Live Review: Broken Social Scene @ Toad's Place, October 21

There are moments, relatively few and far between thankfully, where there appears a lapse in my musical cache so glaring that I cannot help but hang my head in shame. Let's just say that my never having seen Broken Social Scene live until this past Tuesday night can definitely be added to that small, but rather horrifying, list. It's true, friends, yours truly has gone years and years and years without ever once seeing one of Canada's most delightful musical exports (this statement actually applies to several Canadian bands, but one embarassing oversight at a time, eh?).

I was mightily impressed with both the headliners and their opening band, Land of Talk, yet another byproduct of BSS members (Liz Powell, for one). Liz also held her own as the only lady in the current BSS touring machine (and the lady plays a mean guitar). I've been hearing a lot of Land of Talk on WOXY these days, and for good reason: they're pretty darn good, a fact that becomes even more evident when seeing them live.

But BSS, oh my, BSS was splendid, sublime, superb, sensational, and pretty much any other positive adjective beginning with the letter "s" (or any other letter, for that matter). Because I am old, I left after about an hour and a half of the set, but I have it on good authority that the band was cranking out song after song until nearly 1:30 in the morning. On a Tuesday, no less. It takes a special band indeed to play for so long, at least such has been my experience. Most bands consider it a job well done to play for over an hour (naturally, exceptions are made for newer bands with less material to pull from). But no, not BSS. They delighted Richmond with a hearty mix of BSS songs and those of BSS offshoots, like several selections from Brendan Canning's new album (a favorite around these parts, you know). During the course of the set, the band seemed incredibly and honestly touched at how receptive and enthusiastic the crowd was, and played with smiles on their faces and a spritely spring in their collective step. I found their energy contagious (though not enough, sadly, to keep me around for the whole set) and their performance as a whole captivating.

While it might have taken me years to finally get my ass to a Broken Social Scene show, I've got to say this was a good one to have as my first. It was pretty much flawless, full of mirth and merriment, and I can now say I am safely ensconced among the plentiful ranks of BSS devotees. Come back soon, friends.

[photo by Megan Petty]


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