The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Broken Social Scene Presents... Kevin Drew (live in Tripod, Dublin)

Review Snapshot: With a blistering new album and a back catalogue of modest repute to boot, Kevin Drew must find it hard not impressing audiences. Here with BSS aficionados Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff, plus members of American Analogue Set and Treble Charger, the capacity Tripod is gradually stirred from any ideas of a relaxing Sunday evening.

The Cluas Verdict? 8.8 out of 10

Full Review:

Broken Social Scene Presents... Kevin DrewStarting off slowly with an acoustic rendition of Gangbang Suicide, Drew gave a slow greeting until the drums kicked in with a controlled ferocity by Peroff. Things gradually picked up as Drew knocked the complementary booze back. Introducing the audience to his so-called solo work with Tbtf, F--ked Up Kids, Lucky Ones, Frightening Lives and the quite magnificent single Backed out on the…, it’s hard to find any defined distinction in the general sound from Broken Social Scene. That is of course a thing to be cherished. I, like many, was none too happy at the news that the super group were on hiatus indefinitely after their Electric Picnic appearance in 2006. 

Songs from the Spirit if… album all have that familiar precise carelessness to their sound: light acoustic guitars, magnetic riffs, effective electronic touches and the ever-present jangle that is the trademark BSS sound. But Drew is back with a new fire in his belly and socks on his wrists (no one seemed to know or care why) and judging by the leaner Brendan Canning song that was played, the prospect of further Broken Social Scene presents… albums is indeed something to wait for with bated breath. The band have one or two forgetful moments but it's done without losing any vitality to the set.

Whilst his own songs will inevitably be embraced as part of the new BSS canon, it is Cause=Time (the "best song in the world" according to the dude in the toilets), Stars and Sons (the song that eventually kickstarts the gig) and Lover’s Spit that received the most applause. With time the latest will most likely fit comfortably with these classics as crowd favourites.

The sound, as at any BSS type gig was a bit ropey at times and at times bordered on distortion due to the movements and instrument changes, but it was reigned in and harnessed the sound, giving some of the softer songs a harder edge.

My one problem with the gig was its lack of Ibi Dreams of Pavement or KC Accidental purely from a disappointed fan point of view, but I am convinced that Kevin Drew and co. have the potential of playing the perfect gig in any situation. Whether it is dance, chill out acoustic with jazzy trumpets or straight up rock, (not forgetting the sweet sleaziness of a drag queen that imbues his songs with a gentle, yet adult, nip to the lyrical ear) the Broken Social Scene crew can seemingly do it all

As the unfortunate end approached the audience were reluctantly compelled to belt out U2’s Where the Streets have no Name. The look on most people’s faces said “screw it” and let rip with knowing smiles, and it's that unabashedness that makes Drew such a likeable performer. Drew teased the crowd with his chant of “where was the kid who f—cked me in the ass”, the opening lyrics to the ten minute show-stopper It’s All Gonna Break but instead we were sent home to the merry singalong of When it Begins.

The rest of the band crowd around mics at stage right as Brendan Canning strums along and Drew conducts the audience to end a superb gig. It seems to be a goodbye to friends old and new rather than an anonymous crowd in a nameless city.

Daire Hall

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