I like it all that way.
I lightly drummed my fingers onto the armrest of my seat, feeling slightly pensive at having spotted a few familiar faces in the crowd: colleagues from work (!), bloggers (!!), friends (?!!)…
It was a little past 7.30pm on a Sunday night, and the air in Singapore’s Esplanade Concert Hall was ripe with breathless anticipation. Excited chatters, testing of camera flashes, latecomers still streaming into the hall to get to their seats…
The lights then dimmed.
After the common and now almost obligatory appearance of a backstage-crewperson-being-mistaken-for-a-band-member-going-onstage, a couple of whoops and whistles later, and a mock introduction of the band members (concerning more of the absentees, actually, including a joke on one particular terror suspect whose recent escape made headlines in the island republic) by an unseen yet familiar voice…
Broken Social Scene came on.
Obviously, not all of the members from the musical collective made an appearance for this gig (6 out of currently 19), but I doubt anyone complained – this was as close to the real thing as it could get. And anyway… OMGITISKEVINDREWAIEEEEE <3 … so that is all that matters.
It’s a shoreline
It’s high speed…
Wasting no precious time, the band launched into “7/4 (Shoreline)”; it is apparent that even with the glaring absence of their female counterparts, the present all-male lineup still shined with the temporary… utilisation of a guest female vocalist and a few wind instrumentalists. To them, it is all about improvisation, and it hardly put a dent on the proceedings. Everyone in the hall jumped out of their seats and sang, swayed, danced, rocked and headbanged to the music right from the very start.
I tried to remember the setlist, but sort of lost it after the third song or so into the night. It was a mix of material: from their earlier album You Forgot It In People (random fan: “Oh, I loved You Forgot It In People!”) to their self-titled album to the first in the Broken Social Scene Presents: series, Spirit If…, the band members have no qualms displaying their strong chemistry and versatility to the fullest, giving a brilliant demonstration as to how they can easily adapt and perform with different members of the collective at any one time. It has been said that no one Broken Social Scene gig is ever the same because of this.
Tied to a night they never met…
Co-founder Kevin Drew settled into frontman mode comfortably, constantly engaging with the audience – by teasing them with his current squeeze Leslie Feist’s “1234”; coaxing them to let themselves loose with loud shrieks (“I’M ALIVEEE!”), thirty-second screams and unsynchronised claps; and, at one point, (probably) feigning forgetfulness over the lyrics and chords to “All My Friends”.
There was also a brief lull in between where members of the audience took the opportunity to make known their request for a certain song – and to which it was promptly fulfilled. The immensely popular “Lover’s Spit” came on – a stripped-down, bare-all version – and the audience became eeriely quiet, making not even a squeak as Drew’s soft, melancholic vocals here exuded a strange, intimate, spine-tingly feeling. (It made me feel very aware of myself – or maybe it was because I felt like I was falling in love…)
The band marked their exit with a stage bow. Despite cries for an encore, it did not quite happen – but we headed to the exits reluctantly, albeit still reasonably satisfied, as the band had performed beyond the proposed ninety-minute duration – and superbly at that too, making it truly a night to remember.
Awesome stuff, this.