Broken Social Scene @ Belgrave, 30/5/18

Broken Social Scene started in a confident and energetic mood with singer Kevin Drew announcing to the crowd, “It’s hot. It’s going to be hot.” With a fluctuating membership of up to nineteen, at Belgrave they had eight (or was it nine?) members on stage performing with a range of guitars, bass, keys, trumpet, saxophone and vocals. The singers and musicians swapped places back and forth, sometimes waiting at the back of the stage for the next song, shared instruments, and I enjoyed this slightly chaotic collaborative approach.

They referred to how they always have great times in Leeds and they radiated fun. Broken Social Scene are a band without egos, comfortable in their own skin and they seemed so happy to be playing an energetic, driving punk rock gig. They had an easy and authentic humour amongst themselves and loved interacting with the crowd. The drummer passed his steamed up glasses out and they were returned after being cleaned on a fan’s tee shirt and Drew waded into the crowd at one point and sang amongst the audience, back lit by the light of mobile phones.

Broken Social Scene are touring in support of their new album Hug of Thunder, released in July 2017, their first release since 2010 and featuring new vocalist Ariel Engle. They played ‘Protest Song’ from Hug of Thunder and made explicit reference to the struggles going on around the world. Drew was wearing a ‘Yes’ badge from the victorious Irish abortion referendum (they had played in Dublin two days before). They don’t just wear their politics in their music but on their chests.

Despite having to stifle my yawns at the end and alongside some quieter more contemplative songs, I overwhelming enjoyed this joyous and raucous show.

Rebecca Townesend

Image: Red Light Management

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