A dreamy and dazzling Scene
The beauty of Broken Social Scene is that you're never sure what the band is going to do next, where it's going to go, or how it's going to get there. That the sprawling indie-rock collective, which once gave itself instructions to "get the confusion under control," also seems to delight in surprising itself only adds to the attraction.
Truth be told, there was very little confusion during the Toronto outfit's superb and sweeping two-hour performance at the Wilbur Theatre Sunday night. But when it did come - in the form of an apparently faulty sound system late in the set - the band members dealt with it like the seasoned pros they've become. Frontman Kevin Drew apologized for the technical difficulties and the seven musicians proceeded to play through the problems, breaking into a mellow instrumental jam until the sound issues could be solved.
Nobody in the house, including Broken Social Scene, seemed to mind the improvisational detour. It was quite a scenic and lovely route, actually. After three or four minutes, and a scramble by the crew to remedy the matter, BSS was back in business and feeling good - so much so that the group decided to play for another 45 minutes, well past the 11 p.m. curfew. Again, nobody seemed to mind.
Broken Social Scene, whose shape-shifting membership continues to be as malleable as its sound, is touring in support of cofounder Brendan Canning's recently released solo debut, "Something for All of Us" (the album is officially billed as Broken Social Scene Presents: Brendan Canning). But this is a band where democracy rules and almost anything goes. So, besides lavishly hazy, Canning-led highlights such as "Hit the Wall" and "Churches Under the Stairs," Sunday's show also provided a glittering overview of the group's many permutations and creative touchstones.
Ultimately, the unique, elastic strength of the band - a gorgeous tangle of guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and brass - resided in its distillation of a sound that swelled in all directions and felt ravishingly alive and inclusive, beating as one big, beneficent heart.
A sense of dreamy atmosphere and heightened perception was on dazed display for "KC Accidental" and "7/4 Shoreline," and "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" was a luminescent beauty. Like My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Drew has a voice that carries a beautiful ache and soulful sense of wonder. A phantasmagoric "Farewell to the Pressure Kids" (from Drew's own 2007 solo debut issued under the BSS umbrella), and the encore closer, "It's All Gonna Break," with a solo Drew on keyboards, were gleaming highlights in a night spangled with them.