It was recently announced that Toronto indie rock collective Broken Social Scene would be taking a bit of a hiatus, so this was probably the last chance to see them in Vancouver for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, approximately 1,200 fans descended upon Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl to check out the show. One of the great things about the outdoor venue is that even if you could not afford a ticket (reasonably priced at $35 but then jacked all the way up to $48.50 after surcharges) you could take in the buzz of the concert for free – which is what about a hundred fans opted to do, listening to the band from the other side of the fence while others stood on benches, milk crates and even attempted climbing the trees to get a better glimpse of the show.
Frontman Kevin Drew, wearing a non-descript black T-shirt and Pittsburgh Pirates ball cap, enthusiastically addressed the audience with “We love you Vancouver, it’s great to be back,” and immediately launched into their 2003 breakthrough single “Cause = Time.” The crowd seemed a bit subdued through the next few tracks, which included “Texaco Bitches” and “All to All” off of last year’s Forgiveness Rock Record. After Drew pointed out the audience’s initial muted response, the crowd shook off their inhibitions and got vocal about their excitement for the show. Everyone, including the band, seemed to get more relaxed when guitarist Brendan Canning led a YMCA tease, which was followed by a cover of Modest Mouse’s “World at Large,” a song that Drew confessed had become somewhat of an anthem for his band of late.
The band really hit their stride mid-set, adding a horn section for great live versions of “Gang Bang Suicide” and “The Sweetest Kill.” They really got their rock star on by gregariously strumming their guitars and ending the main set with killer instrumental jams on “Chase Scene” and “KC Accidental.” The vibe was so good that even the guitar tech got on stage and jammed with the band.
As the main set closed out, a sentimental Drew addressed the audience, “Thanks for the good shows, the bad shows and all the shows in between…You’re a wonderful city. Be good, be kind, be safe and try to do something about everything else.” The group left us with a 10-minute encore of “It’s All Gonna Break” and the closing words, “We’re Broken Social Scene, please don’t forget us. Goodnight!”