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In an interview with Pitchfork promoting their latest album Hug of Thunder (released via Arts & Crafts), Broken Social Scene co-founder Kevin Drew responded thusly to a question about the record’s title:

…When Leslie [Feist] came up with that title, it was undeniable to all of us. Because that’s exactly who we are. That is our show. We’re trying to create that hug of thunder. That sound. That embrace amongst the chaos. Touch is as fucking connected as you can get. You’re supposed to fucking talk to someone and put your hand on their shoulder and look into their eyes. If you’re staring at a screen, how do you have that? Where does that moment come into play? At the end of the day, you want to embrace people. A hug is a serious embracement.

I can’t think of a better way to describe a Broken Social Scene concert than that, especially the one I attended on Sunday, April 8th at the Wellmont Theater. During the show, Drew talked about feeling rejuvenated, that even though it was the last night of the tour, they felt like they had the energy of 20-year-olds. That energy showed throughout the evening as Drew and company ripped through a blistering set full of songs new and old with gusto.

There was always plenty happening on stage. During bigger moments, the band ballooned up to nine members (and it pushed 15 when opener The Belle Sound and some others jumped out during the encore). Members rotated around, taking turns on lead vocals and swapping instruments. It was a utilitarian dream on stage, and it worked to great effect. Drew sounded terrific, essentially studio quality, and newcomer Ariel Engle was more than capable of handling all of the workload for female vocals. She even debuted a solo song of hers towards the end of the set that sounded great. Hers was the most dynamic performance of the night, in my opinion.

Songs off Hug of Thunder like “Skyline,” “Protest Song,” “Stay Happy,” and “Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse” (making its live debut) all took the best parts of Broken Social Scene and synthesized them with some new flourishes. There was, of course, plenty of old material for the longtime fans. They busted out “7/4 (Shoreline)” out very early and kept the favorites like “World Sick,” “Texico Bitches,” “Ibi Dreams of Pavement,” “Cause = Time,” “Sweetest Kill,” and of course “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year Old Girl” during the encore (during which the ladies of The Belle Game joined). They ended with a wild wall of sound by playing “Meet Me in the Basement,” which gave everyone one last opportunity to jump around and just experience something.

The thing that stood out the most to me, though, was how uplifting, even therapeutic, the show was. Drew emphasized that optimism trumps pessimism, the need to stick together, to be there for each other, and to not give up hope. He even led the crowd in a giant session of scream therapy where we just yelled as loud as we could for 30 seconds. (After seeing what Uncle Sam took from me in taxes this year, you better believe it felt great to let out my frustrations with those shouts.) The band’s enthusiasm swept over and spread to the crowd seamlessly. Judging by the look on most of the crowd’s faces, most everyone left the show invigorated and ready to take on life anew.

Vancouver pop outfit The Belle Game opened things up with a short but sweet set. Lead singer Andrea Lo has a beautiful voice that really hit some powerful notes, and the funky arrangements took me by surprise in a good way. I could have listened to a few more songs and been completely content.

Find the setlist posted below along with a full gallery from both performances.

The Belle Game

Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene Setlist:

1. D/G Drone
2. Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse (live debut)
3. KC Accidental
4. 7/4 (Shoreline)
5. Cause = Time
6. Protest Song
7. Texico Bitches
8. Stars and Sons
9. World Sick
10. Stay Happy
11. Hug of Thunder
12. Sweetest Kill
13. Shampoo Suicide
14. TBD (Ariel Engle solo song…no title, lyrics include ‘never gonna forget’)
15. Skyline
16. Fire Eye’d Boy
17. Almost Crimes
18. Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)

Encore:

19. Gonna Get Better
20. Anthems for a Seventeen-Year Old Girl(with The Belle Game)
21. Meet Me in the Basement

Preview: Broken Social Scene at The Wellmont

By Will Oliver, April 6th 2018

Canadian indie rock collective Broken Social Scene are still hard at work touring in support of their 2017 album Hug Of Thunder.

We caught them last year at Brooklyn Steel and they are back in the area for a pair of shows this weekend. On Saturday night they will perform at Long Island venue The Paramount and on Sunday they will play New Jersey venue The Wellmont Theatre.

Tickets are available for both shows still and may be your last chance to see the group here for a little while.

Stay tuned for coverage from their performance at The Wellmont coming very soon.

Broken Social Scene and The Belle Game at Brooklyn Steel (September 21, 2017)

By Will Oliver, October 17th 2017 — with 1 comment

Just a few weeks after playing at The Meadows Festival, Canadian indie rock collective Broken Social Scene returned to us in New York for a sold out performance at Brooklyn Steel. They were supported by fellow Canadians The Belle Game who got the show started with a lovely set of their passionate electronic rock.

