We’re not at our best on Monday evenings. Having faced the unremittingly grim task of dragging ourselves into another week, a task framed by the echo of the weekend’s debauchery, the very last thing we want to do is bounce up and down.
The last thing, that is, until Broken Social Scene congregate in Heaven and start to play those joyous, euphoric riffs. From the moment they strike up recent single World Sick this group of musicians have a beatific air. Against all odds, we’re bouncing up and down.
For the first few songs, de facto frontman Kevin Drew complains about sound problems. They may be apparent onstage but down on the floor the music sounds note perfect, Heaven’s sound system delivering with face-shaking aplomb. Their set list balances choice selections from their new ForgivenessRock Record, including Texico Bitches and Sentimental X’s, with undimmed older material like Cause=Time, Capture The Flag and 7/4 Shoreline. It’s less about the songs, though, and more about the sheer energy they stuff into every note. They could be playing covers of nursery rhymes and you’d still have a great big smile plastered all over your face.
What really sets this band apart is what a vast, shape-shifting project it is. At times there were 15 people on stage, while at other times there were just two. Each member is at ease switching places and grabbing hold of a new instrument. They’ve even dragged along a brass section they collected in Brighton.
At one point early on, the latest face to join the scrum turns out to be Pavement‘s Spiral Stairs, although his contribution is primarily to dance around deliriously and holler some backing vocals. Charles Spearin, of Do Make Say Think, is a more regular and more productive guest collaborator.
Alongside Drew, Brendan Canning is a tightly wound dynamo let loose across the stage. He seems to move solely in classic rock poses, a flurry of bass-wielding high-kicks. Lisa Lobsinger drifts on and off, but when she is on stage her gorgeous vocals hold the attention even against the constant blur of background activity.
Heaven couldn’t be a more appropriate venue, because there’s an ecstatic verve to Broken Social Scene that conveys a passion and conviction in their music-making. By the time they get to finale Meet Me In The Basement every single member of this Social Scene is pushed out onto the stage. The stage is crammed full of harmonious love, and so are our ears.