Back on the road, Broken Social Scene rock The Fox with a career-spanning set

Broken Social ScenePhotos by Norm de Veyra // Written by Brett Ruffenach //

Broken Social Scene with The Belle Game //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
October 26th, 2017 //

To cap off a stellar “Rocktober” season in the Bay Area, one of the true titans of early-aughts indie rock brought their All-Star lineup of musicians to the Fox Theater Oakland as Toronto’s Broken Social Scene headlined with support from The Belle Game.

With the venue beginning to fill up, The Belle Game arrived onstage. Their music combines rock-band sensibilities with a dreamy, ethereal pop sound to create a powerful effect. It was quite clear that Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear and other heavy hitters from the mid-2000’s were a major influence on their sound.

A five-piece act hailing from Vancouver, The Belle Game’s greatest asset — the stunning vocal range of lead singer Andrea Lo — became clear from their rendition of “Spirit”, the lead single off their sophomore LP Fear/Nothing. Through soaring synths and reverb-heavy guitar effects, they certainly garnered a few new fans in Oakland this time around.

Broken Social Scene

After a short break, Broken Social Scene took the stage as an eight-piece band backed by a six-piece horns section. They kicked things off with the thumping and fast-paced “KC Accidental” from 2002’s You Forgot It in People, which quickly demonstrated the roles of all four guitarists onstage and the unstoppable power of drummer Justin Peroff.

Racing through the first three tunes of what would be a career-spanning, 20-song set, BSS eventually revealed what the rush was all about — the horn section joining them featured members of the Brooklyn-based afrobeat band Antibalas, and they had a gig to play just a block away at The New Parish later that night. Nevertheless, it was a special way to get the show started.

In my head, I counted 22 different people taking stage at one point or another. It was one of those shows where the crowd roared in excitement at the opening notes of each song, from older tracks like “Fire Eye’d Boy” on their 2005 self-titled LP to newer material off their 2017 studio effort Hug of Thunder, including a booming version of “Halfway Home”.

Broken Social Scene

At The Fox, BSS’ newest female vocalist, Ariel Engle, was able to confidently fill the shoes of her predecessors Emily Haines and Leslie Feist. For “Stay Happy”, the first track demanding two female vocalists, The Belle Game’s own Andrea Lo joined Engle onstage. This song was a personal highlight of the set for me; not only is it one of BSS’ best cuts off of Hug of Thunder, but they cleverly turned the glitchy, staccato guitar lick into a cool saxophone melody.

As the night went on, Lo joined Engle onstage once again to sing one of the Canadian outfit’s most famous songs: “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”. But instead of using the studio version’s heavy vocal distortion, Lo and Engle sang, perfectly in sync, contrasting harmonies that produced a repetitive, swelling effect. It was truly a breathtaking moment to witness.

BSS were certainly feeling the love, too. After closing their set with “It’s All Gonna Break”, they returned for an encore, informing us that they had time for only one more song.

Broken Social Scene

But in an attempt to decide whether to play “Lover’s Spit” or “Cause = Time” by the crowd’s applause, BSS founding member and bandleader Brendan Canning said that they were just going to have to do both. I initially took this as an (admittedly successful) attempt to rile up the crowd, but after later seeing a picture of the setlist, it looked like the band chose to play an additional three songs due to the energy in the room.

Here’s the thing about BSS — after 15 years, the web of musicians that makes up the collective have created their own individual projects, from Metric to Stars to Feist to Do Make Say Think to Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton. And while many of the band’s members who have gone on to find success in their own solo careers didn’t happen to join the group on this particular tour, the sense of professionalism built into the BSS live experience remains prevalent. Every person who stepped onstage demonstrated consummate abilities in their own realms, never missing a beat or a note.

Fortunately for those who didn’t make it to this incredible show, word on the street is they’ll be heading back to The Fox early next year for Noise Pop 2018.

Setlist:
KC Accidental
7/4 (Shoreline)
Halfway Home
Protest Song
Fire Eye’d Boy
Texico Bitches
Stars and Sons
World Sick
Stay Happy
Hug of Thunder
Sweetest Kill
Skyline
Almost Crimes
Major Label Debut (Fast)
Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
Looks Just Like the Sun
Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl
It’s All Gonna Break

Encore:
Lover’s Spit
Play Video
Cause = Time

Stars round out doubleheader at Slim’s

StarsPhotos by Chaya Frash // Written by Molly Kish //

Entering into the second leg of their US tour, promoting latest album The North, Montreal-based indie rock veterans Stars visited two historic venues in SF. Playing shows at both the Great American Music Hall and Slim’s, the band’s following in the Bay Area made each performance a night to remember. When asked by the band’s animated front man Torquil Campbell, “Who joined us last night at Great American?” the audience at Slim’s erupted in cheers September 18. This led into what was ultimately a set-long love letter to the city of San Francisco and its dedicated base of fans.

