Last Saturday night saw the long-awaited return of celebrated Canadian indie rock act Broken Social Scene to the twin cities.
As was the case on their last visit (a rare concert held at CHS field), they played in downtown Saint Paul at the Palace. Unlike that performance, however, the band came this time celebrating their landmark 2002 album You Forgot it in People. For that reason, the show was a can’t-miss affair for fans of ought’s-era indie rock.
Opening the show were local Indie Mainstays Polica. The band, Playing as a trio minus bass player Chris Bierden, proved unsurprisingly to be an excellent choice as an opening act. Their dynamic, propulsive dual-drummer rhythms have always set them apart from other bands (local or otherwise), and this set was no different.
The band’s dynamic sound, which incorporated elements of indie pop, rock, and various strands of electronic music, made for a diverse set that delivered the goods throughout. Adding (lots) to said sound was vocalist Channy Leaneagh. Leaneagh truly uses her voice as an instrument, not only delivering the lyrics but singing to add to the textures of the music to great effect. In conjunction with the fantastic drummers, it made for a unique and exceptionally strong performance.
The headliners also covered lots of ground in their set. While Broken Social Scene is a veteran collective/band, their music still feels fresh. This is attributable to several things (in part that the songs are simply very good), but the thing that stuck out the most in performance was the range those songs covered. From the instrumentals to the anthems, from pop to rock to folkier fare, the band navigated a variety of sounds and moods to winning results.
While the whole set was solid, it was, after all, billed a tribute to You Forgot it in People. This was reflected in those songs (especially “Lover’s Spit” and, of course, “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-old Girl”) getting the largest responses from the audience. Most of the set was high energy but interwoven were softer moments that were equally engaging.
There wasn’t an exceptionally large visual production at the show. Still, the members of the large band could often be seen moving around freely, dancing, moving from one point of the stage to the another, or switching instruments (The band counts many multi-instrumentalists among its members).
This gave parts of the performance a loose, fun feel and kept the audience on their toes. Fun as it was, the movement never distracted from the music being played on stage. It all made for a great performance, a worthy celebration of an album and band very much worth celebrating.