Friday, November 28, 2008

Before and After: Broken Social Scene @ the Sound Academy - Nov.28.2008



Before:
I'm not really expecting much out of Broken Social Scene tonight, I haven't particularly enjoyed any of the BSS "presents" albums, and while I do really like both You Forgot It In People and Broken Social Scene, I'm kind of expecting a "presents" heavy set-list. Also, probably surprising to no one who reads this even semi-regularly, I'm not big on the whole "jam-band" thing, so I think the band is at its best with Feist, Milan, or Haines singing over their mess of guitars, drums, helmets, or whatever else they play.

I've never seen BSS before and my buddy KW (who is an outstanding writer and you should all read) and his wife Carrie are going so even if the show isn't great we should still have a good time. So, maybe having relatively low expectations is a good thing. We'll see...


After:
Well, that was a pretty solidly bizarre night from beginning to end.

First, none of us realized that the Sound Academy was actually 'the Docks', not that that would've helped us get there since it is basically in the middle of nowhere... maybe we should've asked that first hooker we passed by on Queen St...

Second, that place was an absolute zoo... I guess Broken Social Scene is, how do you say, kind of a big deal.

Third, it did turn out to be a "presents" heavy show, but, it wasn't all bad. I did enjoy some of the Drew or Canning songs, but by and large the highlights of the night were hearing all the songs that made BSS so popular in the first place: "7/4 Shoreline", "Superconnected", "Cause=Time", "Anthem ..." (a few of which featured a guest appearance from Emily Haines) etc.

Fourth, remember how I said BSS is "kind of a big deal"? Well, they act like it, which I kind of think is unappealing. It was just the swagger, the way they walked around the stage, and how annoyed they got when people talked through parts of their set. I mean, with the amount of material that the BSS collective has released not everyone was going to walk away from their set happy; so, as a band you've got to realize people who are unhappy are going to talk or whatever... but, if you're going to be annoyed by people talking then you've got to try and please most people, be conscious of what your audience is going to want, and try and deliver. What this means is that, playing a tape of one of your band member's neighbors talking, rather than playing a popular song like "Windsurfing Nation" isn't exactly going to endear you to the bulk of your audience.

In contrast, I realize the RAA/Ohbijou/The Acorn are all smaller bands, but it was great to see them so greatful for the attention... Kyle told a similar story about seeing Stars (the band) at YorkFest earlier this year where Torq was very thankful for the attention, and presumably had a better rapport with the crowd...

Fifth, I can't imagine what trying to get out of "that place" would've been like had a been near the front, or, say, not right at the back. And, even being right at the back, we were lucky enough to share a cab with a lone middle-aged dude and we, collectively, paid 30 bucks for the cab back to Union (even though "that place" claimed to have a shuttle for $2, which did not exist).

Sixth, after our adventure getting down to and then out of "that place", Kyle sends me a text at approx. 1:30 saying that they got trapped on the subway going home because, apparently, someone jumped in front of a train... yikes...

Seventh, sorry, that was really long winded. Ahh, the things that happen to me when I have caffeine.

Bob Battams aka. Quadb has a much more charitable review.

4 comments:

historyjen said...

Oh man I hate big shows. Sounds like it wasn't terrible, but EXPENSIVE.

Quadb said...

Hmm. I really enjoyed the show myself, although I'm pretty die hard when it comes to all things BSS. Kevin Drew's arrogance seems to get a general love him or hate him response. I love him but I know many that hate him. I agree with you though as far as the zoo like atmosphere of the crowd. Coulda done without that. I did get quite the chuckle from your observations though. (At the risk of sounding old man-ish, man you shoulda seen them back in the day.)

Quadb said...

thanks for your comments also. ha, i'm pretty sure the hipstersnob comment does not apply to you, simply because it sounds like you were never into the whole jam band thing, (as i am) so therefore what you feel could not really be considered backlash, just honest opinion. and i enjoyed the show but not as much as i did in the past. i'm quite content with this one being my final BSS show (at least until they're old enough to be playing casino rama or something...)

Lesley said...

I had my heartbroken when I went to see Iron & Wine and Calexico at the Docks a few years ago. I absolutely could not enjoy a show in that enormous crowded concrete box of a venue - never mind that it was located a million wintry miles from civilization. Really appalling venue. I can only assume tons of out-of-town bands must be crushed when they see the space. I think the Docks should really just stick to raves.