Concert Review: Broken Social Scene @ 9:30 Club (9/19/17)

Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene @ 9:30 Club on 9/20 (Photo from FB, Photo Credit: jschu83)

When you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Broken Social Scene, the hand-clap band of countless members from Toronto, Canada, purveyed the 9:30 Club concert-goers with two nights of jam rock.

With a back-drop of white, adorned with flowers and trees, Kevin Drew and five other band members took positions and started playing “KC Accidental’ in earnest.

But wait, I was thinking, only six? As the first few songs flowed together with barely any transition, more members trickled in.

In all, 10 members of Broken Social Scene came out, of the myriad of possible combinations. Notably absent from the cadre of female vocalists were Emily Haines (of Metric) and Leslie Feist. But Amy Milan (of Stars) and Ariel Engle were game for the heavy lifting of contributing to the vocal diversity of the band. Even four or five songs in, I was still holding out that Emily would make a tardy appearance, but it was not to be, much to my chagrin as a fan of Metric.

The lively crowd at the sold out 9:30 Club were ready, regardless of the final lineup, the band really centers around Kevin. Dancing and grooving to the 18 or so songs they performed, people often couldn’t stop singing along.

I wasn’t as familiar with their songs as those dancers, but did start to find my groove with the new song, “Halfway Home”, where the flowing and weaving instruments, all came together around the strong bass. For a number of the songs, I was so enjoying the musical elements, that I was quietly hoping they didn’t need to add any lyrics to the mix.

Six songs in, it was a good thing they did vocalize though, as they sang “Texico Bitches”, a term the band created to describe those that play cards and paint their faces. It’s a strange, fun ride to hear the song live.

After six years of not touring, Broken Social Scene are now promoting their newest album, Hug of Thunder. They played six songs from the album, including “Protest Song”, which they dedicated to the President.

Kevin often chatted with the crowd, “We’re here for you. It’s therapy.” and the best, “I never thought this would happen. I’m 41 and I’m in a hand clap band.”

As the last song before the encore began, the hard driving “Major Label Debut (Fast)”, Kevin wondered loudly, “Are we committed together, are we doing this??” The crowd wanted all the hand claps.

After a brief tutorial from Kevin on how encores work, they came back for four more encore songs, not including a short vignette of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’.

One of the highlights of the show was how there were so many threads, so much going on at any one time. 10 people shifting, changing instruments, taking new positions in a seemingly seamless ballot of musicianship and vocal harmonies. The may claim that it’s broken, but it isn’t.

Next time they come to DC, take a moment to head over and catch them live, it’s the best way to experience their social scene. And maybe Emily will join them!

KC Accidental
7/4 (Shoreline)
Halfway Home
Protest Song
Fire Eye’d Boy
Texico Bitches
Stay Happy
Hug of Thunder
Sweetest Kill
Forced to Love
Almost Crimes
Major Label Debut (Fast)

Stars and Sons
Gonna Get Better
Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl
Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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