The night before Broken Social Scene kicked off its world tour at the Fillmore in San Francisco, hometown heroes Rogue Wave performed on the same stage, and played a song that talks about music being cheaper than therapy. That pretty much sums up what BSS was going for over the course of its two-hour-plus set on Saturday, three days before the release of Forgiveness Rock Record, the Toronto collective’s first since 2005.
The Toronto kitchen-sink collective’s triumphant indie rock — aided at times by four guitars, two basses, sax, flute, and nine players onstage — is the perfect soundtrack for frontman Kevin Drew to make comments like, “This is therapy. This is for you. You gotta let it go.” And even if you’re not usually one to buy into a rock band’s inspirational messages, it was hard not to get caught up in the feel-better moments during Saturday’s show. Life can be a bummer, and human beings can be pretty shitty sometimes, but we all have the power to make tomorrow a little bit better than today.
That’s the take-home from an event that commenced with Forgiveness‘ opener, “World Sick,” a great sing-along that features the lines, “I get world sick every time I take a stand / I get world sick, my love is for my man.” Drew has said that the band wrote choruses for the new album with its audience in mind, a fact that helped hold their interest even when hearing songs for the first time.
At one point, Drew claimed he needed some assistance with a newbie, inviting a fan to hold up lyrics to “Forced to Love,” which eventually led to a voluntary love-fest filled with mutual hoodie-tugging and high-fives. (Did we already mention that the up-with-people vibe was infectious?)
Other standout moments courtesy of Forgiveness included the Pavement-esque “Water In Hell” — sung by the Scene’s other main man, Brendan Canning, whose battle with the flu didn’t get in the way of pogoing and delivering great rock kicks — and the pounding, horn-aided instrumental “Meet Me in the Basement,” which would have been an excellent way to end the show if the crowd hadn’t demanded more.
Despite the collective’s admittedly strong effort, the new songs couldn’t quite match the spectacle of older material like “7/4 (Shoreline),” “KC Accidental,” and the clap-tastic “Stars And Sons.”
“Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl” was appreciated, as always, with vocal assistance from the crowd and opener Julie Doiron, who Drew called “the queen of Canadian indie rock,” on the tune written by Metric’s Emily Haines.
Like a good psychologist, Drew ended things on a positive note, closing the show with “Lover’s Spit.”
Then he told everyone to go home and call their grandmother.
1. World Sick
2. Stars And Sons
3. Texico Bitches
4. 7/4 (Shoreline)
5. Fire Eye’d Boy
6. Forced To Love
7. Art House Director
8. Cause = Time
9. All To All
11.Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl
12.Water In Hell
13.Ungrateful Little Father
15.Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
16.F-ked Up Kid
17.Meet Me In The Basement