groove that rides out until the end. "Do you want 'Ibi Dreams of Pavement' or 'Gonna Break'?" Drew asked the crowd, who answered with a resounding favor towards "It's All Gonna Break" which carried the night to an incredible finish, it's massive build-up crashing and giving in to the name of the song with stunning glory. Naturally, the band closed out the set with the album's classic "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl" to hit everyone right in the feels one more time. As the song's epic refrain swirled around the venue as the crowd sang along like a communal and cathartic chant, it felt like brilliant moment of release and newfound joy, a moment and feeling that can only come from live music and one that made the troubles of the day feel so far removed, a beautiful remind of what music can do for you.

Set list;

01 "KC Accidental"
02 "Stars and Sons"
03 "Almost Crimes"
04 "Looks Just Like the Sun"
05 "Pacific Theme"
06 "Cause = Time"
07 "7/4 (Shoreline)"
08 "Fire Eye'd Boy"
09 "Sweetest Kill"
10 "Stay Happy"
11 "Late Nineties Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries"
12 "Shampoo Suicide"
13 "Out in the Fields" [Kevin Drew song]
14 "Hug of Thunder"
15 "Lover's Spit"
16 "World Sick"
17 "It's All Gonna Break"
18 "Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl"

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