Stars played a set that spanned their entire discography, catering to the eclectic crew of fans they’ve accumulated over the years. Dense with emotionally charged ballads, the crowd swayed along entranced by the onstage dynamics of Torquil Campbell and Amy Milan. A much more mellow show than their previous Bay Area performance at the Fillmore this past year, the band took the focus off of their newest material and delved deep into their nostalgic, melancholy tunes.

Stars

Stars certainly sprinkled in dance jams from The North throughout the night’s performance, but the real focus seemed to be on earlier heavy-hitting rock anthems, to the crowd’s delight. Igniting the intimate venue with “Take Me To The Riot” and “Bitches In Tokyo”, those in attendance shouted along in glee to songs that were mentioned to have not been played on stage in 14 plus years. The crowd was treated to extended stage time with the group’s touring violinist, who was celebrating an early birthday.

Matching the crowd’s enthusiasm, the band ate up the energy of the packed venue. At one point Campbell took a front row fans gift of Japanese lilies, then proceeded to bite and rip the heads off of their stalks and disseminate the bouquet into the crowd throughout the show. Campbell, who wore a handmade “Dead Child Actor” t-shirt, graciously thanked the female audience member for her help in “creating drama.”

Stars

Culminating the set with a four-song encore, punctuated by a stripped down, band pow wow of “The 400”, each member sat together in front of the drum set singing into two mics, and they ultimately turned to the audience for participation. Exiting one by one into the downstairs dressing room, Stars’ members emphatically professed their love for the bay area and promised to return soon.

The next course post tour for Stars is to finish recording their new album, then get back on the road again. Promising that SF will be one of their first stops post-production, the crowd responded with their own fond farewell, and the night came to a bittersweet end.

SETLIST:
The Night Starts Here
Ageless Beauty
A Song Is a Weapon
Death to Death
Wishful
One More Night
Fixed
Soft Revolution
Dead Hearts
Personal
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
Backlines
We Don’t Want Your Body
Heart
Take Me to the Riot
Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It
Walls

Encore:
Calendar Girl
The Theory of Relativity
Elevator Love Letter
The 400

Stars

WIN FREE TICKETS to Stars at Slim’s 9/18

Stars
Enter your name and email address below for the chance to win!

Montreal-based indie rock pioneers Stars will be headlining an intimate performance at Slim’s in SF this Wednesday, September 18. The band continues to tour in support of their critically acclaimed, sixth full length studio album of the same name. Comprised of an all-star cast of indie rock elite and part-time collaborators with genre defining super-group Broken Social Scene, Star’s members have interchanged from tour to tour. Star’s sound is exciting and romantic, as well as desperately melancholy — a rollercoaster of emotions soundtracked by legends in the industry. Their live show is not one to be missed!

The band debuted two brand new unreleased songs via exclusive vinyl, digital download and now are available on itunes. Less than 500 albums were printed for distribution, they are selling fast via pre-order and are available at merch tables on tour, while supplies last. Purchase here.


Win 2 Free Tickets! Enter to win if you can attend this show Wednesday, September 18 at Slim’s in San Francisco.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Wednesday, September 18 at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one.

CONTEST COMPLETE

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Coachella 2013: Predictions, wishes & rumors vs. reality

Coachella 2013By Mike Frash //

With a casual tweet, festival season is about to begin. Anticipation over the imminent 2013 Coachella lineup is building, and recent history shows the festival lineup could come this week.

Do you have your accommodations set? Hopefully your ticket is taken care of, because Coachella 2013 could already be close to sold out.

Presale ticketing for this year’s Coachella sold out within hours of going on sale both weekends last May, and it was the first time pre-sale sold out in such a quick fashion. The Coachella 2012 general on-sale sold out within an hour for both weekends a year ago, and if you weren’t ninja-quick at getting into the waiting room, you were shit out of luck. Take all this into account, and there might be a very limited amount of tickets available after the 2013 lineup drops. Is it possible Coachella 2013 is completely sold out from presale ticketing?

Coachella

Headliners: Reality vs. Rumors
The headliner rumors arrived early this year, with speculation over The Rolling Stones and Daft Punk dominating the conversation. At this point The Rolling Stones seems like the more likely of the two to be headlining, even though they haven’t played a whole lot of festivals since Altamont in 1969. Besides, Coachella rumors about Daft Punk and David Bowie playing Coachella are a yearly running gag at this point — we’ll believe it when we see it. Bowie even has a confirmed album coming out in the spring, but his bandmates are saying Ziggy has ruled out performing live … forever.

