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August 16, 2010 | by  | in Music |
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Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene
San Francisco Bath House 07/08/10

I spent $300 on seeing the Pixies play Christchurch, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

Just kidding-the Pixies were awesome, thanks, and the Doolittle shirt’s pretty good, too. But I couldn’t help but feel just a little cheated when I saw a superior performance at good ol’ San Fran less than a week later-and for a sixth of the total cost of my mission south. In fact, Canadian indie outfit Broken Social Scene’s show on 7 August was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and though the CBS Canterbury Arena compares unfavourably with the intimacy of the Bath House, the thrill of the gig had more to do with the band’s charisma, their energy, and the audience’s evident elation at being present.

Even though I’m not enamoured of Broken Social Scene’s latest album Forgiveness Rock Record, it came to life when played-well, live. Opener ‘World Sick’ took on a new spaciousness when experienced in person; ‘Texico Bitches’ transformed into a vivacious, playful romp. The triumphant ‘Meet Me in the Basement’, the last track of the set, showcased the brass section, at least two members of which were Wellington musicians.

Naturally, though, it was old favourites such as ‘Fire Eyed Boy’ and ‘Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Half)’ that elicited the biggest response from the crowd. It was clear that most present were long-standing fans of the band, and frontman Kevin Drew-a personable chair of the fuid, frenetic assembly on stage-seemed to bask in their near-palpable adulation.

Fellow founding member Brendan Canning treated the audience to ‘Love is New’, from his 2008 solo album Something for All of Us, while current touring frontwoman Lisa Lobsinger ably flled the shoes of Leslie Feist and Emily Haines on tracks such as ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’ and ‘Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl’ (yep: Wellington heard it, Auckland didn’t). Drew’s intimate solo rendition of ‘Lovers Spit’ sent girls reeling into the arms of their boyfriends and even (I have it on reliable authority) moved a couple of young men to tears, much to the derision of other young men present.

The band’s apparent delight in performing, coupled with their audience’s effervescent energy, made for a never-to-be-repeated gig, yet friends who saw them play San Fran in early 2008 maintain that they were just as good then. Broken Social Scene is best experienced live: make sure you catch them on their next trip down under. And buy the t-shirt, too-you’ll still get value for money.

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About the Author ()

Elle started out at Salient reviewing music. In 2010, she wrote features and Animal of The Week, which an informal poll revealed to be 40% of Victoria students' favourite part of the magazine. Alongside Uther Dean, she was co-editor for 2011. In 2012, she is chief features writer.

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