Broken Social Scene at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco (Oct 2, 2011)
It had been a solid six years since I last saw Broken Social Scene at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco back in Oct 2011 (pictured above), and I could not have been more ecstatic to see them at the Fox Theater in honor of their recent album, ‘Hug of Thunder’ (released on July 7, 2017). ‘Hug of Thunder‘ is certainly one to HUG LIKE HELL, for it happens to be Broken Social Scene’s newest album since ‘Forgiveness Rock Record‘ (released in May 2010), and represents their revival from a 7 year hiatus. And man.. WHAT A REVIVAL is has BEEN. This 12-piece Canadian indie rock played a stellar 2-hour performance spanning their entire collection (set-list above), including a large number of songs from the new album: Halfway Home, Protest Song (personal favorite), Stay Happy, and Skyline. I nearly lost it when they played ‘World Sick,’ one of my absolute FAVORITE TRACKS (love the intro guitar ditty!): “I get world sick every time I take a stand… Well, I get world sick, my love is for my man.” I feel this song is especially relevant to the political turmoil in the Unites States and all of the unfortunate tragedies happening in the world today, and it as no surprise that Brendan Canning (guitar, vocals) also vocalized this relevance. It kind of reminds me of despair that is eminent in their new track, ‘Mouth Guards Of The Apocalypse‘: “I don’t wanna be scared, Or addicted to the dream… This fight is a ghost, Whose suicide was unseen.” Just got the chills.
After treating us to a special rendition of ‘Anthem for a Seventeen-year Old Girl‘ (video below) with the lovely ladies of Belle Game (their opener), Broken Social Scene played BOTH ‘Cause = Time‘ AND ‘Lover’s Spit.’ After polling the audience and seeing a unanimous request for both, Brendan made sure no one would be let down. He then got CARRIED AWAY (literally) after climbing into the crowd for ‘Lover Spit‘ and sing most of the song while surfing in a sea of fans.
AND, as if the music wasn’t cathartic enough, Brendan later initiated a group therapy session with the following request:
“You gotta take everything you got hear tonight. You gotta take all of the anxiety, all of the depression, all of the regret, all of the expectations that didn’t happen. You gotta take all of the people who aren’t here, all the people you wish were here, you gotta take all the joy, all the love, everything that you feel, and we’re gonna scream, and we’re gonna let it all go together. We’re gonna do some therapy – we’re gonna do it, together. We’re gonna let it out, and even if it’s just this moment and the momentary junkie society that we live in. This moment can be ours, and no one can take this away from us.” LOVE THIS
He then asked us to “Take this night and put it in your back pocket for (days that don’t work for you)” right before TAKING US HOME with the EPIC ENCORE of ‘It’s All Gonna Break.’ Such an INCREDIBLE NIGHT OF MUSIC. I sure hope we don’t need to wait another 7 years for Broken Social Scene to come back ONTO THE SCENE. 😛 ❤
Such a treat to have Minus the Bear and SilverSun Pickups share the same stage last Saturday at the Fox Theater Oakland. Two INCREDIBLE BANDS with two very different sound/style, and I’m glad to have been following them both since 2009. I love that Minus the bear played all of my favorites (especially the first!): Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse, My Time, Into the Mirror, and Last Kiss. Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES! It’s a perfect anthem for the wondrous wanderlust, and it always makes my heart flutter as it jogs my memories of past adventures. Dave Knudson (lead guitar) was sitting in a chair for most of the set because he recently broke his leg, and Alex Rose (keys, backing vocals) laughed and said they — Jake Snider (vocals, guitar), Cory Murchy (bass guitar), and Joshua Sparks (drums) — prefer it this way because it it reminds them of a casual jam session in someone’s living room. A short but tasty set by these highly seasoned musicians!
I find it SO FREAKING EERIE that I immediately compared Courtney Barnett to Kurt Vilenearly 4 years ago when I first saw her at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and NOW, they are TOURING TOGETHER after the recent release of their collaborative album, Lotta Sea Lice. Kurt Vile was someone that I had been following since his ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’ days thanks you his brother Paul Vile who directed me to his set at Sasquatch 2012 (arguably the best lineup of any US festival I’ve been to yet). Courtney and Kurt reminded me of one another in so many ways – stitching songs together with threads of rock, grunge, and folk, and doing so with a carefree, nonchalant charisma that plagues all who listen. I am in awe of their ability to whip up to witty narratives about obscure observations of the mundane. Their collaborative albums is a testament to the beauty of a creative, comfortable companionship between two eclectic music makers that complement each other’s chords finished each other’s sentences (literally). Their charming ‘Continental Breakfast‘ track has Courtney and Kurt singing back and forth about the frustration of maintaining their long-distance friendship (“I cherish my intercontinental friendships; We talk it over continental breakfast”) and the monotony of life on the road (“In a hotel in East Bumble-wherever; Somewhere on the sphere, around here.”) I also really loved their song, ‘Fear is Like a Forest’ (“Fear is like a forest, The dark of the unknown; Love is like a promise, That you’ll never be alone”), which was actually written by Courtney’s wife, Jen Cloher (talented musician who opened the show). I also enjoyed the manifestation of Courtney and Kurt covering each other’s songs, with Courtney’s version of Kurt’s ‘Peepin Tomboy’ (‘Peepin’ Tom’ on this album) paralyzing me with the arresting apathy of her delivery. I also really enjoyed Kurt’s take on Courtney’s ‘Out of the Woodwork.’ But, the MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF THE NIGHT were when Courtney and Kurt covered Belly’s ‘Untogether’ (“You can’t save the unsavably untogether”) and Gillian Welch’s ‘Elvis Presley Blues’ (“I was thinking that night about Elvis, Day that he died, day that he died”). Courtney’s vocals absolutely SHINE on this on, and the bread and range of the vocals are more apparent than ever. My heart was gushing a bit with the beautiful harmonies between her and Kurt. I’m sure Mr. ELVIS PRESLEY himself would have definitely approve. It was so refreshing to watch the playful banter between such seasoned musicians and I kept smiling when I saw Kurt’s classic yelps (“Whoop!”) making Courtney laugh throughout the set. He then had the entire audience laugh when he said that “Lotta Sea Lice” is the “only sea lice you want to have.” A powerhouse performance by a powerhouse pair of proper pals.:D ❤
The amazing Sylvan Esso making sure that we PLAY IT RIGHT before leaving the Fox Theater – Oakland after their stacked set, including hits from their new album, ‘What Now‘: Die Young, Radio, Glow, Kick Jump Twist, Just Dancing, and Signal. Their epic encore triggered a massive dance party after the closing of the show. First time I’ve ever witnessed such a phenomenon at that venue (and I go there ALOT). Amelia and her fluid, infectious moves had us all wishing we could “just dance,” for not many people can GLIDE ON STAGE the way that she does (not even close!). It was cool to also meet two videographers beforehand that were filming footage for a Sylvan Esso documentary. What an awesome idea! It was also cool to learn that Amelia’s family was originally from the SF Bay Area. Towards the end of the set, she mentioned that the Fox Theater was “her grandfather’s favorite,” and that many of her cousins (he had 11 grandchildren!) were in the audience that night. The unique lighting design on stage (<< >>) is tattoo that Amelia, Nick, and Jen (of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak) all have. Speaking of Jen, it was such a treat to have her on tour with them. In fact, I first discovered Sylvan Esso when they opened her her as Wye Oak in March 2014 at the Lexington (tiny venue!) in London. I guess things really do come full circle!
“Miraculous, harrowing, and moving in less than an hour…”
Dirty Projectors are a Brooklyn-based experimental rock band consisting of Dave Longstreth, Amber Coffman (vocals, guitar), Angel Deradoorian (vocals, keyboard, samples, guitar, bass), Brian McOmber (drums), Nat Baldwin (bass), and Haley Dekle (vocals). The group has released seven full-length albums through 2010, Bitte Orca (album five) being the most complete and most acclaimed album. Vampire Weekend frontman (and onetime Dirty Projector) Ezra Koeing describes this album as follows: “I hear big riffs that make me think of classic rock, so I think, ‘Is this Led Zeppelin deconstructed?’ I hear folk guitar picking and gorgeous strings, so I think, ‘Is this 60’s folk-pop re-imagined?’ But, as is usually the case, my lame attempts at categorization fade away and soon all I can hear is Dirty Projectors … It’s not Physical Graffiti for 2K9; it’s 2K9’s Physical Graffiti.” Speaking about the band in general, Ezra also says: “I couldn’t explain what I meant about ‘fucked-up American music’ six years ago and I’m not that interested in trying to explain it now. I just think it’s fitting to describe Dirty Projectorss with a phrase that’s been exploited by the worst of the worst and the corniest of the corniest, but has always had the potential to mean something rad: Uniquely American.”
I found it so cool that Vampire Weekend was tied to Dirty Projectors! Vampire weekend is one of my all-time favorite groups and you’ll find many of their songs spread throughout my playlists. Also, I love that Taylor Guarisco of GIVERS is also a big fan of Dirty Projectors. He is actually how I initially found out about them! PLUS, I later found that one of my FAVORITE FEMALE ARTISTS OF ALL TIME (Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs) was first discovered BECAUSE OE the Dirty Projectors. She was living out of her car for while, trying to pick up some opening slots for artists while road tripping, and the Dirty Projectors gave her an opening slot for one of their gigs in the Pacific Northwest (I think it was Seattle or Portland). It was then that she starting to gain exposure and support, especially with a band like Dirty Projectors fathering you. NOW she is definitely STANDING ON HER OWN TWO FEET…(far from it!)
Dirty Projectors are seriously one of the most musically creative, pushing-the-envelope type bands that I’ve come across, and definitely one of the most fun to watch. I was so happy to share my DIRTY PROJECTOR DEVOTION with Kyle and Nick at Sasquatch music festival in May. A musical trick that distinguishes them from most other bands (and makes them THAT MUCH MORE BADASS) is a technique called “Hocketing”..where a single musical line is shared between a number of people to create an infinitely more complex and beautiful sound. Dirty Projectors use it for percussion, handclapping, and most of all, for insane VOCAL arrangements (see the video for Beautiful Mother and Unto Caesar). AMAZING TO WATCH come alive before your eyes. Cheers to Heather for telling me about the hocketing technique (I didn’t know what it was called!)…Dirty Projectors are their own breed, and surely cannot be defined or cornered into any particular style/genre of music…I LOVE THAT. Do yourself and favor and GO SEE THEM. Just prepare for your JAW to DROP TO THE FLOOR. 🙂
My favorite songs are: Gun Has No Trigger, Dance for You, Unto Caesar, Just from Chevron, See What She’s Seeing, Swing Lo Magellan, No intention, Cannibal Resource, Stillness in the Move, As I Went out in the Morning
“I haven’t found it…but I’ll keep on dancing till I do.” –Dirty Projectors (Dance for You)