It's not every day you get to see your favorite band live from the front row.
Like many of their fans my age, I first heard Broken Social Scene upon their inclusion in the soundtrack to 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. However, when I found a used copy of their album You Forgot it in People at my local secondhand store, that my appreciation of them became what it is today.
Their music is an effortless blend of experimental/unorthodox songwriting and an outwardly poppy and conventional sound. There's truly something for everyone with Broken Social Scene. They can be a bouncy soundtrack to a bike ride or a journey through noisiness and atonality; a fun major-key walk through the grass or a gloomy, introspective night in with rain pattering on your bedside window.
Sadly, the band was on hiatus in 2014. So at the peak of my, obsession with the band, there was no chance of me being able to see them live. However, in support of their 2017 album Hug of Thunder, the band began a tour of Europe and America. One stop on this tour was at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. With the help of Pirate Promotions WEGL's sweetheart of a music director Keith Krause got on the guest list for the show, plus two guests. So on Friday, September 22nd, Keith, Brooks Glover (WEGL's website director), and I hit the road for Atlanta.
We got to the Tabernacle just in time to catch the second opener, Frightened Rabbit of Scotland. Active since 2003, their set showcased a wonderfully modernized indie folk rock sound that entranced the crowd. Folk rock, it seems, is far from dead.
Frightened Rabbit from Scotland. Photo by Keith Krause
Once their set ended, the tension began building in the crowd. Every black-clad roadie brought with them a sense of anticipation; we were getting closer. Finally, as the lights dimmed and Broken Social Scene walked out, the crowd erupted in deafening applause. They began their set with the hits--the songs that everyone would recognize, like "KC Accidental" and "7/4 Shoreline," before exploring Hug of Thunder's tracklist a little more closely. Kevin Drew, the ever-lovable frontman and primary songwriter for the group, jumped from the front of the stage to the keyboards in the back as necessary. For songs that didn't prominently feature him, like "Looks Just Like the Sun" and "Stay Happy," he made sure to throw the attention on his band and the female vocalists.
Broken Social Scene from Toronto. Photo by Keith Krause
After a two song encore (they sadly didn't have time to perform the last song on their setlist, "Lover's Spit"), the lights came back on and the happiness of the crowd was thick in the air. I managed to grab a setlist (Brooks' photograph of which can be seen below), before stepping over the spilled/drop drinks to the entrance. Broken Social Scene has been my favorite band for four years, and I was curious as to how I'd feel about their live set in relation to the albums. Would I like it more? Less? Would it change how I felt about them?
Photo by Brooks Glover.
Well, let's just say I had nothing to worry about. It did change how I felt about them.
But only for the better.
Broken Social Scene's "Hug of Thunder" is out now via Arts and Crafts and is available to stream and purchase on all major platforms. Thanks to Arts and Crafts, Broken Social Scene, and Pirate Promotions for giving me the opportunity to write this review.