Reunions are a big part of Coachella’s top-notch lineups, and last year saw the regrouping of At The Drive-In, Pulp and Refused. This year it looks like The Postal Service and My Bloody Valentine could happen. Blur would also make sense since they reunited at the Olympics last year. Black Sabbath was reportedly on board to headline last year until they had to pull out at the last moment, and they have a new album coming out in June. Outkast would be the perfect hip-hop headliner, but that seems unlikely with Big Boi pushing his new LP. Wu-Tang Clan seems like the most likely rap act to play the main stage, but are they big enough to headline one of the three days each weekend?

Last year saw The Black Keys headline Friday along with Swedish House Mafia, and most people thought The Black Keys weren’t worthy of headliner status. But Coachella is good at king-making groups and artists, elevating them to the top level simply by making them headliners. Goldenvoice could repeat last year’s Friday concept by crowning Phoenix, The xx or Mumford and Sons headliners while putting deadmau5 on the top line to satiate the EDM masses.

Reality (likely headliners):
The Rolling Stones, The Postal Service, deadmau5, My Bloody Valentine, Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, Phoenix, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wu Tang Clan, No Doubt, Mumford & Sons, The xx

Rumors (probable wishlist-fiction):
Daft Punk, Outkast, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails (How to Destroy Angels is likely)

Artists to see before they get big:
Last year, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips, Azealia Banks, First Aid Kit, and lots of other artists performed at Coachella before getting exponentially bigger by the end of 2012. Possible contenders for 2013 include Angel Haze, AlunaGeorge, FIDLAR, Foxygen, Wilde Belle, & Earl Sweatshirt, although the hype for Earl is already tremendously loud.

Coachella

Best EDM acts most likely to not perform in the Sahara Tent:
• deadmau5
• Bassnectar
• Tiesto
• Simian Mobile Disco
• Andy Stott
• Nicolas Jaar
• Dan Deacon
• John Talabot
• Disclosure
• Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Artists most likely to return for second consecutive year:
Kendrick Lamar and Dawes, because Dawes somehow plays every festival.

Headlines we’d like to see:
“Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator join Earl Sweatshirt’s first solo set”
“Progressive-house trend baffles Sahara tent candy-kids”
“Thom Yorke, Bradford Cox & Trent Rezner play a combined 9 sets each weekend”
“Katie Perry attends Coachella again, never considered for performing duties.”

Plausible Acts We’d Like to See:
Alabama Shakes
alt-J
AlunaGeorge
Andy Stott
Angel Haze
Animal Collective
Atlas Sound
Atoms for Peace
Bassnectar
Bat for Lashes
Beach House
Ben Howard
Big Boi
Bjork
Black Sabbath
Blur
Cloud Nothings
Chromatics
Crystal Castles
CHVRCHES
Dan Deacon
Divine Fits
Disclosure
Die Antwoord
Django Django
Ducktails
Earl Sweatshirt
Father John Misty
Fiona Apple
Frightened Rabbit
Grimes
Grizzly Bear (Added 1.17.13)
Haim
Hot Chip
How to Dress Well
James Blake
Jamie Lidell
Japandroids
Jessie Ware
John Talabot
Jim James
Kendrick Lamar
Kishi Bashi
Killer Mike
Local Natives
New Order
Nicolas Jaar
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Major Lazer
Matthew Dear
Mumford & Sons
Passion Pit
Penguin Prison
Phoenix
Pretty Lights
Sigur Ros
Skrillex
Spiritualized
Stars
STRFCKR
Tame Impala
The Faint
The Joy Formidable
The Knife
The Postal Service
The Rolling Stones
The Walkmen
The xx
Toro Y Moi
TNGHT
Ty Segall
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Vampire Weekend
Warpaint
Wavves
Wild Belle
Wild Nothing
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yeasayer
Yo la Tengo
!!!

Coachella

New Music Tuesday: Animal Collective • Cat Power • Stars • Jens Lekman • Bob Mould • The Fresh & Onlys

Animal Collective - Centipede Hz

Every Tuesday, we focus on new music releases by naming our top tracks and supplying the latest videos for select albums.


Animal CollectiveCentipede Hz.

Top Track: “Today’s Supernatural”


Cat PowerSun

Top Track: “Ruin”


StarsThe North

Top Track: “Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It”


Jens LekmanI Know What Love Isn’t

Top Track: “I Know What Love Isn’t”


Bob MouldSilver Age

Top Track: “The Descent”


The Fresh & OnlysLong Slow Dance

Top Track: “Presence of Mind”