One of the perks of being part of a music collective is having a gaggle of talented and familiar faces hanging around when it's time to make a solo record. Tuesday's MySpace Secret Show at T.T.'s was an appearance by Canadian indie heroes Broken Social Scene in the first-ever public performance of music from co-founder Kevin Drew's solo debut. The album, out Sept. 18, has been slapped with an unwieldy title -- "Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew, Spirit If . . ." -- and it's the first in a planned series of BSS Presents projects. Next up is a Brendan Canning album, due in January.
Depending on who's available, BSS's ranks swell to 15, but on Tuesday the lineup was a comparatively lean sextet: Drew and Canning, Andrew Kenny (American Analog Set), Bill Priddle (Treble Charger), Sam Goldberg (Uncut and Hawaii), and drummer Justin Peroff.
"There are no girls, no violins, we're not doing that vibe now," said Drew. So much for Feist showing up.
But the communal mood was alive and well and spilling off the stage. Drew, a congenial frontman, fretted (needlessly) about the crowd's well-being, counseled us not to be afraid of ballads (he played a pair of new beauties, "Broke Me Up" and "Bodhi Sappy Weekend"), and presented a birthday cake to his brother, Cameron.
Even without Broken Social Scene's shambling, majestic orchestrations and hypnotic gang harmonies, the songs tumbled out like scruffy mini-epics -- all churning rhythms, layers and layers of guitars, and heartfelt mumbling and hollering. They played roughly half the tracks from "Spirit If . . .," which came off like compressed takes on BSS's atmospheric indie rock, and "Hit the Wall," the moody first single from Canning's forthcoming solo album.
Drew offered assistance for his notoriously elusive lyrics, alerting the audience in advance that "Safety Bricks" is a responsible song about having kids, "Tbtf" is a song for your best friend, and "Farewell to the Pressure Kids" is for your parents.
No one needed assistance connecting with the tunes. Fans seemed to love them completely, already, and as a reward were treated to set-capping rush of BSS gems. "Superconnected" and "Canada vs. America" sounded like slacker U2; "Lover's Spit" was stretched into a long, noisy jam; and the well-titled anthem "Major Label Debut" closed the show on a sweet note.