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Big Band, Big Sound, Big Night

September 20th, 2010

Broken Social Scene – SummerStage – September 18, 2010

Broken Social Scene - SummerStage - September 18, 2010
Labor Day has come and gone, but summer technically lives on. The weather cooperated on Saturday, and an outdoor party in Central Park with Broken Social Scene providing the soundtrack was a brilliant idea. Bathed in red light and wasting no time, the Toronto collective launched into “KC Accidental,” the kind of anthem with which normal rock bands close their big-time NYC gigs. Of course, BSS is no normal rock band, and sometime between the blistering three-guitar start and the pogoing, fist-pumping finish, the number of musicians onstage doubled, with horn players and guitars everywhere you looked.

Later on, after an especially powerful “Cause = Time,” frontman Kevin Drew introduced himself to a horn player he said he’d never met. “This type of thing happens all the time in Broken Social Scene,” he exclaimed, and no doubt it does. The music was a magnet for more music and more musicians to make it. And there were enough on hand for a tour de force middle section of “Art House Director,” “Hotel” and “Romance to the Grave.” The latter was perfectly atmospheric and well served by the Sam Prekop’s vocals. In the opening slot, his band, the Sea and Cake, was a perfect foil. Their sound was slim and clean, a late-summer breeze floating on Prekop’s vocals and Archer Prewitt’s drifting guitar. Their bandmate John McEntire was an honorary BSS member for the night, providing double drumming on highlight after highlight.

The sound was big and when coaxed by the soundman to throw caution to the wind and just pay the fine for excessive volume, Drew and Co. didn’t require any arm-twisting, screaming out “Superconnected” with plenty of Andrew Whiteman guitar solos. Pushing up against curfew, even the encore was larger than life: four songs—each of which would have done the trick on its own—anchored by Whiteman’s beautiful “Looks Just Like the Sun.” Summer may have saved its best for last. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com