Before the show Nathan, Pegah and Jana arrived at my place, where we drank tea and talked for a while. Sadly, Allison and Andrew were unable to join us and Pegah began to feel ill before we reached the venue. We had to leave her armed with my umbrella (it was a rainy night) at the bus stop and head on as a trio.
We arrived at the Forum and got inside as Bedouin Soundclash were beginning their set. They put on a very good show, a reggae-punk-other stuff mix that got the crowd worked up and impressed me enough that I’ll likely pick up their album soon. They’re a band to watch in the future, that’s for sure.
After an intermission, Broken Social Scene took the stage, took control of the crowd (they had us in the palms of their hands before they even appeared) and blew us all away from the first note. There was no lull in the 2.5 hours set, which was filled with alternations in band makeup (a band with 17 members and even more collaborators has a lot of pieces to move around) and so many beautiful songs I couldn’t keep track. I was energized, inspired and completely moved by the experience. It was the closest to a holy experience I’ve had in a long time. Concert crowds have always been my version of a congregation, and performers a conduit to the divine.
It’s hard to convey just how astounding the show was in plain language. It’s like a mystical or transcendant experience in that it is so beyond words and common experience that it’s hard to convey. “If God made music, it’d be slightly less beautiful, moving and grand,” is one way I explained it. Nathan made it more simple with, “BSS are gods!” There was a beautiful chemistry among the band, who obviously have a deep bond, that projected into the music and made it incredibly powerful and moving beyond the technical mastery of musicians in a cohesive zone. It was beautiful, holy and alive.
Near the end of the show, there was a bit of a mantra chanted that went something like, “Our mission is to take good music outside of Canada!” It’s my hope that all my friends and passers-by outside these borders will be similarly moved by BSS, the associated bands (Stars, Apostle of Hustle, Do Make Say Think, and a host more) and the wave of other astounding talent launching from here; I imagine you’ll be thankful to have a chance to experience what I did last night.