Tag Archives: Charles Spearin


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


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


Kevin Drew Proves He’s Still Got It at The Bowery Ballroom

April 29th, 2014

Kevin Drew – The Bowery Ballroom – April 28, 2014

It had been a couple years, so I’d kind of forgotten what kind of live presence Kevin Drew has. But last night at The Bowery Ballroom, the Broken Social Scene frontman quickly reminded everyone of the captivating live show he can put on, colluding with the giddy crowd along the way. He opened with “Mexican Aftershow Party” playing piano, his strong voice as distinctive as ever, with the band surrounding his vocals with electronic beeps and an ethereal hum. But for much of the show, Drew played acoustic guitar, giving the songs off his new album, Darlings, a stripped-naked feel. But it was his band—an excellent ensemble in the spirit of BSS, led by Charles Spearin on bass—that provided the shimmering, flowing and beautiful music for Drew to swim around in. And along with his lyrics and personality, the effect was like skinny-dipping in an ocean of sound: half profound, half profane.

The show hit on most of the new material with many highlights along the way. As the set continued, Drew began to open up with anecdotes and asides, drawing in the audience. “Good Sex” was preceded by a short bit about his dad, who’s his business manager, asking whether Drew can sing a “love song that’s not about semen,” leading him to singing, “I fucking love you” before Spearin charged in with some curvaceous boogie bass bombs. Yes, there were plenty of NSFW moments in Drew’s show, but it made it all seem more real and, ironically, more heartfelt. Continuing on that theme, and throwing some red meat to the BSS faithful, the band played “Fucked Up Kid,” off 2007’s Spirit If…, contrasting Drew’s new, quiet keyboard-driven sound with plenty of big guitar rock.

Judge musicians by their talent, the songs they sing and the other talented musicians who will gladly play with them: Drew proved himself on all counts on Monday night. But it was the communal connection with the crowd that elevated the performance to something special. From the edge of the stage during “My God,” Drew sang, “What are you dreaming about now?” as the band curtained him with a dreamy backdrop before the singer jumped to the floor, calling in everyone closer and having them raise their arms, like the audience had swallowed him as he sang. (Drew later hugged concertgoers and had them say a little bit about themselves as if hosting a talk show. Sure it was corny, but it was an honest connection and a powerful moment.) The final charge of the 100-plus minute set included a moving solo acoustic new song possibly called “Skylar,” a guest appearance from opener Andy Kim and at least one more foray into the crowd. Near the end, Drew obliged various Broken Social Scene requests, bouncing around some sing-alongs before settling on a solo acoustic version of “It’s All Gonna Break,” which often served as the big, long rock-out set closer for BSS shows. But last night, it was a rowdy but real sing-along filled with plenty of expletives, poetic lyrics and glorious anthemic moments. It encapsulated Drew and the night perfectly, the crowd reminded once again that, oh, yes, he’s still got it. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com