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Broken Social Scene Electrifies Terminal 5

January 19th, 2011

Broken Social Scene – Terminal 5 – January 18, 2010

Broken Social Scene - Terminal 5 - January 18, 2010

Last night, Broken Social Scene, the seasoned Canadian indie-rock collective, broadcast their show from Terminal 5 to an Internet-wide YouTube-viewing audience. On backlit screens around the world, I imagine small but impassioned groups of fans connected to the stream, speakers turned up and eyes fixed on the performance. As digital music forces record companies to amend outdated practices perhaps this is the new fan experience: concerts from the comfort of your own home. Nothing else seems to be sacred, so the live show is the next logical step for digital revamping. But the experience of a concert, the “being there” quality ranging from sound to the energy of the crowd, is irreproducible. Just ask anyone who was at Terminal 5 last night.

Over nearly two-and-a-half hours, Broken Social Scene dug deep into their expansive catalog. While the majority of the set covered the band’s most recent album, Forgiveness Rock Record, “Guilty Cubicles,” “Cause = Time” and “Fire Eye’d Boy,” from their first three albums, respectively, stood alongside newer songs with equal if not greater passion and interest. Even “Canada vs. America,” a rarely played track from EP to Be You and Me, was revived in part due to the rise of the Tea Party, according to frontman Kevin Drew.

Drew, the band’s cofounder along with bassist Brendan Canning, ostensibly stole the show. For “Lover’s Spit,” he solitarily played the introduction on keyboard, and at the close of “Superconnected,” the showstopper dedicated to a friend’s passing, Drew strummed out the song on electric guitar. He even got the big rock and roll moment on “Ungrateful Little Father” when he dove into the crowd. But, ultimately, the night belonged to those onstage and although Drew joked that each of their songs sounds like the end of the show, the band actually closed with a wonderful cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Ooh Baby Baby” (with the opener, Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic) and a subdued version of “Stars and Sons.” These songs, an encore after the end of the stream, further proved that “being there” is worth the price of admission. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com