12 March 2006

my soundtrack to sydney

ibi dreams of pavement : broken social scene
click on the image below to listen

I'm posting this song as my soundtrack to my visit to this great Australian city because I saw these guys live at The Metro on March 4th, right after the famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. I didn't know they were playing; I was just walking down George St earlier that day when I saw their gig poster. I don't particularly like the band, which is actually an ever-changing collective of Toronto musicians led by vocalist Kevin Drew. I thought their only album that I have, the eponymous Broken Social Scene, is so technically contrived that it rendered the vocals – which are weak to begin with – nearly incomprehensible. It seems to me that each instrumentalist was playing so self-consciously that they completely lost coherence – and you can sense this immediately in Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day). Whether or not all that is deliberate, the album makes for a cacophonous listening experience, which is a shame because each song is rhythmically promising.

The concert – check out someone's flickr pictures of it here – did not change my mind; it was just as I described the album above. That didn't stop me from enjoying the live performance, though. There must have been 12 or 13 musicians that night, 10 of them on stage at any given time – two drummers, three guitarists who also play the trumpet, one bassist, one violinist, Kevin who also does guitar and keyboards, a saxophonist and a trumpeteer, plus two or three females doing the occasional lead and harmony vocals. For a group that has a very short discography, they basked in the warm welcome of the mostly teen-aged Sydneysiders and played for two-and-a-half hours, with Kevin jokingly telling the crowd not to leave yet because they had more songs in store. It was the last of their Australia tour and they were intent on having a good time, which they and everyone in the audience sure did. A few songs stretched beyond 10 minutes, including the rousing finale It's All Gonna Break. That to me was the highlight, as well as the Joplinesque Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl and the crusty Superconnected. I played the album on my iPod for practically all of the next day.

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