The Belle Game joined Broken Social Scene for a few tracks where extra female vocals were needed, such as the set highlight that always is “Anthems for A Seventeen Year-Old Girl.” Broken Social Scene’s main focus was the new efforts from their new album Hug of Thunder (released via Arts & Crafts) but they also gave us a healthy dose of older favorites such as “7/4 (Shoreline),” “Almost Crimes,” and “Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day).”

Find their full setlist posted below, along with a gallery of both The Belle Game and Broken Social Scene.
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Broken Social Scene at Music Hall of Williamsburg (July 21, 2016)

By Will Oliver, September 7th 2016 — with 1 comment

1_broken-social-scene_music-hall-of-williamsburg

On the night before their performance at Panorama, Canadian greats Broken Social Scene made their live return to New York for a very intimate performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg, their first live show in New York in years since their hiatus. The show was opened by Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic, who also were performing at Panorama.
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[video] Broken Social Scene Perform on QTV

By Will Oliver, May 3rd 2010 — with 2 comments

Watch two of Broken Social Scene’s excellent performance’s for QTV from April 29th. Watch “Texico Bitches” & “World News”below:

Texico Bitches:

World News:

Stream 2 New Broken Social Scene Songs From Forgiveness Rock Record

By Will Oliver, March 23rd 2010 — with 2 comments

Broken Social Scene are in with the times. They realize that the record business is indeed broken and new methods of promotion are needed in order to get people to buy music. That’s why they have offered two tracks off of their upcoming album Forgiveness Rock Record as streams. You can stream it below with a handy dandy widget, and if you would like you can purchase them right now.

This is one of the smarter moves that I have seen from a band in a while. The two songs given to us are the guitar focused “Forced To Love” and the gorgeous “All To All” which features Lisa Lobsinger (Reverie Sound Revue) on lead vocals. Both songs live up to the high standards that we expect from BSS. All To All even goes beyond them with its beautiful sincerity. I’m dying to hear the rest of the record. Something tells me it’s gonna be a major gem.

Stream the two new songs along with World News below:

[new] Broken Social Scene – World Sick

By Will Oliver, February 19th 2010 — with 2 comments

It’s been 5 years since we have gotten a new album from Broken Social Scene. Damn! It’s been a while! I know that some people are more excited than others, but I think anyone who enjoyed fine song writing should be happy to see BSS back in business!

They gave the world a free download of their new song via mp3 format. The song is called “World Sick” and it is a 7 minute long epic. If a song is over 6 minutes, isn’t it pretty much epic just by default? “World Sick” is a tasty piece of rock and roll that is crafted with plenty of love and care. Would lush be a good word to describe “World Sick”? The song sorta has a Sigur Ros like atmosphere. It builds and builds within itself creating an beautiful jam that is a good “remember us” statement. I am blown away by how good this is.

World Sick will be off their new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, which is going to see the light of day on May 4th on Arts & Crafts. The band has trimmed down to an “official” 6 piece now. That still means plenty of guests on the album though! Leslie Feist, members of Pavement, Metric, Stars, Do Make Say Think, the Sea and Cake, and Tortoise will all have some guest duties on the album!

[mp3] Broken Social Scene – World Sick

Best Albums of 2017: Anthony’s Picks

By Anthony Bauer, January 12th 2018

Before we dive into my favorite albums of 2017, lets quickly visit some of the years best EP’s.  There were a lot of really fantastic EP’s released this year but that doesn’t mean any of these skimped out on quality.  Here are my favorite, or most listened to EP’s of 2017:
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Best Songs of 2017: Anthony’s Picks

By Anthony Bauer, January 11th 2018

This ‘top 100 songs of 2017’ post could have easily been ‘top 200 songs of 2017’ due to the insane (yet absolutely amazing) amount of great music that was released this past year.  While it is near impossible to listen to it all, here were my favorite 100 songs from 2017 (with a bonus 5, because… why not?):
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We All Want Someone’s Best Albums Of 2017

By Will Oliver, January 9th 2018 — with 5 comments


[Artwork by Anthony Bauer]

Was 2017 a good year for music? Was it a bad year? Who knows, it seems like every year your social media pages are bombarded with think pieces about it being the best year of music ever, the worst year, the end of rock music, or the album as we know it. But every year I seem totally and utterly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of musical releases in a year. It’s one thing to keep up with the high volume of new releases that seem to come out at an increasing pace with every passing week. Before you know it, the year is over and you’re somehow trying to rank all the stuff that occupied your ears.

Whether it was alone in your room, on the subway, stuck in traffic on the highway, or at a party with friends, albums have the power to create literal soundtracks for our lives. While these rankings are where I am at during this particular moment in time if you checked back in with me in a couple of weeks who knows how it would change. But rankings aside, these are a bunch of albums that had some sort of effect on me throughout the year.

Using the word best is course objective, so if you will, these are my favorite albums of 2017: Read the rest of this entry »


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