Concert Review: Broken Social Scene, June 19, The Island

Toronto – Broken Social Scene was the best concert I have ever attended. The End.

Just kidding! But seriously, Broken Social Scene (BSS) is one of those bands that you just NEED to see live. I love all their albums, but they do not do BSS any justice.

I made my way to the island early to try and avoid the crazy ferry lines that a sold out island concert would cause and arrived as Beach House went on.


First let me bitch about a few things, the beer garden logistics were horrendous. We had to line up to get into either one of the two beer gardens. Then line-up to buy a maximum of four beer tickets and proceeded to line up again to buy a maximum of two beers with the tickets. We stood in line for an hour (whole Beach House set) to get freaking tickets. After this madness we were forced to stay in the beer garden and drink all 4 beers because leaving meant having to rinse and repeat this entire rigmarole.

They should have sold beer tickets at the entrance to the beer garden and lineups inside should only have been to get the beer. I could have avoided this by not drinking, but seriously, an island concert in 40-degree weather with no beer? It tasted so good when it hit my lips…

The Main Event

Okay back to BSS. Seeing as how Broken Social Scene has about 100 members, concert-goers outside of Toronto rarely have the opportunity to enjoy the band in full force. Luckily, most members live in Toronto or were in town for the MMVA’s (I think?). They opened with World Sick, the single off their Forgiveness Rock Record album. From there it got better and better and better. At the forth song, Kevin Drew brought Feist on stage (YES, Leslie Feist) and they sung 7/4 Shoreline. Amazing. About halfway through, Kevin brought Emily Haines on stage (YES, Emily Haines of Metric) to sing Sentimental X’s. Other notables that joined in were James Shaw (Metric) and Sebastian Grainger (Death From Above 1979). They sang most songs off their new album and threw in classics like Stars and Sons, Fire Eyed Boy, Cause = Time, Almost Crimes and Lover’s Spit.

At any given time during the show there were at least 10 band members on stage (I counted at each song, seriously) including two drummers and about 5 guitarists as the backbone. They changed it up for each song, bringing on special guests, including a violinist, having a backup brass ensemble, and a flute at some points. Kevin Drew apologized at many times during the show because “everything kept breaking” but I couldn’t tell (this is not because I was drunk, it’s because I don’t know any better and I was just so happy to see them live).


The best part of this show, apart from THE WHOLE THING, was definitely seeing Feist and Emily Haines sing their parts. I felt all proud to be Canadian at this point and was thinking about how great our current music scene is, there are so many excellent and influential bands hailing from Canada and we have some amazing festivals and concerts that expose them to the masses.

For the finale (Ibi Dreams of Pavement was actually the finale, but I don’t like that song so we’ll ignore it) they played Meet me in the Basement, an EPIC tune and my favorite off their new album. BSS is truly an instrumental band, and the guitar riffs in this song are probably going to go down in musical history books! I don’t want to be too cliché but they killed it with this song. They sound like a tightly woven modern rock orchestra and while I still love the song, it’ll never be the same unless I hear it live.

Broken Social Scene – World Sick by AlwaysHustle

Posted on by sarahw in Concerts, Everything

15 Responses to Concert Review: Broken Social Scene, June 19, The Island

  1. Wade

    Ricky, did you write this, or did you have a ghost writer?

    I’m working on a review of their book. Look for it soon.

  2. Ricky

    err sarah w wrote this, i forgot to change the author. haha

  3. Ricky

    or i have learned to divide myself into two and be at two places at once.

  4. Sarah

    Haha, I am the ghost writer! Ricky is trying to steal my cred. Pitchfork may be calling you to offer you a job after reading this…

  5. Ricky

    as much as id love that, i dont think they’d pay me enough.

  6. Wade

    Beer review – sounded like Ricky, but the other parts, like where actual names of BSS songs are listed…not so much Ricky. Dead give away.

  7. ricky

    i can name six or so BSS songs!

  8. Wade

    I can name two suede songs. Wait. Nope, only one.

  9. Mark

    I read this review was like “how did” … “where did?” …. “what’s happening?”

  10. Brian

    Man, I was there too, and Broken Social Scene did not impress me. Beach House and Band of Horses were more interesting, I thought. I was there early enough to see Timber Timbre too, but I don’t see the appeal. Anyway, BSS is kind of like a jazz ensemble where you can really appreciate the individual talent of all the members, but it just doesn’t really come together when they’re on stage in a way that I can really get into, except for a couple of songs. Like I tweeted from the show, I’ve tried to like BSS for years, I really have, but I just can’t.

    But hey, that’s all right, because I really just went to the Island show for Pavement. And Pavement was brilliant.

  11. Sarah

    BOH were really good, I don’t think Beach House are suited to an outdoor venue though.

    BSS is a band with few fence-sitters, love them or hate them. Same with Pavement? And I’d say I’m in the latter category for them…haha.

  12. Ricky

    Brian, write a pavement review!

  13. Brian

    That was my Pavement review.

  14. Ricky

    i’ll post it.

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