Broken Social Scene with Land of Talk
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Club Cinema, Pompano Beach
Canadian experimental/indie-rock supergroup Broken Social Scene descended on South Florida last night like a swarm of indie bees, and buzzed up a two-hour storm for jubilant fans at a packed Club Cinema in Pompano, on the last night of their U.S. tour.
Land of Talk, also from Canada, opened the show with an enjoyable yet forgettable set, featuring talented young Montreal-based vocalist and guitarist Elizabeth Powell (who also backed up BSS on various numbers). Though far from the masterful Leslie Feist, who records and sometimes performs the female vocals on most BSS tunes, Powell gave a respectable go at it.
Broken Social Scene, with its current roster of nineteen musicians,
appears to indeed be a social scene in and of itself -- an eclectic
conglomeration of avant garde abstractionists and straight ahead
rockers, that clearly functions better broken than most do fixed.
Excellent sound quality at this venue, and impressive lighting, though
not typical at your average indie show, definitely helped make this one
memorable. Mixing an act with such complex instrumentation is never an
easy feat, so kudos to the sound people for nailing it.
Front man and founder Kevin Drew, doing a good impression of the
Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, with his wild hair and gray dress vest; and
a good impression of Bono (ouch) with his vocals at times, kept the
crowd going strong. Between songs ranging from dreamy and mellow
ballads like "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" to more upbeat and
catchy tunes like the off-meter "7/4 (Shoreline)," Drew engaged the
audience with optimistic musings about changes in the U.S.
administration, giving his and Canada's approval to Florida for voting
Toronto-based BSS consists of a traditional rock core of drums, bass,
guitar and moog/keyboard, supplemented by an array of support
instrumentation ranging from horns and woodwinds to violins and
miscellaneous percussion -- creating a full, grand sound verging on
ethereal at times. The band's lineup changes from night to night
depending on the availability of its members who all have side projects
of their own. This revolving door effect offers audiences in different
cities the benefit of variety, if not consistency, but either way the
crowd is guaranteed to be pleased, as it clearly was last night.
Variety and versatility are probably the hallmark characteristics of
these musicians, who artfully and energetically engaged the audience
right up to the club's midnight curfew, opting to save time and skip
formalities by playing their encore performance before leaving the
stage, instead of waiting through precious minutes of applause. A
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thirty-dollar indie-rock show ticket sounds steep, but then Broken
Social Scene is not your average indie-rock band, as they proved so
well last night. Money well spent.
-- Ben Thacker