Talk about an unwieldy name. Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew, “Spirit If…” That’s the title of the new record by… by… well, is it a Broken Social Scene album? Or a Kevin Drew solo record? Or somewhere in between? Such are the ways of Canadian rock collectives, I guess. In any case, it’s a nice record, and the band came to town Saturday night (Nov. 3) for a sold-out show at Metro. (I guess that confusing title didn’t confuse ticket buyers.)
With an opening set by Arthur & Yu, this was essentially a Broken Social Scene concert, stripped down just a little bit – a mere six musicians onstage, and no Feist – but with a lot of the joyful, anarchic spirit that typifies the band. The first part of the concert focused on songs from the new “Spirit If…” record, which is, for my money, about as good as anything BSS has done. The group tossed in a cover of the Dinosaur Jr. song “The Wagon,” and BSS member Brendan Canning moved over to the main mike for a forthcoming song of his own (probably from a “Broken Social Scene Presents Brendan Canning” album slated for a May release from Arts & Crafts). Andrew Kenney of American Analog Set was sitting in on keyboards, and he took the mike for an AmerAnSet tune.
The BSS fans at the front of the Metro were waving their arms with joy during many of the songs, especially when the band played some of its older “hits” near the end. It was an enjoyable concert for most of its duration, but then it went on a bit long for me, stretching past the 2 1/2-hour mark. For the final half-hour, the concert devolved into more of a loose basement party with lots of rambling talk in between the songs. Drew came across as more of a friend than a rock star, but after a while, it was hard not to wish that he would just play a song. Still, all in all, a good show. When Broken Social Scene hit its stride, its songs had all the catchy qualities of pop anthems and all the cycling strengths of shoegazer rock.