By Lauren Rosier
After a three-year hiatus from performing, Canadian indie rock band and collective, Broken Social Scene, returned to making music to an excited fan base. They performed this past Tuesday night at The Fillmore in Philly in support of their latest release, Hug Of Thunder. The band includes a group of talented musicians to form sort of a music collective that switches up its members as their schedules allow them to be available.
The crowd varied from kids in their late teens to older adults, but everyone shared a common love for Broken Social Scene. The band stormed the stage with a purpose and broke out into one of their popular songs,, “KC Accidental”. They owned the stage and the crowd during the opening song. The instrumentation in the song was just as impactful live as it is recorded. The raging guitars, crazy tempo changes, and rhythm section were intense and satisfying.
The crazy time signature of the song “7/4 (Shoreline)” was chaotically brilliant live, while new songs like “Halfway Home” and “Protest Song” brought Hug of Thunder to life. Lead vocalist Kevin Drew gave engaging live performances of “Fire Eye’d Boy” and “Texico Bitches” – he jumped off the stage, onto the barricade, and started greeting fans. New member Ariel Engle delivered an electrifying vocal performance of the band’s “disco” song, “Stay Happy”.
One of the memorable moments of night was during the first three songs of Broken Social Scene’s performance. I was taking photographs of the band and Engle looked down at the photographer’s pit, waved, and mouthed ‘thank you’. It was quite a humbling experience and really got me even more excited about the band.
The band’s, perhaps, most popular track, “Sweetest Kill” [or by what Drew stated, “the people’s choice”], earned a roaring round of hollers and applause. The indie folk track, “Skyline”, was dedicated to late and great Tom Petty following his unexpected death. The band turned it up on “Almost Crimes” and changed up the arrangement of “Major Label Debut” from a ambling tempo to a fast, upbeat tempo, giving new life to the song. Broken Social Scene ended the 15-song set with “It’s All Gonna Break”, before the three-song encore.
The five-piece Scottish indie rock band, Frightened Rabbit, opened the show, but I only caught a small part of their set. In spite of it all, I discovered a new music interest. A little indie and maybe a touch of punk and grunge, Frightened Rabbit, clearly had an abundance of fans in the Philadelphia region, as I looked around the floor, and saw many singing along. I would describe Frightened Rabbit’s sound as indie rock on drugs. Their sound was of typical of what you’d expect from an indie rock band, but with a Scottish kick.
Initially, Broken Social Scene was a band I was introduced to through my younger sister, and first heard the track “Lover’s Spit” throughout indie rock radio stations and the blogosphere. Since that introduction, I’ve grown to love their music, and their live show was a nostalgic journey back through my middle school and high school days, and the memory of my sister sharing their music.