Tag Archives: Brendan Canning

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Broken Social Scene to the Rescue at Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday

October 5th, 2017

Broken Social Scene – Brooklyn Steel – October 4, 2017

In “getting the band back together,” the siblings in The Blues Brothers are compelled to get all of the original members, no less will do, in order to rekindle the old magic. I imagine Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning going through similar adventures every few years as they search Toronto to round up Andrew Whiteman, Charles Spearin, Justin Peroff and the rest of Broken Social Scene. In the movie, the reunion is to save an orphanage, and while now there’s no orphanage to save, per se, it does lately feel like our collective national psyche has been orphaned—and who better to save it than these guys? Or, as Drew put it midway through their sold-out show at Brooklyn Steel last night: “When your country gets fucked up, Broken Social Scene shows up … that’s what we do.” And show up they did, delivering a powerful, jubilant, cathartic set, the band, indeed back together.

The healing vibes were flowing from the beginning with a punchy opening one-two of “KC Accidental” and “7/4 Shoreline,” guitars layered upon guitars and then, at just the right moment, a blast of horns materializing to provide the exclamatory oomph. “We’re not a rock band, we’re a family!” proclaimed Drew later in the night, putting to words the unique, sibling-love energy coming from the stage. Even when squeezing two, three and sometimes four guitar parts into their songs, the sound was big and loving without getting too messy. A mid-set pairing of “Stars and Sons” and “World Sick” showed off the ensemble’s range: joyous, raucous bounce followed by more subtle, heartfelt rocking, the latter lingering with beautiful cascades of guitar in both the intro and outro.

While it’s been a few years since Broken Social Scene’s last proper tour—and the band and crowd were both filled with nostalgia last night—plenty of new material still seamlessly fit into the set. “Skyline,” dedicated to Tom Petty, felt especially purposeful and charged, quietly building to another horn-led climax. The new record is titled Hug of Thunder, and that’s exactly what the show felt like, an emotional release in voluminous guitars, bass, drums and more. During the encore, the hugs became literal, Drew dropping down into the crowd to sing “Lover’s Spit” and giving a genuine embrace to as many people as he could along the way as he sang, sincerely, if not reassuringly, “Making it work takes a little time.” —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Broken Social Scene – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 21, 2016

July 22nd, 2016

Broken Social Scene - Music Hall of Williamsburg - July 21, 2016

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Brendan Canning: Worth the Wait

January 27th, 2014

Brendan Canning – Mercury Lounge – January 24, 2014


The jokes kind of write themselves: Canadian musician postpones show due to visa issues, comes “down South” to New York City in January during a historic cold snap instead of October when climes may have better suited him. But as Brendan Canning explained at Mercury Lounge on Friday night, it was all for the best—the delay had given him time to tweak his band and the music, and judging by the resulting set, who am I to argue?

Looking every part the veteran and an elder statesman of the Toronto music scene, Broken Social Scene’s Canning and Co. opened with a wash of spacey instrumentals, his band, a full guitar-heavy sextet, trending toward the subtle and the beautiful. The wall of sound eventually turned into tracks from Canning’s new album, You Gots 2 Chill. It’s filled with lo-fi songs and ideas, many sounding almost like he had made them lovingly, in his bedroom. Live, though, the band added an oomph and a measured interplay to the material, each song sounding like it could just keep going forever without complaint from musicians or the audience. Random film clips were projected on the back wall, giving the impression that the band was playing on that magical other side of a movie screen, perhaps an entire other audience out there unaware of the cinematic music being made.

Late in the show, when Canning had loosened up with the banter, he gave a helpful recap of the set: “spacey intro, first songs off You Gots 2 Chill, old Broken Social Scene, album material, new songs,” and that’s pretty much how it went. But song selection was only part of the appeal, the band felt totally frictionless, free to glide unimpeded in any direction. “However Long” was a highlight, stripped of the electronic bleeps on the studio version, the band dug into the breezy melody with vigor. It’s always a pleasure to see a band of this caliber deliver quality new material, and Canning didn’t disappoint. “Once I Was a Runner” was an indie-rock keeper with a jangly mellow outro. “Hey Marika,” advertised as a cross between the Everly Brothers and the Grateful Dead, didn’t disappoint with a rollicking jam that Canning hoped might get them into Bonnaroo. The final song, “Your Turn,” kept that open-ended theme going, starting sweetly and then building to a big BSS-esque finish while the projection turned appropriately to a rocket blasting into orbit. Canning stayed onstage with his acoustic guitar plucking a beautiful little instrumental solo to end a night well worth the wait. —A. Stein

 

 

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Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning Plays Mercury Lounge Tomorrow

January 23rd, 2014

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brendan Canning is most well known as one
of the founding members, alongside Kevin Drew, of the music collective Broken Social Scene. And although the much-loved Canadian rockers are on hiatus, Canning has remained incredibly busy, working on a variety of projects, from composing a movie soundtrack to recording his second solo full-length album, You Gots 2 Chill (stream it below). Filled with fingerpicked acoustics and soulful, tranquil music, the LP, despite arriving last October, is the perfect soundtrack for right now. AllMusic calls it a “decidedly unassuming collection of psych-tinged, indie/electro soft-rock daydreams that are tailor-made for snowy, hungover, late-January afternoons.” And Canning (above, performing “Never Go to the Races” for Exclaim! TV) comes to town to play the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.